Directed by Alison Ellwood (2013)
by Earle Señeres
Bonjour Moviejawn! Thanks for having moi! In this guest writer’s humble opinion, you absolutely cannot have an issue about friendship in movies unless you include History of the Eagles (definitely Part One; Part Two is hot trash so go ahead and carry on about your day after you’ve wrapped up Part One). Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy “Meis” Meisner, Bernie Leadon, Don “Fingers” (ugh) Felder, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmidt (whom I’ve dubbed “Rat Fuck Urine Drinker”) all epitomize a friendship that knows no bounds and spans decades. Take it from a guy who’s watched this movie more than several times and then a hundred times on top of that. Take it from a guy who’s annoyed, perplexed, and alienated friends over a weird Eagles obsession that has developed late in life. Trust me, these good buds HAVE NEVER had power struggles within their band, HAVE NEVER vied against each other for more creative input, and HAVE NEVER fought FUCKING mid-concert. I don’t even know where you folks heard those rumors.
Before we dive into the Eagles pool, let’s take the scenic route before we get into the details. Anyone who has generally good taste in things either doesn’t care or straight up despises The Eagles. I was no different. Hotel California is a TERRIBLE song. I can admit I have half of Matador’s catalog in my record collection, I’ve been to MoMA more than once, and I’ve spent a good sizable amount of my hard-earned income on Supreme. In terms of “cIassic rock” I liked Zep and Rush, the latter being grounds for having your street cred revoked. You might be thinking “BRUH, WHY THE EAGLES?" Funny you should ask, Moviejawn reader. It started off quite innocently, like when a co-worker lends you, unsolicited, his copy of Don Felder’s autobiography Heaven and Hell: My Life In The Eagles (1974-2001). Me at the time: “Um, thanks?” But, soon enough you spend a day off reading that entire thing from morning until late night, only taking breaks to eat and use the bathroom. Sometime later, you hear that Showtime is going to premiere a THREE HOUR (?) Eagles documentary and then you bite. And then…
…and then a dumb classic rock band takes over a small portion of your life.
The story of Part One is similar to most standard roc docs: two kids from working class towns get instruments in their hands and a gleam in their eye. As soon as they’re able they move to California to make it big. They gig all around Los Angeles and then get that big break backing up rising star Linda Ronstadt. Soon enough, Glenn Frey and Don Henley are all googly-eyed for each other and awwwwwww they’re all like “well, I’d rather be in a band with you” to each other. AWWWWWW you guys? Seriously, you can see the hearts float out of Don Henley’s afro. FRIENDSHIP CEMENTED! By the way, Glenn Frey? Total babe in the 70’s. My mans, RIP. I hope Prince, Bowie, and Lemmy aren’t icing you out in the Big Troubadour in the sky. Anyway, Meis, Bernie, and Fingers (UGH!) round out the thing, get a record deal w/a young David Geffen and go on a creative run that spits out hit after hit. HIT AFTER HIT, SON! Lyin’ Eyes, Take It to the Limit, Already Gone, Desperado, Tequila Sunrise, One Of These Nights, Hotel California, Heartache Tonight, Life In the Fast Lane. Phew, I can keep going if need be. That, my friend, is the definition of success! And they did it together as everlasting friends!
Sike, like any band in that golden era of 70s arena rock there were serious cracks in the armor. Don Felder, who basically wrote Hotel California and is thus directly responsible for Frey and Henley’s mansions, wanted a bigger voice. Let’s face it, Don. You write a mean lick, but you sing like an Angry Whopper: not very good. Glenn and Don smartly nipped that shit in the bud. Bernie Leadon, who also cut his teeth with the Flying Burrito Brothers, wanted to introduce more country tinged-songs into the mix. Nope, sorry muchacho! Randy Meisner balked at singing Take It to the Limit during an encore at Glenn’s request because Meis wasn’t feeling it. Go pound sand, Glenn! Eventually Bernie and Meis have had enough of being on the Good Ship Eagles. (By the way, look at Meis at the beginning of the movie compared to current day Meis. UhhhBOY time has eaten you alive, babygirl). Enter into the fray crazy-ass Joe Walsh and very annoying Timothy B. Schmidt. They trudge on, fight more, and along the way ingest booze and cocaine on par with Pete Doherty. Eventually, the cycle of touring/recording/being in the Eagles takes its toll on these so-called friends. Cue curtain, end scene.
Part Two is really nothing to write home about. The classic rock format begins to cement its place in car stereos. People claim that The Eagles’ influence is far reaching, but c’mon now. That statement carries zero weight. You don’t ever hear The Eagles listed as Tame Impala’s influences, do you? Meanwhile the band has remained broken up and has no immediate plans to reunite, until as one Eagle puts it, when “hell freezes over.” Chortle, chortle! If only the unsuspecting masses knew that Glenn, Don, Joe, Fingers (used to it now, aren’t you?), and Timothy were eventually going to reform ($) and name their tour the Hell Freezes Over tour ($$) and jam up MTV with their bloat fest ($$$). The sight of The Eagles sitting on stools side-by-side while playing guitar is SO DUMB AND NAUSEATING. MTV pre-empted Daria for this? Side poll: which MTV bloat fest did you prefer: The Eagles jawn or the Fleetwood Mac jawn? I choose the obvious answer, which is FUCK ME. (Editor's note: Fleetwood Mac. Hands. Down.) So anyway, these assholes tour the world as if they were doing Europe a favor. You’d think these dudes would have mellowed out in their old age, but nope. The same old demons reemerge, and my guy Don Felder eventually gets shit-canned from the only band he’s known for some bullshit reason.
I guess, after all this, HISTORY OF THE EAGLES is not the best example of friendship in movies. Whoops, my bad. You want friendship? Go watch Me Without You (one of The Fixer’s faves) or some shit. In the meantime, pass the lappy so I can stream this movie for the millionth time.
Movies are life.
The zine is the engine.
Moviejawn is the future.
Take it to the limit.
One more time.