Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune

Rated NR 96 minutes 2010

No one needs another trip down 60s memory lane, but there's no other way to tell the life story of protest singer Phil Ochs, a true believer who gave himself over to the great liberal causes of the Vietnam era and spiraled downward into depression and suicide in 1976. Like many documentary biographers, Kenneth Bowser includes too much commentary from celebrities with little to say (Sean Penn, Jello Biafra, Peter Yarrow, Van Dyke Parks), yet he fails to land the big tuna (Bob Dylan, who started out with Ochs in Greenwich Village but quickly bested him in lyrical reach and stylistic innovation). The movie traces Ochs's artistic journey as he eventually began to experiment with pop and 50s rock revivalism, and interviews with family members and close colleagues (Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Dave Van Ronk) reveal an idealist consumed by the disillusionment of the 70s.


See our full review: Death Became Them

Death Became Them

New documentaries remember Phil Ochs and Spalding Gray. »

Film Credits

Director: Kenneth Bowser

Producer: Kenneth Bowser and Lizzy McGlynn

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