Renegade History: Our Review of ‘Creem: America’s Only Rock N Roll Magazine’

Posted in Movies, Virtual Cinema, What's Streaming? by - July 31, 2020
Renegade History: Our Review of ‘Creem: America’s Only Rock N Roll Magazine’

It’s only rock and roll…so you’d better like it…

Creem: America’s Only Rock N Roll Magazine is a quick and basic blast from the past when the journalistic standards in rock and roll were a little looser and writers were just as crazy as the rockstars.

Director Scott Crawford’s feature documentary CREEM:  America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine rips back the curtain on legendary rock rag CREEM Magazine’s wild and disruptive newsroom; a dysfunctional band of unruly outsiders who weren’t all that different from the artists they covered.

​​Capturing the messy upheaval of the ’70s just as rock was re-inventing itself, the film explores Creem Magazine’s humble beginnings in post-riot Detroit, follows its upward trajectory from underground paper to national powerhouse, then bears witness to its imminent demise following the tragic and untimely deaths of its visionary publisher, Barry Kramer, and its most famous alum and genius clown prince, Lester Bangs, a year later. Fifty years after publishing its first issue, “America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine” remains a seditious spirit in music and culture.

Writer/Director Scott Crawford follows up his Salad Days with yet another solid look at a piece of rock history in a solid but hardly flashy way.

Through mostly talking head interviews with a myriad of subjects this film takes us on the historical journey of this little dirt sheet of a Music publication that was basically the “little engine that could” and shows us the audience how ultimately influential it all was.  The subjects are used a well spaced intervals as they tell the story of this magazine in a mostly chronological fashion.  There’s nothing it here that will really light the world on fire to be fair but it captures the ‘laissez faire’ and wild spirit of a music that was truly reinventing itself at the time…and as an audience we set into the middle of the madness, front row centre.

Ultimately, Creem: America’s Only Rock N Roll Magazine is a slight but ultimately entertaining kind of affair that can appeal to the grizzled rock and roller as well as the newbie looking to up their musical history knowledge.

It’s playing as a part of Virtual Cinema in conjunction with The Royal here in Toronto and Indie Cinema’s around the country.

Visit the site right here to learn more, the cost is $9.99.

You can watch content on PCs running Windows 7+, and Intel-based Macs running macOS 10.12+. You can also watch films on Android tablets and phones using Chrome, and on iPhones and iPads using Safari.

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  • Release Date: 7/31/2020
This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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