Glen Campbell… I’ll be Me
directed by James Keache
starring Glen Campbell
Glen Campbell came out of poverty-stricken Arkansas to become one of the biggest country pop stars of the 1970s. Starting as a session player for the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, and a dozen other big groups, he hit his big time with “Rhinestone Cowboy”, an anthem of the Nashville Sound. That’s old-school country picking and grinning tarted up with lavish Broadway arrangements and flashy costumes. Campbell created a string of hits and built a fan base and now we meet him at the end of his a career. He can still sing and play as well as ever, his infectious grin and love everybody attitude still holds fast, but he’s battling Alzheimer’s disease.
In this documentary, we see the intimate details of that condition – the inability to remember where or when it it is, who the first president of the U.S. might have been, where he’s touring next week. We meet his fourth wife, Kimberly “Kim” Woollen, a real looker and dedicated to making him look good on stage. He’s doing one last tour, mostly because they booked it before they knew how bad he was, and no one want to have to give the money back. It’s intimate and provocative; we see his dedicated crew keeping things moving on stage. Aaron Frasier, the road manager’s young son, is Campbell’s “Moral Manager”, offering “We’ve been together so long he rarely even forgets me”. There’s a good dose of old tracks and TV interviews from Campbell’s heyday, but the focus here is on his present state of mind. It’s often uncomfortable but uplifting and a glimpse of what can all go right when everything is going so wrong.