The idea of the concert film is simple: Capture a live performance and make it accessible for wider or repeated viewing. Problem is, you can count on one hand the number of truly great concert films—turns out that for a concert to make the leap from the stage to celluloid, it needs to be one hell of a show.
Likewise, the appeal of the music festival is a simple one—to create a wide-ranging, long-lasting showcase of different musicians, styles, and performances.
So—in theory, at least—it's hard to fault Coachella, a concert film that showcases some of the biggest performances from the Coachella Valley Music Festival. But while there are a couple of killer performances, none of them quite transcend the shift in mediums—and what's worse, you're stuck watching all the really crappy artists too. Unlike a real music fest—where you can wander off to find something else if you're not digging who's on one stage—here you're stuck watching whatever the filmmakers find interesting.
So, here's the good stuff (at least for me, and of course this is just absurdly subjective): A solid/standard White Stripes performance, a pleasant appearance from Belle & Sebastian, a fun/depressing turn by Iggy and the Stooges, Björk, the Pixies, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, a so-so Fischerspooner bit, and Wayne Coyne crowd surfing inside a giant plastic bubble.
But that adds up to about a third of Coachella's running time, which means you've also got to listen to that retard from Spearhead, or a lullaby from Oasis, or some of Bright Eyes' whining, or Kool Keith (?) dressed up as Elvis (!?), or an amazingly embarrassing bit from Prodigy. And then there are the bands that're hard to summon any reaction to at all: the Chemical Brothers, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Morrissey, and Zero 7. And then there are the MOTHERFUCKING HIPPIES. Hearing some douche wax poetic about how music is an "escape" to a "land of dream" isn't the thing I'd want to do at the real Coachella, and it isn't what I want to hear in a film about it, either. After all, what's the point of making a movie if you can't edit out the shitty performances? And the hippies?