Watching a Nick Broomfield documentary (Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer, Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam) makes one not just want to shower, but to scrub oneself raw like Meryl Streep did in Silkwood. Going wh... more »ere even the tabloids fear to tread, the controversial Kurt & Courtney could also be called Courtney and Me. Investigating the apparent suicide of grunge icon Cobain, Broomfield runs into a formidable obstacle, namely Cobain's widow, Courtney Love. She blocked permission for him to use any of Cobain's music and ultimately got the film yanked from the Sundance Film Festival. Can't really blame her, as Broomfield follows the lead of a motley crew of conspiracy theorists, grudge-carrying former boyfriends, and estranged parents who suggest that Cobain was actually murdered at Love's behest. For those who watched bemused as Love reinvented herself as a Hollywood glamour girl, this is luridly entertaining stuff--albeit suspect. How much stock to put in S&M rocker El Duce (where does Bloomfield find these people?), who claims to have been offered money by Love to kill Cobain, and then offers to tell more if Broomfield will buy him a beer? Broomfield paints a much more sympathetic portrait of Cobain. In the film's most touching moment, an aunt plays a tape of a 2-year-old Cobain singing. "He's a prettly loud little guy," she says. These scenes will be nirvana for Cobain fans. --Donald Liebenson« less
Mo Lindsey | Newark, New Jersey United States | 09/30/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I think that you have to be a Nirvana fan to TOTALLY like this documentary. It isn't one of the best documentaries that I have seen but it is definitely a raw piece of work.
Most of the people involved in Kurts life that are depicted here are rather seedy and burnt out but that's part of the "beauty" of this film. It is an unflinching look at , not just Kurt and Courtney , but also the people who were in some way or another involved in their lives and you see them , warts and all. Although "El Duce" is a creep you have to wonder about his claims of Courtney paying him to kill Kurt. He could have obviously been lying and he is a creep but his responses to Nick's questions seem direct , candid and sincere. It makes you wonder. The interview with "the nanny" was slow but somewhat revealing. Her general believe seems to be that Coutney didn't kill Kurt but she may have drove him to suicide.And the girl , Amy ,(wearing too much lipstick) seem to be just full of bolony.
The one upstanding person in this film is Kurt's aunt Mary. She is a person who you would've nevered figured to be related to Kurt Cobain. She played an audio tape of a 2 year old Kurt singing a song and referred to it as "early Nirvana". That was very cool.
There are pictures and never before seen home footage of Kurt in this film. One home video is of Kurt arriving at a Christmas party with his girlfriend in 1987. There is an interview of Kurt talking about his new found wealth and fame and also talking about having love in his life.(no pun intended)But the footage that sticks in my mind the most is the footage of Kurt at some sort of picnic it seems sitting on the ground staring across a creek while kids play around him. A little girl picks up her doll that is laying behind him and as she picks it up Kurt just looks over his shoulder at her. The camera gradually zooms in on Kurt , freezes , then fades to black. The clip isn't sharp because it is a home video but you see this thin man with the long blond hair , dark sweater , and worn out jeans and you can quickly tell that this is Kurt Cobain ; the grunge god and symbol of a generation just looking bored like his thoughts are somewhere else. And the movie ends with a smiling picture of Kurt as a child. That final segment of the film was very sentimental to me especially knowing the fate of that smiling kid. It was sad and rather haunting.
This film does lean to accusing Love of killing Kurt but there is nothing here that gives concrete evidence. The interview with Courtney and Nick getting in front of the audience and denouncing Love at the ACLU awards dinner reminds me of Michael Moorer's pursuit of Roger Smith in "Roger & Me"; the documenter , finally , face to face with his antagonist. But "Roger & Me" is a far superior piece of work than this film.
Get this dvd only if you are a fan of Kurt Cobain because you'll appreciate it more despite it's flaws."
Great gonzo documentary about burnouts and losers!
