The Velvet Underground

Director: Todd Haynes
Year Released: 2021
Rating: 3.0

Haynes - normally a feature film director - attempts to cover the formation (and legacy) of American art punk band the Velvet Underground (consisting of Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker on the skins ... with Nico appearing later on) going from Reed's early days at Syracuse to Andy Warhol's assistance getting them promoted to Lou "firing" Andy and alienating Cale and then almost everyone (save Morrison) going solo.  The use of split-screen (and sometimes multi-screen) with a lot of voice-over (Reed, Morrison and Andy are no longer on Planet Earth raising a ruckus) may be alienating to those unfamiliar with the experimental films of the 60's and 70's, but I found it to be completely hypnotic, and I like how Todd sneaks in a few critical tidbits, like Amy Taubin saying Warhol's Factory was sexist and how some admitted Nico couldn't really sing (but for certain songs her voice just ... fit).  I don't think Todd really "cracks" what made them so remarkable (although Jonathan Richman's fan-boy admiration, even at 70 years of age himself, says a lot), but sometimes greatness doesn't require an explanation.  They came, they played, and everyone that followed them owes them a lot ... whether they realize it or not.