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"TAKING WOODSTOCK"
(2009) (Demetri Martin, Imelda Staunton) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Extreme Minor Extreme None Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None None None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Extreme Moderate Heavy Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Dramedy: A young man decides to invite a music festival to his small town, unaware of the repercussions from it snowballing into the cultural event known as Woodstock.
PLOT:
It's 1969, and Elliot Teichberg (DEMETRI MARTIN) is a young man who works and lives in New York City, but helps his immigrant parents, Sonia (IMELDA STAUNTON) and Jake (HENRY GOODMAN), run their dilapidated El Monaco Motel in the small town of Bethel, New York. When not trying to help his friend, Billy (EMILE HIRSCH), who's returned from Vietnam a troubled young man, Elliot also serves as the president of the chamber of commerce.

There, he presides over local permit hearings, such as for Billy's brother, Dan (JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN), while also organizing summer fine arts events in the town, including the Earth Light Theater troupe and its lead actor, Devon (DAN FOGLER). In that role, Elliot comes up with an idea that he believes will not only boost the fortunes of Bethel, but also his parents and their mostly vacant motel.

After hearing that a nearby town has turned down hosting a music event that might draw thousands, Elliot decides to invite them to Bethel, and soon escorts the promoters of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair -- including Michael Lang (JONATHAN GROFF), Tisha (MAMIE GUMMER), and their money men -- over to a nearby dairy farm run by Max Yasgur (EUGENE LEVY).

After some negotiating, the venue is set, with both the musical acts and the number of expected spectators growing each day. As the likes of construction worker Paul (DARREN PETTIE), Reverend Don (RICHARD THOMAS) and former Marine turned transvestite Vilma (LIEV SCHREIBER) show up to help with the three days of peace and music, Elliot tries to keep things running as smoothly as possible, all while finally beginning to break out from under his overbearing mother.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Possibly for older teens, especially if they're fans of someone in the cast or are interested in anything related to Woodstock.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For graphic nudity, some sexual content, drug use and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • DEMETRI MARTIN plays a young man who decides to boost the fortunes of his parents' motel as well as the small town where they live by inviting the music festival there. He must then contend with the repercussions of that event snowballing into something bigger than anyone imagined. He uses strong profanity and briefly partakes in some drugs (pot and acid) and it's suggested that he has gay sex with Paul, and maybe a straight couple, all as he finally starts to break away from his overbearing mom.
  • IMELDA STAUNTON plays his curmudgeon of a mother, a gruff and angry immigrant who tries squeezing ever nickel out of the motel and its few customers. She ends up accidentally high from ingesting marijuana brownies.
  • HENRY GOODMAN plays his long-suffering husband who loves her despite her demeanor and helps run the motel (although he doesn't like the place) as well as his own roofing business. He ends up enjoying the many people who come into their town and lives during the music event. He similarly ends up accidentally high.
  • EMILE HIRSCH plays a troubled Vietnam vet who's back and mostly aimless in his small hometown. He uses strong profanity, smoke pots, drinks, and strips down to join some nude theater performers in a public performance.
  • EUGENE LEVY plays a local farmer who agrees to allow the music festival to be held on his land, but reneges on his original handshake deal and comes back asking for more money. He carries a pipe with him on several occasions.
  • JONATHAN GROFF plays the laidback and confident organizer of the music event.
  • MAMIE GUMMER plays a young woman who accompanies Michael and briefly smokes both pot and a cigarette.
  • DAN FOGLER plays a flamboyant but starving artist theater performer who leads his troupe in some wild public displays. He also offers to trade pot for food with Elliot.
  • JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN plays a local businessman and Billy's brother who isn't happy with the invasion of the hippies. He briefly smokes and uses some profanity.
  • DARREN PETTIE plays a construction worker on the scene who takes a liking to Elliot. They make out in one scene and it's suggested that they have sex.
  • LIEV SCHREIBER plays a hulking transvestite who shows up on the scene and offers to provide security and protection for the motel during the event, particularly from some mob figures who also show up. He briefly smokes and drinks.
  • RICHARD THOMAS plays a reverend who shows up to help out with the music event.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated dramedy. Profanity consists of at least 32 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue is present, as is some fooling around, with off-screen gay sex implied. Non-sexual nudity (full frontal and rear of both men and women) occurs in several scenes, while one character is a male transvestite.

    There's a brief scene of violence (people hitting others), but it's played fairly lightly. Bad attitudes (including ethnic and sexually oriented slurs) and tense family material are present, while some behavior might be enticing to imitate.

