You’d think a music legend would have something to say. Not this guy
Film | by Jorge Ignacio Castillo
David Crosby: Remember My Name
Opens Friday 16
David Crosby is a difficult dude. This is not me saying it, but everyone who’s crossed paths with him. Crosby can snap in a moment, as many journalists have experienced. He’s not on speaking terms with his former bandmates and reconciliation doesn’t seem to be in the cards. I mean, calling one’s partner “a poisonous predator” is often a deal-breaker.
The level of enjoyment David Crosby: Remember My Name delivers is directly proportional to the audience’s affection for The Birds or Crosby, Stills and Nash (and Young). But even hardcore fans will find this doc about the troublesome troubadour lacking: Crosby already wrote two autobiographies, how much more has he to remember?
The documentary takes the scenic route of Crosby’s career: a Los Angeles staple, the singer/songwriter struck gold early on with The Byrds. This allowed him to rub elbows with The Beatles and Bob Dylan, and foster talents like Joni Mitchell, who would become his lover. Prickly by nature, fame only enhanced his ego and drug dependence made him unreliable. It’s a miracle he’s still alive, the film repeats time and time again.
Produced by Cameron Crowe (of course), Remember My Name goes easy on Crosby until the final five minutes. The artist has spoken at length of his addictions and assorted beefs (still holds a grudge against Jim Morrison, dead for 48 years), so what seems confessional at first is not quite. In fact, the film gives Crosby ample opportunity to peddle his lesser solo work, likely a trade-off for his collaboration with the doc.
Only at the end does Crosby’s loneliness come into focus, as well as his inability to identify what makes him so self-destructive. If the documentary had zeroed on these traits earlier, Remember My Name could have been insightful. Instead of the biographical “greatest hits” it turns out to be.
Unpleasant characters can make for great bio-pics but this dude is just perma-cranky. David Crosby has nothing perceptive to say. Not even about himself.