Feature film "Blaze" by Ethan Hawke in 2018

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by AmosM, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. AmosM

    AmosM Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Denton, USA
    My profile pic for a long time now has been of the Austin "outlaw" singer-songwriter Blaze Foley. He had songs covered by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard and his tumultuous life and death in pre-tech Austin of the 1970's inspired songs by Townes Van Zandt (his frequent drinking pal) and Lucinda Williams ("Drunken Angel" on Car Wheels On A Gravel Road).

    Apparently Ethan Hawke has written and produced a film about Blaze, due out next month. Charlie Sexton, longtime Bob Dylan band member/leader, will play Townes.

    My hope is the film won't try to cover his entire life and create the unfocused montage most biopics tend to be. The incident that ended Blaze's life, when he protected an elderly friend from that friend's predatory son, and was shot in the chest, is the story I hope Hawke will tell: A guy famous for being cared for by others finally cares for someone else.

    I learned about Blaze in the early 90's from a friend who lived in Austin, and whose mother's apartment was one of Blaze Foley's many temporary resting places, as he was generally homeless and often in some sort of trouble. His nickname was the "Duct Tape Messiah," since nearly all his possessions were held together by the stuff. His fans adored him. Lucinda's lyrics are the best summary of his life you can find. There aren't many artists remembered with such heartbreak and affection. There are very few songwriters whose music sounds more true.

    If you don't know Blaze's work, I recommend "Live At the Austin Outhouse," which is available on most streaming services.
    theMess, art, budwhite and 3 others like this.
  2. AmosM

    AmosM Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Denton, USA
    Blaze Foley movie has a trailer now and an August 2018 release date. I’m encouraged by this clip! Charlie Sexton looks like a natural as Townes.
    budwhite, stewedandkeefed and moops like this.
  3. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    Filmmaker Robert Boudreau is a friend of mine. He made the film Born To Be Blue which stars Ethan Hawke as Chet Baker. They also did a film called Stockholm which is about the hostage case that resulted in the so-called Stockholm Syndrome. I don’t think that film has come out yet. Ethan Hawke, he told me, is an all around music guy. Hawke met Charlie Sexton working on Boyhood. I really want to see this film. “Drunken Angel” is one of my favourite songs.
  4. AmosM

    AmosM Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Denton, USA
    I saw the film this weekend and it’s far better than I could’ve hoped. It’s brilliantly written, acted, and directed. Apart from my own interest as a Blaze Foley fan, this is a remarkable piece of narrative and should garner its principals more than a few nominations and awards. What will Bob Dylan do if his Musical Director is suddenly a Hollywood sensation? Haha. Seriously, Charlie Sexton as Townes VanZandt is a revelation. Here’s Travers’ review today: ‘Blaze’ Review: Country-Music Cult Hero Gets the Biopic He Deserves – Rolling Stone
  5. Greenalishi

    Greenalishi Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    This seems so cool. Never heard of Blaze. Thanks. Can't wait to see it and check out his music. As an aside Sexton is an underrated really diverse guy in his playing.
    stewedandkeefed and AmosM like this.
  6. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    Just got back from seeing this film in the theater. It stars nobody you've ever heard of except guitarist Charlie Sexton (though it does feature a lot of cameos).

    Really moving story about a tremendously talented singer/songwriter with enough demons to populate his own circle of Hell.

    98% positive critical reviews on Rottentomatoes.com.

    So why were my brother and I the only people in the theater?
    budwhite likes this.
  7. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    Sorry I didn't see this earlier. I searched in the Visual Arts forum, and figured if someone had created a thread, it would probably have been moved by a Gort.

    Just saw this film in the theater, and my brother and I were the only people there.
  8. Kingsley Fats

    Kingsley Fats Forum Resident

    I'm glad I've stumbled onto this thread, albiet late, I will see if I can track the film down.
  9. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    You seriously should see it tomorrow. Do not count on it being around next week, and remember "next week" starts Friday in movie world.

    It's in three theaters in Kansas City, and I'm 90% sure it's closing at two of them.

    Hoffman Forum specific nitpick: The collection of microphones at Blaze's final concert was bizarrely wide-ranging and unlikely. A Sennheiser 421 on vocals? An RCA 77 on guitar?
  10. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    By the way, there was a documentary called Blaze Foley: Duct Tape Messiah. My brother saw it being screened at our favorite music venue, Knuckleheads Saloon. There were maybe 16 people in the audience. It took the director 12 years to make the film, and it's release was as fraught as Foley's own career. From the IMDB page:

    Took the director Kevin Triplett 12 years to complete. [From the film's producer: There were several reasons for this: it was the director's first full-length movie, the team interviewed over 125 people to uncover as much of the story as possible (Blaze had many groups of friends and led a compartmentalized life), the editing computer was stolen half-way through the project, a fire took out some of the editing equipment and even a projector mishap right before the film's premiere at SXSW in 2009 caused the screening to be canceled.]
    theMess, budwhite and melstapler like this.
  11. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    There is a fan site, blazefoley.com, and they have a discography with a release history every bit as screwed up as his life. It reads like something out of Spinal Tap:

    Blaze Foley Inside
    Unreleased LP, 1980
    Recorded at Loma Ranch Studios near Kerrville, Texas. The master tapes, which Blaze carried around to show people, were stolen from Blaze’s car. The album was released posthumously in 2006 by Lost Art Records as Cold, Cold World from a quarter inch mix down stereo tape found in the studio.

