An unabashedly worshipful screen tribute to veteran UK heavy metal Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister, the music documentary Lemmy likewise veers into a different sort of take on longevity. Namely, the growing phenomenon of the aging rock star, in what has always been an emblematic youth culture.
But co-directors Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski could care less about generation gaps or waning macho appeal, and the fans of all ages turning up at concerts who gush and groove on camera, seem like they couldn’t agree more.
But the irony rears its head anyway offstage, and for those who aren’t into Lemmy or haven’t a clue, there’s a very different movie, however unintentional, to peculiarly savor.
With his own ho-hum attitude when it comes to image or spin, the filmmakers barely have to probe, as Lemmy lets it all hang out, and resulting in a kind of wag the dog approach to directing. And so we observe Lemmy begin his day in his insanely cluttered downtown LA rent-controlled bachelor pad, wolfing down a stack of greasy fries he’s just cooked up.
And while the camera cuts to a Lemmy worshiper exalting about the guy being so special that Lemmy should be a verb, the take-it-or-leave-it elderly rocker and once youthful roadie for Jimi Hendrix offers by way of explanation for his chosen path in life, that ‘I’m not qualified to do anything else.’
But the fawning musical biopic veers into accidental darker territory when the self-satisfied aging icon reflects on relationships with females and family. Expressing a total lack of concern with raw guy talk, for his meek but seemingly uncomfortable son sitting by his side, and whom he only first met when the boy was six years old, Lemmy dismisses the young man’s mother on camera – and all women as basically sluts for that matter – as simply random groupie stranger sex. And whose greatest appeal for him would appear to be that she lost her virginity to John Lennon. While a bigger thrill, in part for its Oedipal intimations for Dad, is the memory of when father and son swapped sex partners on a date.
Then there’s a guided tour of his hoarder’s nest, where the filmmakers are at a loss when attempting to locate the wastebasket. And a substantial collection of cherished Nazi paraphernalia amid stacks of swords, muskets, knives, and one Lemmy action figure still in its original box. Though he does balk when questioned about any related Nazi tendencies, insisting that’s impossible because ‘I’ve had six black girlfriends.’ Okay…
But despite Lemmy’s surface attitude displaying a lack of vanity, one wonders about any enhancers in comparing the vigorous looking sixty-five year old, with not a single gray hair, in contrast to his balding and wrinkled original bandmates. And how thoughtless bragging about all the faceless babes you’ve bedded, now poised to tip over the thousand mark, at this late stage of the game has more the air of dirty old man sleaze than sexy stud.
Damage Case Films