Fans who ordered the Trilogy Box Set six months ago finally have their set complete with the release of this new documentary. Unfortunately, fans who didn’t get this edition aren’t able to own the movie just yet, but thanks to good ol’ internet, there are still ways to see it. Now the question is was it worth the wait? The answer…I would think so. It’s not groundbreaking or anything like that, but it does offer an honest and insightful look at the making of these albums. Green Day bring their fans into the recording studio to give them an inside look at the going-on’s during the making of the Trilogy.
After beginning with Billie Joe Armstrong surfing in California with some mellow instrumental music in the background, we are then taken into the studio where we see the guys working on the songs, not only during the song writing process, but also in the rehearsal space. This allows us the opportunity to hear some rough demos of these songs like an acoustic version of “Kill the DJ,” a dirty version of “Stay the Night,” and a soft, almost quiet version of “Dirty Rotten Bastards.” Often times during the recording footage we hear the studio version of the song. It would’ve been more of an experience to hear rough cuts of most of the songs from the albums, but it’s great to have the video footage itself. We also get some live footage from the many club shows the band did at the time, such as their Halloween show, which looks amazing. Most of them aren’t full clips, but they’re enough to wet your appetite. Hopefully, these shows will come out in full one day. If anything, it shows you what passionate performers these guys are.
Of course with Green Day it’s not all about sitting down and perfecting a song. There are some memorable laugh out loud moments that keep the film from getting stilted and boring. One of my favorites is the re-enactment of the time Mike and Billie were high on acid. Another great moment is when Mike does a faux rant about bad sound quality where he shouts “I’m a fucking professional! You want me to lay my shit down, you better fucking fix it! I’m the motherfucking best!” while Tre Cool laughs his ass off behind the drum kit. Not only is it moments like these that keep the documentary moving, it shows that the guys still know how to have a good time with each other. But when it’s time to get to work, the boys take every part of the recording process seriously.
I love any behind the scenes look at band’s making their albums because it not only shows you how much work went into the songs, but it can also give you a new found appreciation for the record. This definitely happened with me. Whether it’s Billie in an isolated room trying to nail down a solo or finishing up the lyrics to a song or the guys trying to figure how to handle performing new songs in clubs, it all shows what they went through during this time period. One of the most interesting scenes to me is when Billie is in front of a magnetic board, holding a song title in his hand, and staring at it for five minutes trying to decide which album it’s going on. It’s little things like this that shows you how much work can go into making an album, let alone making three of them.
Along with in-studio commentary, there are also voice overs from all the members, including Jason White and producer Rob Cavallo, about making the album, working with Cavallo again, and the songwriting process. What I think the film does very well is explain what they wanted to achieve with these records. A lot fans complained that the epicness and deep songwriting that was found on their last two albums were missing this time around. But as the band explains, they wanted to step away from the format and make dirty rock songs about having a good time. It just shows the state of mind the band was in during this time and what they wanted to achieve with these records.
There are also some bonus features here as well. Some of them feel like they should’ve just been in the film, such as the making of “Kill the DJ” and some of them feel like they needed to be longer, such as the outtakes. A nice, though unnecessary inclusion are all the cryptic studio updates they posted to Youtube when they were recording. It’s nice to have them in one place, but seeing as you can find them online as well, it kind of feels like a throwaway. It makes me wish there was more to not only the bonus features, but to the documentary as well. It would’ve been great to see footage of them making songs like “Brutal Love” or to at least hear more about what inspired these tracks to get a full comprehension of the Trilogy.
Some full live performances whether in the film or as bonus materiel would’ve been a great plus as well. Also, there are some scenes that we see out of context or that we only hear music playing where I wish we could actually hear and understand what’s going on. There is a scene where someone looks like they’re attempting to shave, while Billie has his hands in the air with his guitar hanging around him. We can’t hear what they’re saying and this is one of those cases where I wish we could hear it to understand what’s going on because it seemed like it was really funny. But either way, it’s still a great film to watch.
Overall, it gets 8.5/10. There may be better Green Day documentaries out there, but this one is still really solid. Though more footage of the band in the studio would’ve been nice, it still does a great job of showing the state of mind of the guys during this time and the work they put into making the three albums. If anything it’s honest. It doesn’t just show the band having a good time, it also shows them struggling with how to express themselves. The guys opened up their studio to show fans the blood, sweat, and tears that go into making an album.
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