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Pavement - Slow Century
Pavement - Slow Century
Actors: Stephen Malkmus, Mark Ibold, Scott Kanberg, Bob Nastanovich, Steve West
Directors: Lance Bangs, Dan Koretzky, Kim Gordon, Spike Jonze, Thurston Moore
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2002     6hr 0min

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Movie Details

Actors: Stephen Malkmus, Mark Ibold, Scott Kanberg, Bob Nastanovich, Steve West
Directors: Lance Bangs, Dan Koretzky, Kim Gordon, Spike Jonze, Thurston Moore
Creator: Lance Bangs
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Rock & Roll, Documentary
Studio: Matador Records
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 10/22/2002
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2002
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 6hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Miles and miles of style
kfsamizdat | Box Elder, MO | 10/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"With rumors of Pavment's demise spreading like small pox in the Sudan, lead singer-songwriter-guitarist-fame throwa Stephen Malkmus retreated to the hazy anonymity of Los Angeles for what is now referred to in Pavement lore as "Malkmus' Lost Weekend". Thankfully this dark period yielded more than a slew of embarrassing incidents (Will Malkmus EVER live down those widely published photos of Harry Nilson carrying the bleary-eyed slacker prince out of the Troubadour after a(-nother) brandy soaked night out?), highlighted by this audio/visual document of the band circa B.S. 1989-1999. Many Pavement fans consider this stellar DVD to be the band's last hurrah, failing to recognize the diamonds in the considerable rough of their New Century offerings, most notably the remarkable growth of Bob Nastanovich as a songwriter and vocal interpreter.