    Drug use (acid, pot) and drug-related talk occur in various scenes, as does drinking and smoking.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of handheld camera movement in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Devon tells Elliot that he can barter "grass" (pot) for food. About himself and grass, Elliot says that Devon doesn't want to know.
  • Billy smokes a joint and offers that to Elliot who declines.
  • A local resident complains that the hippies at the upcoming music festival will be high during the day and raping cows at night.
  • Billy has a beer in a brown paper bag.
  • A person states that a certain group drops more acid than Timothy Leary.
  • Miscellaneous people drink in a bar where we also see various liquor bottles.
  • Elliot offers Paul a beer, who turns down that offer, but asks Elliot if his dad minds if they light up (pot) in the bar. Elliot says no, that his dad can't smell due to years of inhaling roofing fumes.
  • Tisha lights up a joint for Elliot, telling him to smoke it as it will help his nausea, so he does and then states that it's some "good sh*t." Moments later, we see that he's high during his press conference.
  • Billy has a beer.
  • Tisha talks of people on acid.
  • Miscellaneous people have beer or pot.
  • Jake has some beer and pours some liquor for Vilma.
  • A state trooper tells Elliot he came to the festival to bust some people, but no longer has that inclination, saying he must be getting high off the fumes.
  • There's talk of "Panama red."
  • We see people selling drug paraphernalia.
  • As Elliot tries to make his way to the concert, he's stopped by a couple who offers him a drink (presumably of water) and then tells him that the drugs closer to the stage aren't of the same quality as what they have. They then invite him into their van, close the doors, and all drop some acid (via a stamp placed on the tongue, at least for Elliot). He's initially surprised that there's no reaction, but he then has a reality altering reaction to the drugs (and we see his distorted point of view for several minutes).
  • Vilma offers some "special brownies" to Elliot and his family, but Elliot says they'll take a pass (knowing that pot is in them, while his parents are oblivious). Later, however, Elliot returns home to find his parents quite high, giggly, and dancing about from having had four such brownies each.
  • Elliot isn't happy with his mom's controlling ways toward him, asking if she thinks Janis Joplin's mom tells her singer daughter to put her whiskey bottle in her back pocket.
  • Billy reminisces about rum and cokes in high school.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • One event organizer talks about the food they'll be offering, hoping it will keep the crowd from "sh*tting" as he's worried about their number of toilets.
  • A sign at the pool reads that (among other things) peeing and "balling" are prohibited.
  • We see a worker at a porta-potty with a large hose, but don't see any human waste.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Sonia is rude to a customer who isn't happy with the service he barely received at her motel.
  • About banks and Jewish customers, Sonia says things are fine until they gas the latter (played for comedy on the part of the film).
  • When Elliot is going to wash some used sheets from one of the motel rooms, Sonia tells him to put them back on the bed, stating about the couple who rented that room, "Those two didn't go anything in there."
  • A friend of Elliot's on the phone refers to the police who arrested him as "pigs."
  • Max reneges on his original handshake deal and changes his land lease fee from $5,000 to $75,000 once he learns how big the festival is going to be.
  • Various locals aren't happy with Elliot regarding him granting permission for the music festival to be held in their town. One even says they should drive "you Jews" from the town. We later see some protestors standing across the way while Jake fumes about a swastika and phrases such as "Burn faggot Jew" that have been painted on the side of a structure.
  • After some authorities cite code violations around the motel, Michael tells Elliot not to worry, that they have some heavy lawyers (but indicates lots of cash for that -- suggesting the lawyers are bribes).
  • Some local mob figures try to put pressure on Jake to cut them in on the action, but he'll have no part of that.
  • During a pre-concert performance for the community (including kids), the theater troupe puts on a stage show where all of them end up removing all of their clothes, thus revealing male and female full frontal and rear nudity. Billy joins them in that state, while Devon is just shirtless, but we see one person doing some comic thrusting into a large stage prop.
  • We hear someone use the phrase, "You faggot freak" (presumably about Vilma).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • We see that Vilma is a transvestite, and he offers protection to the motel from some mob figures, showing Elliot a handgun he has in his garter.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "M*therf*ckers," "F*ck you talking about?" "Man, I f*cked up," "What the f*ck?" "You're not f*cking normal," "Stop with the m*therf*cking this and m*therf*cking that," "F*ck yeah," "She's a f*cking battalion," "Go fry those f*ckers," "That's good sh*t," "Way good sh*t," "Semper Fi, you little pr*ck," "Hell hole," "Yutz," "Cuckoo land," "Pigs" (cops), "Far out," "Bummer, man," "You're an idiot," "You schmuck," "Jeez," "Putz," "Can you dig it?" "Schmucks," "Piss ant," "Get your ass down here," "Faggot freak" and "What the hell?"
  • A young theater woman wears a midriff-revealing top.
