The Doors | Chicago Reader

The Doors

For people like myself who still regard Woodstock as the great counterculture rock film, it's depressing to note that most perceptions of the 60s consist of roughly one part Woodstock and 12 parts Gimme Shelter. It's no surprise, then, that Oliver Stone's 1991 biopic about rock guru Jim Morrison should give us about 15 minutes of peace and love (if that much) and two hours of puritanical retribution. According to Stone's script (coauthored by J. Randal Johnson), Morrison (Val Kilmer) was an incoherent asshole with occasionally inspired poetic flashes, and the film's double-edged “celebrations” of sex, bimbos, drugs, booze, and rock 'n' roll—full of pretentious hallucinations involving Native Americans and fancy visual effects—are laced with familiar evocations of fire and brimstone. Some of the effects are arresting, and apart from some unfortunate attempts to “re-create” Ed Sullivan, Andy Warhol, and Nico, the movie does a pretty good job with period ambience. But it's a long haul waiting for the hero to keel over. With Meg Ryan, Kathleen Quinlan, Kyle MacLachlan, Frank Whaley, Kevin Dillon, Michael Wincott, and Michael Madsen.

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