Montage of Heck
The other night, I watched "Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck," and I feel sort of ambivalent about it. On the one hand, director Brett Morgen is awesome, and I loved "The Kid Stays in the Picture." I loved the movie's weird ways it tried to bring Cobain back to life: animated scribbles, disturbing shorts, raging audios. Visually, it's a mix of a multitude of sources, from home movies in the backyard to Nirvana on "MTV Unplugged." You get the impression that Cobain was: too smart, too sensitive, and too talented to survive: public scrutiny, celebrity, and drugs. The story follows him from nowhere kid to bratty rock star, awkward virgin to globally desired, broke to loaded. In a way, his back story isn't that remarkable. You remain unclear: Was this guy that great or was his timing impeccable? At a certain point, Courtney Love as Nancy Spungen shows up throwing around her tits, her messy blonde mane, her drug happy ways. The closest thing you get to a happy ending is the advent of Frances Bean, their love child. On the other hand, the experience of watching the film is not dissimilar to sitting through a 132-minute episode of "Intervention." Here he stands, our tragic heroine. We watch him: get fucked up, fuck over people, and fuck up his life. The only difference between "Montage of Heck" and "Intervention" is that Cobain's life story features more drugs, more money, and more notoriety. Surely, heroin isn't the only drug that rules this musician's fucked up life. The shots panning across acres and acres of thousands and thousands of leaping and dancing fans and groupies make you wonder how high you'd feel if you ever got so lucky. The most pathetisad moment of the debacle is when Cobain is sitting there holding his baby daughter and nodding off in a drug stupor. Years ago, I was a waitress in an Italian restaurant, and there was another server who was in the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink stage of his addiction, and I recall him drifting off during one of our conversations. It was just that glamorous. You feel bad in the end when they throw up a clip of him as a towheaded kid, and they remind you that he was only 27 when he shuffled off this mortal coil with a shotgun blast, but "Montage of Waste" might be a better title for it.
Buy my new short story, THE TUMOR: "One of the weirdest, smartest, most disturbing things you will read this year."