There are certain places and certain geographical landmarks that hold a certain aura and a magic to them as they are just a landmark in pop culture history. This documentary "Sunset Strip" is an interesting look back at one of the more iconic mile and a half roads on the face of the planet.
"Sunset Strip" is a historical valentine to what is perhaps Los Angeles' most celebrated thoroughfares and reveals its nearly 100-year history and its significance in culture worldwide. Archival photos , videos and interviews capture the Strip and famed habitués from mobsters like Mickey Cohen all the way to the likes of Hugh Hefner, Johnny Depp, Slash and Mickey Rourke.
It's not the kind of documentary that is designed to be flashy despite the amount of celebrity testimonials, but as a historical time capsule, "Sunset Strip" gets the job done as it relays some pretty unique history in a fairly entertaining fashion.
Co-writer and director Hans Fjellestad takes us down this stretch of road from its early days as a section of dirt road, hitting landmark by landmark like the Chateau Marmont and the Viper Room, getting stories from the hotels and clubs that have made The Strip such a landmark not only in Los Angeles but across the globe for all of these years. The film has a myriad of subjects and quite often a few too many as the cavalcade of famous talking heads that come across the screen can be a little overwhelming, but tracking the evolution of the street was fascinating.
As the times and the music changed, so did the street and so much of popular culture revolved around the strip that just being in the club and walking down the street was being a part of a rock and roll revolution. The phrase Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll was truly born on the strip and it is the epicenter of Hollywood decadence from its very inception. The film is filled with a sensation of equal parts nostalgia and bafflement as upon retrospective these hard living actors, musicians and comedians got to take part in a unique creative vibe of the time that would never ever be able to be recreated today.
Special features on this DVD include an animated history of the Sunset Strip, 4 behind the scenes featurettes about the Sex, Riots, Comedy and Rock 'n Roll on the Sunset Strip, the theatrical trailer and extended interviews with the likes of Billy Corgan, Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves, Mick Fleetwood, Ozzy & Sharon Osbourne, Slash, Tommy Lee, Mickey Rourke and Mark Mahoney.
All of it makes for an interesting little time capsule for pop culture, music and movie aficionados, because while "Sunset Strip" doesn't necessarily bring any genuinely new information to the table, it is pretty neat to see it all neat and tidy in one place as the people who lived through it, reminisce about the peaks of creative debauchery that one city street has seen in its life time.
4 out of 5 stars.
"Sunset Strip" is now available on DVD & Blu-Ray from all major providers and retailers.