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Taking Woodstock
Taking Woodstock
Actors: Demetri Martin, Emile Hirsch, Imelda Staunton, Liev Schreiber, Pippa Pearthree
Genres: Comedy, Drama
R     2009     2hr 0min

A generation began in his backyard?From Academy AwardŽ-winning director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) comes Taking Woodstock, the comedy inspired by the true story of Elliot Tiber (Demetri Martin) and his family, who inadve...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Demetri Martin, Emile Hirsch, Imelda Staunton, Liev Schreiber, Pippa Pearthree
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Drama
Studio: Universal Studios
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 12/15/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 2hr 0min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

Reviewed on 9/3/2015...
I enjoyed this low budget movie. I remember well the Woodstock era and I was aware of the changes that were taking place with the location, but I had no idea how it actually ended up in White Lake N.Y. The movie was a fun reminder of the times and attitude in the country about that event and everything else that was going on. For me the movie was a keeper just to look back and maybe some day show my kids?
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Re-Taking Woodstock
James Lossing | Grand Rapids, MI | 09/23/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The 60's memoir Taking Woodstock is a story about how 20-something Elliot, son of a Jewish couple, was able to lure backers planning a music festival into the area where his parents run a `resort' motel. The story begins in a conservative rural community of farmers and small town folk in scenic New York countryside. The narrative hub revolves around the relationship between Elliot and his aging parents who own the El Monaco Resort Motel, a deteriorating business on the verge of foreclosure. His mother is a bitter character who oversees the finances and ordering of the household. His father is a withdrawn, tired man bent from years of bearing the weight of silent compliance before his wife while attending to the motel's maintenance. The townsfolk are a stagnant traditional group ekking out daily sustenance while news about the Viet Nam war, Arab-Israeli conflict and moon landing catch their attention in the background.

Into this languid summer come two key folk - Michael Lang and Max Yasgur. Lang is an imperturbable saintly visionary from the City with the faith and means to walk the key parties through messy negotiations. Yasgur is portrayed as an enlightened agrarian businessman able to envision qualities lost on his parochial peers and acumen to make this into a venture profitable for all.

There were initial clashes between locals and those part of early negotiating. However, once contracts were settled and the project began to unfold the momentum of the operation overwhelmed the situation. Construction crews, event planners and early arrivals for the festival descended. Masses of gentle folk grew daily until the entire region was gridlocked by thousands of `citizens' of the `Woodstock nation'.

The carnival of freaks, politicos, quasi-psychotic acid heads, spiritualized bohemians and other assorted holy men and women were stereotypically characterized. Locals were bemused, perplexed, exasperated and offended, but most did not fail to succumb to the combination of gentle-spirited hippie culture and the financial boon that poured in.

One particular narrative episode captures the hippie mythos underlying the film's vision. The preparations for the event are done. Elliot, his father and Vilma, a free-spirited transvestite providing security for Elliot's family, stand overlooking a lake as nude bathers play openly. The first strains of Richie Havens move through the woods signaling the festival's beginning. Elliot's father nudges him to go and experience the festival. Elliot hesitates but Vilma urges him on, "Go" he says, "see what the center of the universe is like". Elliot finds himself wandering among groups of camping hippies still some distance from the stage. He encounters a young couple who gently seduce him to drop acid with them. They retire to the interior of their bus richly decorated for inner space travel where Elliot is initiated in the ecstasy of cosmic visionary experience. Some hours later he emerges an awakened soul accompanied by the female consort. Still flashing in colors and serenity they make their way to a bluff overlooking the sea of people dotting the night with campfires. The view is rolling and undulating, wrapping around a vortex - the lighted stage in the distance. The lights, colors and liquid landscape coalesce in a visionary patterned dance around the pulsing brilliant core of illumination flowing from the stage. Space and time are lost in the enveloping ecstatic vision in the presence of the Center.

