I love the Kinks, but I hated the new Kinks movie, Do it Again. That's because it isn't really about the Kinks, but about Boston Globe writer Geoff Edgers and his "quest" to reunite the band. A little background here would be helpful, which the movie barely provides: Brothers and founding Kinks Ray and Dave Davies have always had a contentious relationship—even coming to blows onstage at times—which made their three-plus decade career stormy for almost its entire duration. They haven't played together since 1996, and the brothers are ostensibly estranged from one another. The primary conflict comes from Ray's creative control over the band, which often left younger brother Dave without an outlet for his own material. What's more, Dave Davies and drummer Mick Avory don't get along very well either.
This is touched upon in Do it Again, but the rest of the Kinks' (deep, fascinating, and as yet largely untold in film form) history is nowhere in this movie, which primarily consists of Edgers talking to the camera and embarrassing himself in interviews with people like Sting, Zooey Deschanel, and Robyn Hitchcock—who gives a priceless look of resignation when Edgers insists on plunking his banjo along to Hitchcock's rendition of "Waterloo Sunset" on camera. Hitchcock must be a very nice, patient fellow indeed. Paul Weller, of the Jam, is also interviewed and similarly pressured to play with Edgers on camera, but he stubbornly refuses. Good for him.
These interviews—which also include the film's musical highlight, of Portlander Scott McCaughey and Peter Buck playing "Get Back in the Line"—are okay; everyone talks about the Kinks, a fine topic indeed, and their attempts to describe their importance and relevance to rock 'n' roll give the hint of a powerful, interesting movie. But Edgers almost doesn't seem interested in that. He puts himself in every frame of this movie, and it's not just that he's pulling the film's thrust away from the Kinks, where it should rightly be—it's that he's just kind of an obnoxious person. He claims he's a Kinks fan, but he doesn't explain why he likes them so much, instead displaying a transparent desire to throw himself in the middle of their history. His goal seems not to be actually getting the Kinks back together, but to get the credit for being the guy who got the Kinks back together. And Edgers doesn't really do anything to achieve this other than call Ray Davies' office (he doesn't get through) and announce to everyone he comes in contact with that he is, yes, in fact, trying to get the Kinks back together.
Spoiler alert: The Kinks don't get back together. In fact, the movie just kind of peters out at the end, following a climax of sorts when Edgers interviews a very damaged looking Dave Davies. That interview is gripping, but does little other than to confirm that, yes, Dave Davies doesn't really want to get the Kinks back together. There are so many missed opportunities with Do it Again that it's depressing. The Kinks' story is an absolutely fascinating one, and a dynamite documentary could very well be made about them, but I promise you that if it does, it won't fucking have Geoff Edgers in it.
Do it Again opens today at the Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton, 7 & 9 pm, $6 ($4 Tuesday), through Thursday January 6.