  • During a pre-concert performance for the community (including kids), the theater troupe puts on a stage show where all of them end up removing all of their clothes, thus revealing male and female full frontal and rear nudity. Billy joins them in that state, while Devon is just shirtless, but we see one person doing some comic thrusting into a large stage prop.
  • Once the heavy rain starts and the mud forms, various people, including Elliot and Billy, take turns running and sliding through it.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 32 "f" words (5 used with "mother"), 5 "s" words, 2 slang terms for sex ("schtupping" and "boning"), 1 slang term using male genitals ("pr*ck"), 4 hells, 2 asses, 1 S.O.B., 3 uses of "Jesus" and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes," "Jesus Christ" and "My God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see Jake shirtless as he works.
  • When Elliot is going to wash some used sheets from one of the motel rooms, Sonia tells him to put them back on the bed, stating about the couple who rented that room, "Those two didn't go anything in there."
  • An older woman shows a little cleavage.
  • An actress shows a little cleavage.
  • As Michael's chopper arrives, Devon's theater troupe rushes out to the landing spot, with the downward wind blowing off their robes, revealing male and female full frontal and rear nudity.
  • Tisha wears a halter-top.
  • Throughout the film, we see shirtless male workers and concertgoers in various scenes.
  • We see a miscellaneous couple making out (clothed) in a bar.
  • Sonia uses a stick to chase a young couple out from behind some bushes (they're partially clothed, but no explicit nudity), telling them, "No schtupping in the bushes!"
  • From a distance, we see various men strip down to their underwear to jump into the pool.
  • We see that Vilma is a transvestite, and he jokes to Elliot that he heard there was a gay resort here. He then offers protection to the motel from some mob figures, showing a handgun he has in his garter. He then jokes, "You should see what I'm packing up here," hoisting up his dress to show a bulge in his underwear.
  • During a pre-concert performance for the community (including kids), the theater troupe puts on a stage show where all of them end up removing all of their clothes, thus revealing male and female full frontal and rear nudity. Billy joins them in that state, while Devon is just shirtless, but we see one person doing some comic thrusting into a large stage prop.
  • A sign at the pool reads that (among other things) peeing and "balling" are prohibited.
  • A young woman suddenly and passionately kisses Elliot at a bar, followed by Paul doing the same to Elliot, who then does that back to him.
  • We see miscellaneous women in bikinis and men who are shirtless.
  • We see adults and children of both sexes skinny-dipping in a lake, with full frontal and rear nudity for the adults and a brief and partial view of full frontal of a young girl.
  • We see part of the underside of a woman's breasts in her bikini top.
  • A drawing shows a bare-breasted woman.
  • While high on acid, Elliot cavorts lying down with a straight couple in their van (entangled limbs, Elliot shirtless, etc.) but we don't know if they have three-way sex or not. Later, Elliot walks along with the young woman who's in just a robe that's flowing, and we see part of her bare butt.
  • Billy reminisces about being with a girl from high school up on a certain hill (with the implication being they had sex there).
  • We see Billy shirtless as he slides through some mud for fun.
  • Elliot wakes up in bed with Paul who remains asleep and under the covers as Elliot gets up (both are shirtless and sex or fooling around is implied).
  • We briefly see male full rear nudity.
  • SMOKING
  • Max holds a pipe in several scenes, Vilma, Tisha and Dan each smoke at least once (and Vilma is seen in a photo with a cigar), while all sorts of minor and miscellaneous characters smoke in many scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Elliot isn't happy with his mom's controlling ways toward him (or her lack of expressed gratitude for him helping around the motel), asking if she thinks Janis Joplin's mom tells her singer daughter to put her whiskey bottle in her back pocket.
  • Elliot is upset to learn that his mom has squirreled away nearly $100,000 but was going to let the bank foreclose on the motel for just a $5,000 debt. He later asks his dad how he's stayed with his mom for so long, and Jake replies it's because he loves her.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Woodstock and its cultural significance then and now.
  • The historical accuracy and/or artistic license taken with the true story.
  • Billy, a troubled vet who's now back home, stating that in Vietnam, he's normal.
  • Drug use.
  • The comment that perception is what shuts out the universe.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Devon breaks an alarm clock as part of a play rehearsal.
  • Some local mob figures try to put pressure on Jake to cut them in on the action, but he'll have no part of that. He then comes at one with a baseball bat but misses, and is then grabbed, with Sonia coming to his defense. That man shoves her back into something, prompting Elliot to jump on his back. Jake then hits one on the leg with the bat, while Sonia kicks the one (that Elliot is on) in the crotch several times. Those men then rush out to their car where Jake knocks off a side view mirror with that bat (all of that's played fairly lightly).
  • Elliot receives a slight shock from a slightly (and accidentally) electrically charged handrail.



  • Reviewed August 18, 2009 / Posted August 28, 2009

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