Cast: David Crosby
Director: A.J. Eaton
When I reviewed Western Stars, I noted that the main thing lacking in this movie was the inability to decide whether or not it wanted to be a documentary or a concert. The self-reflection was there, but it wasn’t concrete enough in any area to stand out in the way it was looking for. Well, David Crosby: Remember My Name fixes this problem immensely and sticks to a track to create one of the best documentaries of the year. A brilliant blend of a lifelong sense of reflection combined with a wonderful retelling of one of the most influential men in music, David Crosby: Remember My Name spends 95 minutes diving deep into the psyche of a reflective man and his real struggles and successes.
Over the course of 78 years of Crosby’s life, he’s been apart of several huge music groups and helped shaped rock music for many future generations. While some people may only know him for his public image, David Crosby: Remember My Name gives us context to the person behind the music and many of the issues Crosby was dealing with at the time. First off, from a musical standpoint the movie does a great job of going in-depth and explaining the music-making process and how some of his greatest hits came to be. Whether this was when he was in The Byrds or in Crosby Stills Nash and Young, it goes to show that even when musicians and eras change, the general process remains the same. Learning more about the stories or circumstances surrounding these songs is interesting and serves as one of the main highlights of the movie. There’s a reason why Crosby is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for two unique groups as each one has made an extreme presence in their genres thanks in large part due to Crosby. On the other side of things, learning more about the level of reflection Crosby has done in his life is incredibly humbling and humanizing. You can tell how much guilt he feels when talking about his drug use and the amount of friends he lost along the way, but this level of honesty is the only way for the healing process to really begin. Watching talk about other subjects that he’s also passionate about shows greater context to his songs and why they matter to everyone listening. Specifically, when he’s talking about the Kent State shooting and how evil it is for the government to kill students who are just protesting, you can see how passionate Crosby is about the rights of people. Taking all of that into consideration, the most powerful moments come when he realizes his bands will never play again and how badly his life has been twisted by drug use. You’d think the final performance would be some grandiose concert with all their best hits, but watching them struggle through a basic Christmas song shows sometimes life doesn’t exactly go the way you originally planned it to.
Overall, you can see through the tears in Crosby’s eyes that it’s a strange yet human combination of pain and happiness. Happiness that he has been able to live his life and have all of these great experiences, but the pain of the people he lost along the way as well as the fact that he doesn’t have much time left. David Crosby: Remember My Name is almost required viewing for anyone interested in the evolution of music or the ability to make documentaries and creates an atmosphere that manages to be enjoyable, fascinating, and heartfelt all at the same time.
Overall Score: 8.5/10