69 Minutes of Fame

69 Minutes of Fame: The Two Man Advantage Documentary

Directed by Mark Foster

This is one fucking fine work of documentary film-making. See, before I’d seen 69 Minutes of Fame, I neither knew nor cared about the history and exploits of Two Man Advantage. But auteur Mark Foster both introduces me to the history and personalities that make this band what it is, and (the crucial AND) makes me care about them, makes me want to know more, makes me empathize with them. Fucking awesome.

Foster followed them around on a nine-date club tour, he was in the van, he was at the shows, he hung out with them during the interminable down time. He even filmed the goddamn hockey games that the band challenges all comers to, in every town they play.

I prefer rock tour movies like this, on a more human level, than with mega tour arena extravaganzas. If I wanted to watch that, I’d watch the movie with John Travolta playing the boy in the plastic bubble. Here I get to see a bunch of people, band and crew and official crowd instigators even, who believe in their music and look out for one another, as friends (Jesus Christ, how novel), and watch them do what they love with little hope of the big payday. And in an era where MTV delights, literally pees down its own fucking leg, at the chance to film the (rented, paid for by record company and they’ll take it by in a hot fucking minute you slave) houses and lifestyles of so-called “rock stars,” it’s so important to see someone doing rock and roll for the right reasons.

Not only that, but the camera follows each member to their workplace, their homes, just lets them talk, tell their stories their way. The office building scenes are choice.

Don’t worry man, there’s plenty of top-notch live footage and tour hijinks, to be sure. The funniest fall-down moment of the movie is when the bass player and guitar players (filmed in separate sequences but bleeding together) are desperately trying to recite the lyrics to the songs they play every fucking night. They’re mouthing it, playing it along in their heads, trying to remember what rhymes with “beer.” Classic, Spinal Tap stuff.

The camera work and film quality is top-notch, the editing is fucking ace, and it’s such a well-structured story. Dude, for real, this is a future cult classic. And Two Man Advantage’s best chance for immortality.


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