film reel image

film reel image

Monday, April 1, 2024

Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago 2016 * * * Stars


Letting you know there's a sort of bitterness between members of a certain rock band, Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago is an exhaustive and extensive documentary about those guys with guitars and horns that have managed to exist almost 50 years via the entertainment biz. Clocking in at nearly two hours, "Now More Than Ever" takes Chicago's Behind the Music stint and stretches it out like crosslinked rubber. We're talking Behind the Music on steroids here, with profundity in tone, newfangled insight, and raw plain-speaking. "We were able to pretty much do as we wanted". Heck, with hits like "Beginnings", "Just You 'n' Me", and "Make Me Smile", why not.  

Distributed by CNN (yes that CNN) and using sands in the hourglass clips as a sort of metaphor, Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago goes the standard docu route in terms of its sequential structure. It's basically interview cut to archive cut to interview cut to archive cut to occasional hourglass. Lather, rinse, rinse, repeat. "Now More Than Ever's" director (Peter Pardini), well he may meander with his style as he milks the near-lifetime history of Chicago for 113 minutes, all the way down to its nub. Oh well. As the viewer you're sucked in anyway, and as a huge fan of the band whose early stuff was the legend of my childhood, all I got to say is, "can you dig it? (yes I can)." Natch.

Having a kind of chip on its shoulder in terms of the interviewees giving the knock back to former Chicago brethren like Peter Cetera, Danny Seraphine, and Bill Champlin (was this really necessary?), Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago is not a perfect, factual transmission by any means. However, it does provide that unfeigned fix and evocative diversion for uber-Chicago junkies like myself. Made "history". 

Written by Jesse Burleson

No comments:

Post a Comment