Color Me Obsessed: A Film About The Replacements
directed by Gorman Bechard
starring The Replacements, Craig Finn, Grant Hart
What Were We Thinking
Back in the day, Van Halen's David Lee Roth remarked, "The reason more music critics like Elvis Costello than Van Halen is because most music critics LOOK like Elvis Costello!" After watching this heartfelt tribute to The Replacements, I know what he means.
In true 'Mats fashion, much like the band's video for "Bastards of Young," in which we watched a speaker for four minutes, the band and its music are nowhere to be found in this documentary. Instead it's an oral history of the band, based upon the recollections of fans, industry folks, and fellow musicians. And the common bond they all find in the music of The Replacements is simple -- you're okay. You might be broke, drunk, or lonely, but tomorrow is another day. Another day to get a job, fix your car, or sober up. And if you don't? Well, welcome to the club. You're a regular.
Craig Finn of The Hold Steady and Colin Meloy of The Decemberists recount how the group changed their lives and gained hope of actually forming their own band despite a lack of musical prowess, and their words ring true throughout the movie. The Replacements were their own worst enemy, frequently snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, as the saying goes, such as being one of the few bands permanently barred from SNL, for example. To a 'Mats fan, there's no higher praise. Anyone who saw the band could relate to the oft-mentioned "hit or miss" aspect to their career; they could go from the greatest band you ever saw to an out of tune drunken embarrassment all in the same set. But when they were good, such as on the classic Let It Be, or their volatile live performances such as captured on the confiscated fan's bootleg The Shit Hits The Fans, there were none better.
Today Paul Westerberg hides in his basement, bassist Tommy Stinson plays in Guns N' Roses, his guitar-playing brother Bob is dead, and replacement guitarist Slim Dunlop is recovering from a stroke. Times change, and we'll never see The Replacements again. But as this documentary shows, once you've found a place for them in your heart, you'll never truly be alone.