Kurt and Courtney: Exploitative Documentaries

Kurt and Courtney: Exploitative Documentaries

I’d intended to write a bit on the fascination Americans – or moviegoers in general – have with gory/gross, yet unique documentaries. Capturing the Friedmans is an admitted classic in a weird way. And so is Nick Broomfield’s Kurt and Courtney.

It would have been easy to traipse through the organization of Broomfield’s work which makes him not only look like a well meaning, investigative documentarian, but the object of Courtney Love’s misplaced ire. The whole movie goes pretty much like this – “What’s she trying to hide?”

Either way good movie. But in tracking down specifics of the film, I stumbled upon an interview cum cultural criticism posted on Salon and penned by Michelle Goldberg. Apart from the fact that the Courtney/Kurt, Public Enemy/Elvis contrast doesn’t make any sense, the entire article is angled at making Courtney seem like just another star who did what she had to do in order to attain the level of notoriety she appreciates today. Uhh, that’s bunk.

Apart from the fact that between her first and second albums fronting Hole, she devised a shift towards pop sucrose, dismissing her general fixation on glamor is atrocious. Yeah, Kurt’s attraction to someone so vain is confusing, but Goldberg characterizes him as a “too-weak husband.” Ok.

Well, he was a junkie. And that’s an addiction. So, it’s possible that he would have been a tremendous father (or an awful one). But along the way, Goldberg doesn’t so much explain why she enjoys seeing Love’s gross smiling peering out from magazines apart from the fact that it’s manufactured. And I supposed that aping the persona of a star and achieving it is impressive, but no less disgusting. Also, the writer not being able to conjure a “truer line in rock 'n' roll than ‘I want to be the girl with the most cake,’” is ludicrous. How ‘bout, “I fought the law/And the law one.”

That was pretty easy. Whatever. She wrote for Salon and don’t.

Wading through Kurt and Courtney, though, appreciates over time. Having watched the film a while ago, I didn’t have any idea who Dylan Carlson was. But Earth rules and so do a few of the songs off Pentastar: In the Style of Demons used in the film’s soundtrack.

There’re a bunch of odd interviews included. And interesting one’s at that. It’s just too bad Broomfield felt it necessary to close the whole thing out with Cobain’s aunt sing-speaking to a group of elementary school kids. Good film, bad ending.