The tragically brief career of '70s British pop group Badfinger is a story of a chaotic band in need of structure. As a rockumentary, Badfinger is an equally unfocused affair desperately in need of historical context an... more »d, worse, a narrator. For a few years in the early '70s, Badfinger rose from the shadow of the Beatles and emerged as pioneers of infectious power pop. Bridging the gap between the British invasion and American indie pop bands like Big Star, Badfinger crafted beautifully melodic tunes like "Day After Day," "No Matter What," and "Come and Get It" (penned by Paul McCartney). While director Gary Katz obviously has affection for the band's contributions to rock history, he unfortunately hasn't a clue as to how to present them. Instead, we get a jumbled mix of interviews with the band's two surviving members, Joey Molland and Mike Gibbins, not to mention Molland's wife, cut together with far too many lip-synched "live" performances. While the footage gives intimate looks at the band, Katz really needs narration to explain just why we should even bother watching the film. Badfinger is known as much for the tragedy that hit the band--their crooked manager emptied their band account and disappeared, causing two members to commit suicide later on. However, by the time Katz gets there, the story is so underdeveloped that it feels like an afterthought. After viewing this, you can't help but think that the band deserved better. --Dave McCoy« less
Badfinger is a sad, moving, frightening, exciting film...
Leslie Karen Rigsbey | WOOD RIVER, IL USA | 12/16/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This documentary on my favorite band doesn't quite capture the right atmosphere that it needs, and that is the least of its problems. There should be more live video performances, lip-synched or not, "Without You", "Day After Day", "Rock of All Ages", "Midnight Caller", "Name of the Game", and especially "Carry on 'Til Tomorrow" (there are others I could list) should all have been included here-fans want that stuff! It is very sad and unfortunate about Pete Ham and Tom Evans' suicidal decisions to hang themselves, but if you read Motavina's 'Without You' book you'll see there was a lot more to their problems than having no money. Why does this band always get the shaft? No one can seem to get out a simple sentence about them without mentioning the Beatles (that's the real tragedy). This band had a life of its own, and even though the interviews are awkward and the film is just one more reel away from disappointing its audience, it represents some rare footage of the group and a heartfelt discussion of their outcome. They deserved a better (and longer) movie tribute, but this movie is the only salvation for fans who can't yet let it be."
Badfinger - A Tragic Story
Vincent Scarpitti | USA | 11/27/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Badfinger's documentary is a gem. Although it's not made to the same quality standards as, say for instance the Beatles Anthology, it contains many rare clips and some incredible insight into one of Rock's most tragic stories. Pete Ham, Tommy Evans, Joey Molland, and Mike Gibbins were one of the finest Pop bands of their era. Bands of lesser talent have certainly walked away with far more from the music industry, and this video tells the story. With extensive interviews with Joey Molland, his lovely wife Kathie, and Mike Gibbins, you feel as if you're getting the inside scoop on the real story. Interviews are done in comfortable home settings and alternate with some wonderful clips of the band playing. The video documentary gives you a real feeling of disgust for the band's American business manager Stan Polley, and makes you wonder why one or more of Badfinger's powerful friends (namely members of the Fab Four) didn't come forward and help the guys when it was obvious they were being ripped off. Primary songwriter Pete Ham tragically commit suicide in 1975 over his realization that his was robbed blind until he was penniless, and after 8 years of dealing with this, Tommy Evans ended his own life the same way (in his backyard - in shouting distance from the garage where his partner hung himself.) The video is well put together, and the interviews are both facinating and complete. I'd recommend it to anyone, and feel totally grateful that it was even made in the first place. Thank you Mr. Katz. Your film has left me with the feeling that someone needs to be held accountable for the Badfinger tragedy. Long live their awesome legacy of gorgeous music."
The Man On The Flaming Pie | The Foothills of the Headlands | 12/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The terms which this movie is billed as, "emotionally gripping" & "riveting," may be overselling a little, as the story is quite enjoyable up until the unpleasentness discussed in the last 10 or 20 minutes. The first thing you may notice is that the story is unnarrated and told via interview footage in the style of the Beatles Anthology. However, seeing as how there is not an endless supply of photographs & video footage of Badfinger like there is for the Beatles, this creates a problem of seeing the same pictures a few too many times throughout the video. (For instance, a black & white photograph of evil manager Stan Polley is shown at every mention of his name, which gets a little irritating.) The only other real problem is that, because of the lack of narration, you pretty much have to already know the basic gist of Badfinger's story to know what's going on.
The interview portions with Joey Molland & Mike Gibbins are pretty good. Entirely unprofessional, but at least they're not phony. Mike can be a little long-winded, but it's all right because you learn a few minor facts that you might not have already known.
What this collection is most valuable for, however, is the live performances. Before buying this, I was under the impression that the performances were all lip-synced (the album version plays as it shows the band performing "live"). That turned out to not be the case, save for two performances at the beginning. You get to hear Badfinger's biggest hits played live in footage taken from TV shows: "Come & Get It," "No Matter What," and "Baby Blue," as well as a rocked-up version of "Suitcase" where Pete Ham's lead & slide guitar sound awesome. The performances are all complete and without any annoying voice-over interruptions.
If you already know all there is to know about Badfinger, you won't find too much of interest here, but for anyone else who is a fan of their Apple days' music and wants to know a little bit about this band, I give this tape my full recommendation."
Video offers rare chance to see Badfinger performances
Leslie Karen Rigsbey | 11/04/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As a video documentary of the band Badfinger, this video is invaluable becuase it is the only one to date. It offers a rare chance to see Badfinger performing all of their hit songs, and tells the story of their rise to fame and tragic demise at the hands of the unscrupulous record industry. Interviews with surviving members Joey Molland and Mike Gibbons are interesting, although a bit too plentiful. On the downside, Pete Ham and Tommy Evans were the main contributors to the band, and it would have been nice to see some interview footage of them. Joey Molland seems to want to rewrite the band's history to increase his importance, and his wife's comments served no purpose at all and should have been left on the editing room floor. It would have been nice to have had a little more on later Badfinger, especially the death of Tom Evans. Defininely worth watching, but could have been better."
I'll give Badfinger 4-stars
S. R. | 02/08/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Only because the music they made was so brilliant, not because of the direction of the feature. Editorial reviews are dead-on accurate when they say the film needed narrative for the audience. I'm familiar with the band's tragedies, but several of my friends were not, and the direction provided by Gary Katz (?) left them confused about time periods, time frames, the number of albums produced, those that were not released, and overall confusion about the band. I also cannot believe that there were not anymore live performance available for this feature. There are WAY too many lip-synced performances being shown in this film. There is, however, those truly great pop songs which is the only reason this release rates 4-stars. I'll give the direction 2-stars. Once again Badfinger gets the shaft. If Katz has a bone in his back he will MAKE SURE another cut of this film is released. He should want to for his own reputaton. In closing: Badfinger music = sublime Gary Katz Direction = Horrible."