HOPE YOU CHOKE
Radiohead's Midnight Movie
Meeting People Is Easy has a couple of precedents. The formula of trance footage married to pointless interviews and in-studio footage recalls Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii. The extraneous editing of irrelevant images creating jarring juxtapositions recalls Bob Dylan's Eat the Document, a movie that cared more about old women and dogs than its star. This jerky, trip-cut montage style that Meeting People Is Easy shares with Eat the Document doesn't give you time to latch onto anything concrete.
It's not a very nice film. It kills journalists, makes them look like stupid, clueless vultures. Maybe they are. "Does Thom York seem to like sex?" "Have you spoken to any of the celebs at your concerts?" It kills the drunken clubgoers who turn on the band, who yell out "Creep!" and "Dickwad!" in their one chance to bitch out the famous. It kills fans. "I wish I was special," Thom York sings, only to be chorused by a particularly loud screamer who shouts "But you ARE special, Thom!" It kills record companies. Sycophants present them with gold records, which will later be upgraded to platinum records. Award acceptance speeches are reluctantly taped. Photos are taken.
So the film is preachy, uncomfortable, and unpleasant. That doesn't mean it isn't the best rock 'n' roll film of the '90s. It's relevant because rock stars aren't rock stars anymore. Self-destruction became permanently unglamorous when Kurt Cobain painted the floor with bits of his brain. Meeting People Is Easy is a public service announcement, sort of like, "This is your brain on rock stardom."
All this praise and hype demands disclaimers. Some may find it too Zoo TV; others may find it cryptic, cold, and callous. Still others may grow impatient with the lack of continuity. Like anything Pink Floyd ever did, it might be boring to those not stoned. I, however, found it delicious, crammed to the brim with bits of visuals to slip in and slip out of.