Bitersweat motel Reviews
review submisions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2000 16:47:21 -0400
From: Brenda Miller email@example.com
Subject: Bittersweet Motel
This movie is really good and funny. Every Phan should see it at least once.
hDate: Wed, 11 Oct 2000 16:13:47 -0400
From: "Stewart, Christopher" firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Bittersweet Motel Review
You shouldn't see Bittersweet Motel because:
1. Everything spoken about the inappropriateness of Todd Phillips as
2. The destruction of Trey as "Jerry Garcia/Father Figure/Kind-Hearted
Man-Child Guitar Prodigy". Trust me, he comes off as being a shallow,
rather spoiled suburbanite...this is probably Phillips' fault for
concentrating solely on Trey as the member of the band that matters, but
trust me, it just feels better to make Trey whatever you want him to
be...not what Todd Phillips makes him be.
3. Phillips misses the entire point of the whole exercise--the exploratory
jams, the "unknown" qualities that we all expect every time they go on
stage--are completely ignored. What we are left with are snippets of songs
that give the listener a headache in the end. Face it, folks, the beauty of
the band is not in the way that they sing or the radio songs that they try
to play--it's the fact that no other band in the world can do what they do
with their instruments. Period. And Phillips was given a year to realize
this, and he failed.
4. No respect to the fans. Not from the band. Not from Phillips. None at
all, except from Mike (and as people who know better, we expect that from
Mike)...They treat us like, well, paying customers.
And that's about enough for me. I was looking forward to this for a long,
long time...and I was completely disappointed. You will be better off
leaving the "reality" of the band to the band itself--let them be what they
are in your mind as devoted fans...
p.s. While they're on hiatus, give the North Mississippi All Stars or
Martin Sexton a chance. Expand those horizons, kids.
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 19:03:57 -0400
From: "Hebert, Brad" email@example.com
Subject: Bittersweet Review
Sorry to deviate from the buzz above...but expectations are everything, ya
know, and I don't want to see people get scorched...
I work in the world of TV documentaries and was able to see this piece two
weeks ago. Time has not numbed the fact that I am still in awe that the
boys allowed this blatant out-of-towner to represent them though. May this
review serve as a warning to future flick-goers, as you should be put in the
right mindset before seeing this film.
Using Todd Phillips (who knew nothing about Phish going in) was the
equivalent of asking Cameron Crowe to do a piece about Alan Greenspan's view
of our economy in the next decade: i.e. Todd Phillips had no frame of
reference in the world of Phish and it shows. Allow me to bolster my
First of all, Mr. Phillips reveals his less-than-subtle crush on Trey to the
audience's expense. Bittersweet's audience is mostly heads, yet for heads
and non-heads alike this movie is a crime because it completely ignores the
other three members of the band. I mean it is to the point where we
literally only hear Page utter one line of interview material the whole
movie. Mike manages to get three or four sentences out in two hours, and
Fish seven or eight. I mean please Mr. Phillips-Minor, if you at all
understood Phish during your year or so with them (and yes, we are all very
jealous) then you would know that the chemistry between these personalities
and musicians is why the scene exists at all. Yes, Trey is the undeniable
leader. But without his compadres, he is thrashing away at windmills with a
toothpick. If the other guys didn't have anything to say, or didn't enjoy
saying it to you, then just show us that side of them please. Enough with
the "Trey is all there is to Phish" movie.
Sound bites aside, the music footage is again, all Trey. Being a guitar
player myself, I loved finally being that close to his fingers when he was
jamming. Believe me, I could watch that all day - no all year long. But
where is Mike for Mike's song? Where is a tune with all the members
singing? All the concert segments are made of Trey tunes, and 90% of the
footage is Trey. Yes Trey is beautiful, Todd. But more so than the rest of
the boys? Combined?
An intermission: Yes, you should definitely smoke down for this flick (cause
I know your going to see Bittersweet anyway if you are bothering to read
this - I just didn't want your expectations to be too high - no pun
intended)... it is worth it when you see Trey and the boys on the big
screen with that phat sound coming at you. You will be alive.
Back to strict film reviewing: Commenting on what was presented, you need to
be prepared for Trey. He comes off as a very different person than the man
who does the interviews we read in the press. Gone are the "we are the
luckiest band in the world" quotes, and in its place is "No phans on this
entire European tour have had their picture taken with us because we have
our road manager tilt their cameras down and cut off everyone's heads!" Now
some of this is funny, and the first third of the movie is very funny at
points. But when all we ever see is Trey harassing people without ever
feeling compassion or sincerity from him, me-ends-up-tinking Trey needs a
little angst in his life. By the end of this flick we have seen two hours
of Trey as the guy who jokes about everyone in a sarcastic way, plays with
everyone whenever he has a chance, but never has an honest connection with
phans. His lines about "all we want is hot chics in the front row / dudes
get the heck out of the front row" just means that any line about him
feeding off the energy of the crowd is a lot of hossen-phepher.
OK. Am I a little en fuego 'cause I could have run circles around Todd in
terms of this subject? Yes. But is it a waste to only see Trey in this
movie, and painted as an artist of insincerity? It sure as hell is. At
least the flick is titled appropriately...well the Bittersweet part anyway.
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2000 20:34:23 -0400
From: rick kaplan firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: bittersweet motel
thought i'd submit this to someone but i don't know where to do it...rick
most reviews i read rated no greater than one and a half stars. i reminded myself before entering that critics are there to
criticize and not to enjoy. they come with pen and paper, not with heart. and they suffer from the same "preconception"
disease that we all do. we make assesments from hearsay, decisions from other people's advice and speak knowingly about things
we do not know. most of all they are humans with opinions steeped in a lifetime of experience from which they base their
it's true. phish is a band spawned in the 80's, influenced by the 70's and pigeon-holed in the 60's. they are the musical
offspring of led zeppelin and pink floyd and the grateful dead. but they are musical offspring, so their extended family
includes elvis presley and del mccoury and james brown. and like any good grandchild will do, they joyfully and
deliberately...and willfully, practice their religion and like missionaries, bestow the customs of their forefathers upon the
masses, their followers, their congregation.
undoubtedly, the fact that the film began with a song that I know and love
(brian and robert) and the fact that as sat back mouthing the words, my mind
shuffled the pertinent memories of my life like a deck of cards: the first
time i heard the song, the first show they played it, the city, the town, the
friends, undoubtedly i was emotionally connected with this film before the
title sequence. and part of the ph-enomenon is that i would bet that nearly
everyone in the room was mentally shuffling as well.
putting the preamble behind us i can now be simple. or try to be, as todd
phillips obviously set out to do with his brutally honest and unphased
documentary of this group.
four guys, eighteen years of friendship, (40 years combined) all in tune
with each other and their instuments and each others instruments.
to recap or to try to paint a picture of the film would do a disservice. it
is one of the more insightful and exciting and funny films (period) i have
seen in a while. it's funny moments are hysterical, its' rocking moments rock
and its' poignant ones are allowed to be that. it is endlessly entertaining
and the choices of songs/moments by the director (a self admitted clued-out
phish person) are fresh and surprising and sometimes beautiful.
we, essentially see this band through a curious persons eyes who is neither
an adoring fan or an insider. he's interested in the humanity of the band and
the humanity in the music and the "great" humanity that travels from here and
there to see them and see each other.
it is offered with a musical conscience, thank god, and we are allowed to enjoy full songs, live and uncut without
interruption, like they were written. an almost impossible find nowadays.
...and we are let in.
in a sentence, if i was a fan before, now i'm a phan.
i can't wait to see it again.
click here to return to the reviews page