Things never were the same after the "Lost Weekend". The increasingly reclusive Malkmus stopped touring with the band, opting to concentrate on composing and recording while the band was on the road. This evolution in the ways of the Pavement was met with resistance from guitarist and co-founder Spiral Stairs, who deeply resented laying down his rhythm guitar tracks on top of Malkmus' "ego music" even more than he'd resented those horribly mocking faces SM used to make onstage when Spiral performed the songs he'd penned ("Date with Ikea", "Kennel District", etc.)during Pavement's "Brighten the Corners" and "Terror Twilight" tours. Malkmus, increasingly protective of his recordings to the point of rampant paranioa, wasn't suffering turncoats, malcontents and/or co-founding members gladly, especially when Stairs objected to releasing these sessions as "Pavement" recordings. "I am Pavement," he roared back. When a hiss drenched tape of the encounter found its way onto several of the popular audio file sharing web sites, a Matador Records spokeshuman would claim that the tape was one of the band's signature media pranks, an ironic reference to the classic fightin' Gallagher Brothers' studio outtakes of the mid-90s. The public, barely remembering the Gallaghers and having recently been inundated with reports from the media mind control front that irony was "over", didn't buy it and the breakup rumors swirled like never before. Malkmus' personal nadir would come shortly thereafter when the band, fearing that their status as "critic's darlings" would be jeopardized if they abandoned their tried and true trademark "mid-fi" sound in favor of the radically adventurous new direction their fearless leader was taking them in, voted to take the album away. Surviving only in bootleg form, the unfinished album, which was tenatively titled "There is One I in Pavement", hints at what a glorious future it could have been. The "Slow Century" offered fans a glorious snapshot of the Pavement they held close to their heart, much like the Young Elvis stamp of B.S. 1993. The wonderfully off-center videos, the post-zenith-but-still-rockin' live performances and the endearing drunken commentary track were, in retrospect, icing on a great decade of work. Mostly assembled by S.M. in Los Angeles over many painstaking months, he would later refer to the DVD as his "love letter to the old fans" in an interview from bed, one of his last to date. The title went through many changes, ranging from the banal ("The Pavement Video Collection") to the ironically self-deprecating ("Video Report from the Second Tier") to the bitter ("Clever, Creative Videos Only Sell Records and Garner Airplay for Beck"), before settling on a typically cryptic reference to embattled Silver Jews leader D.C. Berman (who, entering a Dade County courtroom on charges of exposing himself and carrying a live sheep onstage during a concert in B.S. 1999, responded to the scrum of reporters shouting "Did You Do It?" with the still unexplained "We are at the dusk of a slow century..."). Strange source for the title indeed, but the Pavement we would care to remember wouldn't have it any other way. The "Slow Century" DVD is essential for those dedicated followers of all things "Westing (by musket and sextant)" through "Terror Twilight"."
Pat Scanlan | San Francisco, CA | 11/30/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Okay, I'd like to start by saying that I love Pavement and the videos themsleves are nice to have... I'd only seen the Crooked Rain vids in the 120 Minutes Era (back when MTV would occasionally play a good video-- did the later ones even make an appearance?) even if they are pretty much all the same. "Cute" shots of band in a certain uniform getup, Malkmus singing the lyrics in a bratty manner, typically "indie" looking (see: 8 mm and heavy use of filters) filming techniques and fashion (retro 70's hipster sweaters/shirts, western shirts, the occasional ironic accessory), etc. They are, of course, pioneers of the aesthetic, but it still wears a bit thin after a while... it's only because I love the songs that the cuteness of it all doesn't suffocate me. All of this would be easier to swallow if the band wouldn't constantly diss bands that market themsleves in one form or another. Most fans will be aware of their verbal slights of Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots (fine by me), but after watching this video I discovered they are too cool for R.E.M. as well. I am by no means an R.E.M. fan, but unfortunately this reminded me of interviews I have seen where Malkmus pans Radiohead (after nabbing their producer!), Weezer, Beck, and (I'm paraphrasing, the article is in paper format at home) "any band that is influenced by them". How can one win with Malkus?! Usually I find his honest opinion a breath of fresh air, and I can often see where he's coming from, but it's easy for Steven to make pot shots from his throne as indie prince among NYC's elite. Their snobbiness withstanding, none of this would bother me if this release and Terror Twilight were excellent. (Strangely, I think Malkmus' solo album was great, much better than these two releases and actually funny again... relax a little SM!) But the Slow Century is a missed opportunity. The videos, fine, they weren't trying to make ground breaking stuff, I understand and respect that, but as for everything else in here... ? The documentary seems hastily put together, and does not talk about the breakup at all-- perhaps because the other guys think Steve is [mean], and that would not be a good advertising move for anyone-- and the concert footage is just average, from a weaker-than-best era, sort of like watching new Michael Jordan. At one point Nastanovich says he never believed in their own hype, but it's clear at least SM did... this is one of those rock video releases that seems to be about making money for the band, I hate to say it. See 1991: The Year Punk Broke and Fugazi's Instrument for examples of actually quality rock cinema. Those films (the latter, to a larger degree) utilize a variety of different film techniques, clever edits, and an insight into the people that make the music you love. I would have loved to have seen more talk about their song writing process, recording techniques, album art, etc... it could have gone in so many different directions, and instead all we get is the START of a great rocumentary and a lot of DV footy from 1999 that spends a disturbing amount of time focused on Malkmus. It is dissapointing being hit with the rockstar ego thing from these guys, especially after all the years of mocking the rock idiom. (Shoot the singer?) I remember the Watery Domestic EP's release and being fascinated by their obscurity, hungering for a closer look at this brilliant band. Now I think I have seen too much."
If you've never seen them live....
Leonard A. Barry | Jamestown, New York, U.S.A. | 10/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Slow Century" was just the DVD that I've been jonesing for since the apparent end of Pavement a few years ago. It has all of the elements that fill in the blanks for someone like myself that has heard but rarely seen the band perform. Disc One has a documentary and all of the videos and alternates from 1989 to 1999. I'd only seen two of their videos to date and I can tell you that Pavement videos come in three styles. The Touring Video. The Kind of Higher Budgeted Concept Video. And The Zero Budget, Let's Throw On Some Costumes And Make Like Monkees Sort of Concept Video. I gotta say that I was mesmerized by all of them in one way or another. Drummer Steve West is a trip to watch. His beard length and eyewear frequently change throughout the course of this anthology. And is it me, or does he clearly resemble "Revenge Of The Nerds" character, Poindexter, in the "Rattled By The Rush" video?The documentary is a no-frills, low-key document of the band's history. There are a few live versions of songs not featured in the concerts on disc 2, ("Silence Kit" being my favorite). It was also nice to see how all of the members of Pavement fit into the fold. I never realized how much Spiral Stairs did in the group. Also, I always thought that Bob Nastanovich only did call and response bits (via a performance of "Stereo" on Conan in 1997). Watching the documentary and concert footage, I now know that he played a moog, a small drum kit and other percussion instruments. Toward the end of the doc, watch for Malkmus and the band rehearsing "Discretion Grove" which would ultimately end up on his solo debut.The concert footage isn't spectacular, but it does offer a glimpse of the live experience that many Pavement fans have not had. Though heavy on "Terror Twilight" songs, the concert covers each of the Pavement records.Finally, check out the outtakes from the documentary to hear commentary from Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. Gordon's recollections of Courtney Love's failed attempts to seduce Malkmus are priceless. Also, there is an easter egg on the main menu for the documentary that leads to some live concert performances of two songs (one including an early, unfinished version of the song that would ultimately become the R.E.M. tribute "Unseen Power of the Picket Fence".If you are a Pavement fan, this is a must have."
It really isn't very good!
A. Nate | NYC | 10/07/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I just had to comment on this DVD. I waited for this DVD for about 2 1/2 years. I even purchased a DVD player the day I heard this was in production, so I wouldn't be without one when it came out. Well, the day came and I was crushed! The videos I'd seen before, and they are what they are. Entertaining, goofy, lovable. BUT, the documentary! It's terrible. The editing is terrible. There was little to no narration, very little new information. The art direction was non-existent. There was no definable visual threads through the whole film. It seemed poorly planned and organized. The live footage was pretty good, but there wasn't enough footage from after Crooked Rain, but before Terror Twilight."