This scene is the sacramental center of the story. The whole event is actually a festive gathering to celebrate the eucharistic psychedelic ritual. Its enactment is the animus mundi, the navel of the world, around which the dance of being whirls. This entire countercultural phenomena is like a fountain of creative and colorful life flowing from the bellies of ecstatically enlightened participants. Bohemian and transient in nature it wanders about the land erupting into spontaneous happenings. This particular one, though `planned', nevertheless exploded into unexpected proportions and intensity.

Of course this story is one in relatively recent history with many participants - and critics - alive and well. And the verdict of history has unfolded less graciously on subsequent events. This is not lost on the filmmakers who put in the mouth of a confident Lang plans of another festival of peace and love - at Altamont. The irony is not lost on those knowledgeable of the tragic events there.

Following this narrative peak the story winds down to address loose ends between Elliot and his parents. The windfall of the festival has paid off their mortgage with surplus and Elliot is free to complete the process of separation-individuation from his family.

It was a delightful film that will fade quickly from public attention, leave theaters and be on DVD shortly. For some who go it will be for a moment of nostalgia, an entertaining story resonating with faint longings that surface as one ages. For the counterculture youth of today it is not their history, it is the history of their grandparents. The heady excitement of the Sixties is textbook material to them and most are living out their own generational narrative. They have Burning Man, Goa, Ibiza, and elsewhere.

For some the longing pricked cuts perhaps more deeply. Sure enough it was a period whose potency faded with the passing decades. What seemed of cosmic significance at the time was swallowed in the relativity of social change Nevertheless, the glimpse into the white-hot core of mystery pulsing at the Heart of the Universe wouldn't be extinguished. It is a core memory implanted somewhere deep in psychic regions.

After the ecstasy many wandered back into the enveloping social order of the modern world. Some were damaged and wandered for years. Some re-acclimated into the status quo, even `succeeding' well at it. Some found creative paths integrating alternative spaces with demands of survival. Some became monks, roshis, gurus, disciples, teachers, and priests. None, however, whose hearts were pierced have forgotten when they were touched by the Center of the Universe."
This IS the Woodstock backstory. If you want the concert mus
Richard Mahone | Baltimore, MD USA | 02/08/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This was a real treat. Being an extreme Woodstock-phile I know alot of small behind the scenes facts and details. The Michael Wadleigh documentary is simply the holy grail of doco's! I was under the assumption parts of this were made up for the movie and I refused to go to the theatre to see it. I was sooo wrong! Not only is it factual, they nailed so many details taken and recreated from the documentary!Like the nuns being filmed while flashing a peace sign! The Earth Light players! Hog Farmers!

All of the people who whine that it's a movie about a concert with no music in it, GO WATCH THE MICHAEL WADLEIGH 4 HOUR DOCUMENTARY! In fact, if ya wanna make a weekend of it, watch them back to back! This tells the background of the concert and the local politics. You don't need a movie with the music in it...The documentary already exists and more people need to become hip to it. This movie just made my heart jump when the first helicopter lands at the El Monaco motel!

Eugene Levy's portrayal as Max Yasgur is uncanny. No other actor could have pulled that off but him. He looks and talks just like the real Max. Watch the documentary right before Hendrix near the end and you won't believe the likeness! A perfect companion to the Academy Award winning documentary!"
What a Treat for Woodstock Fans!
MoonSinger | Suburbs of Atlanta, GA | 07/16/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I happened to recently find this movie on my On Demand cable service. I had not ever heard of it.

I'm a HUGE fan of 1969 WOODSTOCK, (have Collector's Edition of DVD). I have always felt I was born in the wrong era--I should have been there! (To me, there is really only ONE REAL Woodstock.)

I knew some of the facts in the movie Taking Woodstock, but it was AWESOME to see it put together and done so WELL!

I love the portrayal of Elliot, whom I perceived as the main character. I saw this as also a "coming of age" film, from his point of view. He was amazingly brilliant at such a young age and to make such excellent "business/promotion" decisions that had to be made under pressure.

It is *totally* a "feel good" movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would love to own the DVD!


In my opinion, the best review here on Amazon about the movie is by James Lossing (it should be the top review) so be sure to read it!"