One Night Only!: A Review of ‘Live From New York’

Posted in Hot Docs 2015, Movies, Theatrical by - June 10, 2015
One Night Only!: A Review of ‘Live From New York’

“We don’t go on the air because we are ready, we go on because it is 11:30”-Lorne Michaels.

Sometimes there are special events that you just have to sit back and appreciate because they are such a cultural institution.  Saturday Night Live is certainly one of those institutions and in a special one night screening playing tonight as a Front Row Centre event at participating Cineplex locations Live From New York is a fascinating documentary that played the Hot Docs film festival a couple of months ago that looks at the culture significance and importance of the show.LiveFromNewYork

Rarely do shows have the kind of cultural influence that Saturday Night Live has had over the years.  This doc goes straight into the pulse of this institution as it looks at the reason behind why the show still works even now 40 years later and is engrained as a part of the pop culture lexicon much like “The Tonight Show” or even the nightly news.

Director Bao Nguyen in his feature debut effort crafts a film that isn’t a historical look back, but yet a cultural one.  While it does go in a mostly chronological fashion it isn’t a history lesson or about antics from the set, it’s about how the show effected the media landscape and that gets illustrated in a fairly efficient and sold manner.  Examining it’s influence on the political landscape on pop culture and how it served as a breeding ground for the some of the best comics of the modern age.  Sure we could nitpick that it didn’t get all that in-depth lacking any real detail on the years without show runner Lorne Michaels, or about the cast members that have passed on.  We get installed with the first year cast and see how the ball that they started rolling picked up steam and really became the iconic piece of destination television that it was and in many ways still is as it adapts to the times that it is living in to remain relevant.snldoc

While some may want more of hard fact based historical look at the show (and let’s be honest you could probably produce a feature length doc looking at the behind the scenes of EVERY season of SNL) this manages to create a healthy overview and look at the overall importance of the show and how it has fit into the world that we live in.  The hard core devotees may have wanted more out of Live From New York but it works quite well as an anthropological look at why we all stay up at 11:30 on Saturday nights.

Check local Cineplex listings near you for Live From New York show times.

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David Voigt, has been a lover of cinema all his life and an actual underpaid critic for a solid 5 years covering everything that the city of Toronto has to offer. He was a content manager in video distribution industry before that and his love of all things cinema goes back to his first moments in awe looking up at the big screen. His 12 years of experience on the home entertainment side of the business have provided him with a unique view on what is worth spending your hard earned entertainment dollars on. Combine that with his unquestioned love of film, David should be your only stop to find out about the best in film, not only in Toronto, but worldwide.