GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY: REVIEW AND DVD GIVEAWAY

I love Jeff Buckley, I mean I worship his music, that one brief album, GRACE, was musical genius and had sounds from behind the Pearly Gates, and there in lies the problem, they claimed Jeff Buckley back to heaven before he recorded his second album. When I was first invited to attend this at the Sydney Film Festival I screamed with delight, but then could not attend, I pretty much then screamed with horror. I purposefully knew nothing about the film, or Jeff’s father Tim. I presumed it was a docco narrated by his father discussing the brief life of a legend and being filled with Jeff’s music. What I found out instead was that it was a film with actors and it shows us everything up to the point we already know about Jeff. It is not the biopic we deserve of one of my idols, but it is such a brilliant movie none the less. And as a bonus, the lovely friends of ours at ICON HOME ENTERTAINMENT have given us three copies of the DVD (no Blu Ray released) to giveaway. See after my insanely brilliant review on how to win :).

 

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GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY MOVIE POSTER

 

In 1991, a young musician named Jeff Buckley (Penn Badgley, GOSSIP GIRL, MARGIN CALL) rehearses for his public singing debut at a Brooklyn tribute concert for his father, the late folk singer Tim Buckley. Struggling with the legacy of a man he barely knew, Jeff finds solace in a relationship with an enigmatic young woman (Imogen Poots, 28 WEEKS LATER) working at the show. As they explore New York City, their adventures recall glimpses of Tim’s (Ben Rosenfield) own 60s heyday, as he drives cross-country with a girlfriend and finds himself on the verge of stardom. Leading up to the now-legendary show that launched Jeff’s own brilliant career, GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY is a poignant mirror portrait of father and son, two of the most beloved singer-songwriters of their generations.

 

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PENN BADGLEY as JEFF BUCKLEY in GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY

 

As the film started and I realised it was no docco I was disappointed but within ten minutes this passed, I mean, I did not care, this was a credible film giving me more of Jeff Buckley and while Penn Badgley is known for Gossip Girl, and a very bizarre history I have with him, he is introduced to the world in this film, call this his real debut, he had me mesmerised for the entire length of the movie and I may as well have been viewing Jeff Buckley. I honestly believe his performance should have gotten him a nomination for an Oscar, it is just astounding how good he is. And to actually do that singing – HELLO!! Not one song in the film is lip synced, Badgley sings everything live. On top of that the song that leads into the end credits, “Lilac Wine” (one of the best) was sung by Penn Badgley but originally by Nina Simone. Without the rights to Jeff Buckley’s music, they had to get creative and used a song that Jeff had famously covered. The director Daniel Algrant (Naked in New York) was about to cancel this film and give up and then he saw Badgley’s audition tape and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

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BEN ROSENFIELD AS TIM BUCKLEY IN GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY

 

A brief run down on my history with Penn: Years ago I fell in love with a guy on the internet, we spoke for about two years every single day, sent each other letters, presents, cards, not a day would go by that we were not in contact. We were making plans to get him to Australia but if that failed I went in the green card lottery and bloody won 🙂 Arrangements were being made for me to move to the US and then he disappeared. It took two months to find him, he had been diagnosed HIV positive, was only 21 and was currently in a mental institution after getting his diagnosis, abandoned by his parents when he came out and based with his gay uncles. You are probably going “what the fuck is JK on about” – the connection is that every photo I had of this guy, everything he had sent me, well, they were all pics of Penn Badgley. I only found this out about a year or two ago. It did not go down too well, but you can see this had a slightly larger impact on me when I was seeing “the guy I was internet dating” playing my musical idol. You may say I spent a good part of the movie confused and dizzy hahaha. I mean this guy used to be in a small frame on my bloody nightstand! Internet dating – just say no kids!

 

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PENN BADGLEY as JEFF BUCKLEY in GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY

 

This film is titled GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY and I had no idea Tim was also a muso, that he never really knew Jeff as he was on the road and rooting around, and that this film is about how Jeff became famous and took to singing… by auditioning and getting the role of singing at a tribute concert for his father that he never really knew and does not think highly of.

The film bounces back and forth between Tim and Jeff in near occasional simple scene changes, and for me I got a sense that it was trying to tell us that Jeff’s life was genetic, foretold even, he was his father, a father he wanted to know so much, who he assumed cared nothing for him. But who instead was just like Jeff, lost, unique, from a musical mind and world, eccentric to some extent and loved Jeff wholeheartedly but could not be “normal”.

My perfect moment in the film – no permission was granted for the music of Jeff Buckley to be used but there was a moment in the movie that was so brilliant, I had tears rolling down my cheek, Jeff and Gary Lucas were just jamming around and the start of, the seed for GRACE got planted. It was this tiny moment and it was all I needed, it was the beginning of the Buckley we know and love.

 

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PENN BADGLEY as JEFF BUCKLEY in GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY

 

I have no idea how this film came to be, how Algrant chose this as what he wanted to make, the world deserves a Buckley biopic from childhood to drowning, but Algrant gambled on a superb story that just happened to have Jeff and his father in it as the lead characters and I am so glad he found my ex internet lover because this gamble paid off and they created a superb film that culminates in the concert that put Jeff on the stage and so commenced a brief but sublime career.

If I had seen this at the SFF it would have been in my top five films of the year. I bloody loved it and now I must sit back with a glass of wine and listen to Grace again.

 

4 and a Half Pops

 

With special thanks to ICON HOME ENTERTAINMENT to win one of the 3 x copies of the DVD of GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY you need to Tweet us @saltypopcornau with the hashtag #BUCKLEYWIN the answer to the following question:

What is your favourite BUCKLEY SONG of all time and why? (remember 140 characters only :) ) – as an example – I would go with Lilac Wine, or Hallelujah or Last Goodbye haha – I could never pick one, it is like having multiple children :). 

If you do not have Twitter then you can put it on our Facebook wall – the links are on the Salty home page so you can get there. Or if you still have my email address then go for it.

The prizes will be sent in the next week. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.