Phillip Duggan (sparhawk2k) wrote in celluloidraving,
Phillip Duggan

The Buddy Holly Story (1978) ... 8.0/10


There are a great number of stories out there dealing with wonderful performers lost in the plane crash which took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson. It wasn't too long ago that I saw La Bamba which got me thinking about the other two, especially Holly. Which set me up wonderfully for the Buddy Holly Story... Anybody who can't figure out what this story is about needs to have their head looked at. Buddy Holly of course, one of the most influential performers in all of Rock & Roll, especially considering his tragically short life and career. I'm not going to go into all the details (there are plenty of biographies and such out there) because I know I'll get something wrong and music historians are a bad lot to piss off.

But in general I don't think I'd be the target of their abuse no matter how hard I worked on screwing things up. This film takes the details of his life and seems to have shredded them up at times and pulled pieces from a hat. It leaves out people all the way through, simplifying the group enormously to make their job easier and, if the other reviews I've read can be trusted, even creating a lot of the characters out of random composites from others involved in his life. They basically seem to be doing pretty much everything for their ease or their idea of what it should be, not what actually was. Which doesn't make it impossible to watch or anything� You just need to remember what you're watching and keep in mind not to take anything they say as pure fact.

But really, the main reason I see for people to see this movie would be the performance by Gary Busey. He got an Oscar nomination for it and I think he definite deserved it (though maybe not the award itself) for everything that went into this role. He showed so much energy and gave a very believably performance. Also impressive was the fact that he (and the rest of the band I think?) did all their own music. It's easily noticeable and before I realized that I was actually wondering what was going on at points� Like, if it was supposed to be what he sounded like early in his career before he refined everything more� But it really was an interesting interpretation of everything. And in the end, I think the energy and the acting that he puts into the music are even better than if they had pulled in somebody else for a more exact studio-created copy of Buddy Holly's music. It was just more enjoyable than that would have been. If you want Buddy Holly that's what his albums are for.

Overall, this was an interesting movie but much more so if you're interested in Buddy Holly and the birth of Rock & Roll. The music is fun and exciting and the story is even quite interesting but don't go into it looking for a biography. It's a biopic at heart and they did take liberties. I'd definitely suggest La Bamba first but if you enjoy that you might also enjoy this. They're rather different music and situations but they both end up at the same point. And they're both the exact same era.

"Well that'll be the day
When you say good-bye
Yes that'll be the day
When you make me cry
You say you're gonna leave
You know it's a lie
'cause that'll be the day
When I die"

[Edit] Also, though I haven't been able to find a copy of it, Buddy Holly (1985) (TV) looks like another good bet. A documentary on Buddy Holly done by Paul McCartney after the Buddy Holly Story came out. Sounds quite good and informative.
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