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IFFBoston ’11 Review: Color Me Obsessed

Full disclosure: I will admit, I know next to nothing about ‘The Replacements.’ I wasn’t sure if I could enjoy ‘Color Me Obsessed.’ I did however think that this fact could be my angle, I could see how far reaching or niche the documentary was.

‘Color Me Obsessed,’ is a unique documentary because there is not a single frame of archival footage from the band in it. There is also not a single part of any song by ‘The Replacements.’ So, how successful is a documentary about the history of a band without any music or video/film footage?

The purpose of ‘Color Me Obsessed,’ is to tell the story of ‘The Replacements,’ through the people who love them. Through the fans, sound engineers, music producers, and critics who were there through the bands career. It was quite literally an oral history of the band from their beginnings to their end. Coupling the history with personal stories and asides, gave the film a spin I’d never seen before.

As we moved through the bands various record releases, the frame would pull to the side, and out would come a track list – the various interviewees would then highlight their favorites. Any time we needed to know a little bit more than what was being told, we were given a still frame with quotes or facts.

The film works, much better than I thought it would (especially for someone like myself, who knows nothing of the band). I found the stories insightful and interesting. The audience at IFFBoston was definitely made up of hardcore fans, you could hear reactions with audience members to what they were saying on screen, through exclamations of excitement, cheers, and laughs. Honestly, as soon as I got home, I was looking up the band and their extensive catalog of music.

The one issue I did have was the curious framing and composition of some of the interview subjects. It ranged from unnoticeable (what I think a good interview frame should be), to distracting (things like a hand with a pen on the left side of the screen). I wasn’t sure why certain decisions were made, and I never felt like it did anything for the film other than draw attention to it. There were also certain shots that were suffering from what looked like odd frame rate issues. At the end of the day, the content was so stellar, I got over it quickly.

So, how successful is this documentary void of any music or concert footage? Very. ‘Color Me Obsessed,’ is a great film, and for sure a must see for fans of the band. If you are like me, unaware of The Replacements, but a lover of music, this is definitely something you’ve got to check out.

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