David P Jaudon | Ballston Spa, NY United States | 12/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nick Broomfield is the best documentarian working today. Instead of adopting a ruse of objectivity, he jumps head first into the middle of the action, paying off interview subjects and arguing with his financial backers over the phone while the camera is rolling. While many people scoff at such "tabloid" antics, I find it refreshing, considering that most major news organizations do the same thing, but are too arrogant to admit it.Broomfield's "Kurt and Courtney" attempts to answer the question "Who killed Kurt Cobain?" Broomfield more than implies that while Courtney Love may not have killed Cobain, she played a big part in "driving" Cobain to kill himself. Whether this is true or not, nobody will ever know. But you don't have to be a conspiracy theorist (or even a fan of Cobain or Love) to enjoy this documentary. To answer his questions about the death of Cobain, Broomfield interviews every burnout and loser (as well as a few normal people, like Cobain's aunt, who comes off as so sweet and endearing, she appears to have walked in to the wrong movie) on the West Coast, resulting in some of the most side-splitting and horrifying interviews ever caught on film. Among the subjects: an ex-boyfriend of Love's who is extremely bitter over their relationship from more than a decade before (even though he claims he isn't); El Duce (the deceased former lead singer of "porn rock" legends the Mentors) whose bug-eyed, drunken antics should have been captured on film more often (preferably in his own sitcom on Fox); a couple of extraordinarly inept interview terrorists (known as "stalkerazzis") who appear to have even lower I.Q.'s than the average Howard Stern phony phone caller; and Love's Dad, who is even more bitter than the ex-boyfriend and has written not one, but TWO books denigrating his daughter."Kurt and Courtney" is a great movie, not only about the underbelly of society, but also of the documentary process.Also highly recommended: Nick Broomfield's "Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam," which is just as sleazy, scary, and funny as "Kurt and Courtney.""
Fascinating characters...the truth is stranger than fiction
Chris J. Hudson | San Antonio, TX, United States | 06/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Kurt and Courtney" is a fascinating documentary, even if you're not a big Nirvana fan. Nick Broomfield has a style of just going out and interviewing people on the spot and then it seems as if the documentary just comes together on its own with this loose, unstructured feel. It makes for interesting viewing, especially since the people that Nick digs up are very strange but incredibly interesting characters: El Duce the drunk porn rocker, Kurt's old drug buddy, the detective, Kurt's sweet aunt (the only sane one in the whole story), and Courtney's angry father. I also thought the two tabloid journalist guys that Nick talked to were hilarious simply because they were such losers; when they finally get their shot at interviewing Courtney, they chicken out! Of course Courtney herself comes off as being a very tough cookie and I probably would've chickened out too. There are a couple of interesting twists, such as the death of El Duce shortly after he is interviewed, and his hint that Allen Wrench is the one responsible.
After watching this documentary I still believe that Kurt committed suicide, but I do think it is possible that there may have been some people plotting his death, and he just beat them to it. May he rest in peace."
Not enough substance
ADM | New York City | 11/16/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
"It's an interesting exercise in documentary film-making, but the sources are so dubious, you have to question Broomfield's judgment in relying solely on them. The film is missing something -- it never ties it all together or pushes its points through to their conclusions.Tom Grant's conspiracy theory is refuted only from one angle, but never fully explored. Broomfield seemed to have worked hard to get the film made, but doesn't seem to have done enough actual reporting. Surely he could have dug up better people to ask about K & C.And as an earlier review has said, the film can't make up its mind about what direction to go in.For those of you seeking proof of a Courtney-headed conspiracy, it's not here, although the documentary does make a compelling case that Courtney is manipulative and sometimes vicious.For me, the highlight of the film came near the end when Broomfield essentially hijacks an ACLU dinner at which Courtney was the keynote speaker. As Broomfield begins to ask a question of Courtney, the head of the ACLU shouts "Get off the [expletive] stage!" Great irony.So, unless you're a big fan of Broomfield, Kurt, Courtney, or the Mentors, you should rent this, but not buy it. IMO, it's not worth watching twice."
Chris J. Hudson | 09/14/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I viewed this movie twice in one evening: once alone, and then I forced my husband to sit down and watch it with me. Wow! I was intrigued by the movie's subject of Kurt Cobain (his music flooded the airwaves during my first years in college...), but I was never a die-hard fan. This movie showed me his humanity; it works as a Kurt bio-pic documentary for the most part. The "Courtney conspiracy" was just an added extra. I don't know if I believe she had him killed, but I do believe there was definitely something going on with her. It was by her own refusal to speak to the filmmaker that she was cast in a bad light (we do, however, get to hear a recorded phone message that no doubt shows her true spirit). This movie is very interestly shot, and the filmmaker (who doubles as the film's narrator) is extremely intelligent and likeable. I highly recommend it!"