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film reel image

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind 2019 * * Stars


I'm a huge Gordon Lightfoot fan but I didn't realize he passed nine days ago until I flipped on his documentary and then googled his name. The guy only had four top 10 hits but his career spanned almost sixty years (including touring). Gold Gord remains one of the greatest songwriters and vocalists to ever walk the face of the earth.

Now to said docu titled Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind. Yup, it's a mixed bag for me. The opening credits indicate that it was funded. Why say that? That just makes "Mind" feel like it's not a real film and just an obligation to Canada's version of folksy Bob Dylan. "The hero would be me". Not entirely guys in regards to the late Mr. Lightfoot.

So yeah, I sometimes align. I mean there are things I liked about Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind. Yeah I dug the archive footage interspersed with the present day stuff and I dug the fact that we get interviews from the man himself. And oh yeah, who doesn't want to hear old Gord carry a ditty with that smooth, distinctive voice. But where's the focus here? And what happened to the timelines? And why the heck is angry actor Alec Baldwin commenting on a FM radio legend? Huh?

"Mind" with its 90-minute run, feels pasted together and edited without really burning through the surface of Lightfoot's then eighty years on the planet. Sure we hear little stories about Gord's timeless tunes ("The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", "Early Morning Rain", "Sundown") but then the movie switches gears quickly and wanders, absent of any mold or chronological discern. Listen I don't mind hearing Canadian rockers Anne Murray, Rush, Randy Bachman, and Burton Cummings talk about Gordon and his unattended genius. But then there are other music people who I've never acquainted Gord with, chiming in randomly with their insights feeling too shadowy to give the dude his rightful due. "Carefree highway robbery".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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