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October 18, 2022

PERSONALITY CRISIS: ONE NIGHT ONLY — NYFF 2022

COLE SMITHEY

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Screen Shot 2022-10-15 at 5.19.58 PMDavid Johansen's swan song (70th birthday) performance of tunes from his rich musical history serves as the centerpiece for this loving documentary.

Co-directed by Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi, the film seamlessly draws from Johansen's two performances at the storied uptown Café Carlyle in January of 2020, before Covid pulled the plug on the World.

Johansen's tight-knit four piece "Boys in the Band Band" plays every note for keeps.

Taste baby, you've got taste.

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Johansen's flawless phrasing is worth the price of admission alone.

This bad cat is a singer's singer.

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Especially entertaining is Johansen's Gene Krupa-inspired drummer stealing scenes like a cat daddy on the prowl. Wild hair flying with plenty of school boy mugging. 

Between songs, Johansen tells hilarious tales out of school, about such pivotable life experiences as befriending director Milos Foreman at the Chelsea Hotel while angling for a role in Foreman's then upcoming film musical "Hair."

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Blondie's Debbie Harry soaks up the limelight from her place in the audience.

The overall effect is enthralling, if bittersweet.

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Classic and rare footage of The New York Dolls veer into clips of Johansen's solo career, that gave way to his lounge lizard alter ego Buster Poindexter — think "Hot Hot Hot," or better yet, "Frenchette."

"I been to France, so let's just dance."

You'd be hard pressed to find a musician with more personal integrity than David Johansen. 

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You can't help but feel some sorrow at the prospect of losing the last New York Doll standing.

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"Personality Crisis: One Night Only" is indeed, as Johansen put it at the New York Film Festival post screening Q&A, "a beautiful object."

Ovations are in order. 

Not Rated. 127 mins.

5 StarsBMOD COLE2

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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