REVIEW: BETTY BLOWTORCH AND HER AMAZING TRUE LIFE ADVENTURES
I was in junior high when my friend Mark played us a song called "Ugly" from the Butt Trumpet album. I thought it was stupid and wished the females in the band were in a band that was less stupid. By the time the women in Butt Trumpet formed their new band Betty Blowtorch I wasn't really into the kind of stuff they did, but I liked the idea and was saddened when I heard their singer Bianca was killed in an auto accident. It's the kind of story perfect for a Behind The Music episode if only Betty Blowtorch had been a more famous band to start with, but that doesn't make it any less important.
The documentary BETTY BLOWTORCH began innocently enough as just a music video, then a label-sponsored album and tour document, and finally served as a eulogy for one of the most dedicated individuals in the history of indie rock. A poor audio mix often requires the viewer to turn up the interviews and turn down the concert footage, but I started to think perhaps that was the filmmaker's idea (after all, live rock music isn't quiet). I also had to fast-forward through scenes of Vanilla Ice rapping on the band's album (???). But the movie is otherwise solid. Through interviews and archival footage, the story begins with Butt Trumpet and follows all the way through the aftermath of Bianca's death. As a musician who spent the better part of a decade in varous bands and clubs, I identified with and admired the struggle to get along and make it in the face of all sorts of adversity and obstacles.
Although the film seems to clearly side with Bianca during a major time of crisis within the band, it does an otherwise decent job of objectively presenting its subject. The most powerful moment documented, however, is found in the special features and not in the film itself. Bianca's dad reads a eulogy at her memorial service that moved me to tears. Her story would make a great movie by itself! Now if someone will just release The Gits movie, I'll be really happy.
Labels: betty blowtorch