    Oval Room b/w Girl Scout Cookies
    45 RPM single, 1984
    From the Vital Records LP entitled Blaze Foley, recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. It was pressed and some promotional copies sent out, but mostly they were distributed to friends by Blaze.

    Blaze Foley
    Vinyl LP, 1984
    Blaze’s first eponymous album by Vital Records, it was pressed but never distributed. The executive producer was arrested and entered into the witness protection program. Blaze got boxes of the albums to give to friends and barter. Gurf Morlix and other friends appear on the album, along with the Muscle Shoals Horns. Very unusual production value, yet still retains that Blaze Foley quality.

    Blaze Foley
    Unreleased LP, 1988
    Blaze’s second eponymous albums was never pressed. The genesis of this album was Blaze’s wanting to make a country style album. His friends, Leland and David Waddell, talked a studio owner into letting them come in after hours to record as much material as they could with Blaze. Heartland Records became interested in the project and, through Townes Van Zandt’s executive producer, Harold F. Eggers Jr., eventually got Blaze to sign a contract for distribution of the album. But Blaze was killed before the album could be finished and the master tapes disappeared over legal concerns, eventually being irreparably damaged in a flood.

    Live at the Austin Outhouse (and not there)
    Cassette, 1989
    Produced by John Casner and recorded over two nights with his Teac 4-track cassette studio deck. Days before the gigs, Blaze pawned the guitar that Townes bought for him and Blaze had to borrow a steel strung guitar with no pickup, so John had to go with a live mic on the guitar. Which is why it has that wonderful live touch, with faint sounds of the Outhouse in the background, including Chuck Lamb’s cash register. One hundred copies were made and sold posthumously to pay for Blaze’s burial. A second pressing was never undertaken due to legal reasons. Recorded over two nights at the Austin Outhouse in December, 1988. Originally intended as a live album on Heartland Records and as a demo tape to send to artists like Merle Haggard (whom Blaze addresses at one point between songs).
    theMess, AmosM and stewedandkeefed like this.
  12. mtvgeneration

    mtvgeneration Well-Known Member

    Never heard of him or the movie before. On TV, didn't see any ads or interviews about it. No audience for it except die-hards, the people who would write reviews for it online. Maybe if Ethan Hawke had gotten a big star to play Blaze.
  13. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    I see half a dozen films a month that don't get much publicity, and a big star would have made this film impossible. The lead actors were from the Ringling College of Art and Design and probably got scale, placing a bet that they'll get noticed. The others were musicians like Charlie Sexton and Murf Gorlix and they did it out of love.

    My wife and I go to the trouble of finding films like this. My brother had been waiting for this for months, having seen the previous documentary about Blaze - also, he really loves Outlaw Country and goes on the Outlaw Cruise every year.
  14. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Kent, UK
    The other person who is certainly fairly well known is Alia Shawkat, best known for her role in the cult favourite comedy show 'Arrested Development' and now as the lead in 'Search Party'. Interesting that the poster for the film spelt her name incorrectly (with a 'C' instead of a 'K').

    Anyway, it looks like a very interesting film about a very interesting person.
    Chris DeVoe likes this.
  15. mtvgeneration

    mtvgeneration Well-Known Member

    Ethan could've given himself a non-trivial role. Maybe he could have gotten a few big-name friends to play minor roles for scale and talk about their participation on social media. It seems like he messed up opportunities for publicity and therefore spent time and effort on a film that almost no one will see.
  16. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    What can I say it? It was an art house film that played in a few art houses. They had no budget to advertise it, the best they could hope for was attention from a few critics, and possibly stick around long enough so the people who would finally hear about it could see it. My favorite film of last year was called Brigsby Bear. Did you ever hear of it? Starred Mark Hamill and Greg Kinnear, and was produced by the Lonely Planet crew. A huge number of really good and really interesting films disappear after a week without a trace. The best most of them can hope for is to be discovered on home video.
  17. mtvgeneration

    mtvgeneration Well-Known Member

    I'm not a movie person, and I never heard of it. I know its stars, though, and also I know who Andy Samberg (a producer on it) is. Baffles me why a movie involving them must have gotten minimal publicity and barely made a half million dollars. Maybe I overestimate the number of movies showing in movie houses outside big cities. As this has nothing to do with music, we might as well stop here.

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