I must admit, I had serious doubts about this one. I’m not much into music…especially 70s music. And I am not really interested in the 1970s in general. But, it’s directed by Ang Lee, so I gave it a chance and it turns out to be a very strong film. It’s part comedy/part drama and all heart. The story starts off with a dinky “resort” in upstate New York that has seen better days (or more likely…it never saw a good day). It’s run by a comical, loud Jewish family whose son, Jake, is the only normal member (the mother is maniacal and the father hardly ever speaks). Jake runs a yearly musical festival in the town…which most of the old-timers of the town love…it’s classical or jazzy music mostly…nothing too severe for the townspeople who are VERY set in their ways. When Jake reads that the Woodstock Festival has lost their location, he suggests his town. And, of course, plans work out. This is where the fun begins for Jake. He’s hated by much of the town for bringing these “hippies” in. He’s loved by others for bringing in more cash than they’ve ever seen in their lives. The actor who plays Jake (Henry Goodman) is spot-on as the befuddled, naïve young man. And director Lee sticks to Jake’s story…and point-of-view. Lee never really shows the Woodstock stage to the audience…since Jake never makes it to see the music. And Liev Schreiber is a MUST SEE as a philosophical drag-queen. Over-all, it’s a fun film…about a wild and carefree period in our history.
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