Mayor of the Sunset Strip (2003) Poster

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A thought provoking look at the thin line between `the famous and the not so famous.'
wraith-1323 April 2004
If it hadn't already been used, a perfect alternative title for a movie about Los Angeles DJ, Rodney Bingenheimer might have been Almost Famous.

Listen to how Alice Copper describes Bingenheimer: `He was accepted by the Rolling Stones, he was accepted by The Beatles, he was accepted by The Beach Boys…' This slightly unflattering choice of words is significant. Not `was friends with,' not `hung out with,' not `partied with,' but `was accepted by.' One critic called the documentary Mayor of the Sunset Strip the greatest rock & roll movie ever made. I'd have to watch Stop Making Sense and The Velvet Goldmine again before I could make that commitment, but in my opinion, Mayor isn't even about rock & roll. It's about fame, or the proximity to fame. It's about acceptance.

Rodney Bingenheimer's greatest achievement is that, for a generation, he introduced the most influential artists in modern rock to America radio. His second greatest accomplishment was his ability to be accepted. So many larger than life personalities try to force themselves into the spotlight. Meanwhile, quiet, shy, unassuming Rodney Bingenheimer has lived at the edge of the spotlight for his entire adult life.

Pamela Des Barres (who appears in the film) is arguably the world's greatest groupie. Bingenheimer is probably a close second, despite the handicap of being male (being a groupie, like being a fashion model or porn star, is one of the few pursuits in patriarchal society where being male is a handicap). But, while Des Barres is a pop icon, published author and happily married to former rocker Michael Des Barres, Bingenheimer is single, lives in a modest home with tattered furniture and has a once-a-week, 3 hour late-night radio show.

George Hickenlooper's Mayor of the Sunset Strip is a thought provoking look at Los Angeles and the thin but often uncrossable line between `the famous and the not so famous.' From its opening it seems to ask the question, why is one of the most influential men in American radio not a household name, when so many less deserving souls (cough-Carson Daly-cough) are. From the first frame of the film, I found myself sizing Bingenheimer up to come up with an answer. He's a short, skinny, funny looking guy. He's got what you'd call `a great face for radio.' However, he doesn't have a radio voice and after twenty years on the air he has not developed a radio persona. Perhaps this is why he will never reach the heights of Wolfman Jack, Kasey Casem or Rick Dees (yes, I just used `heights' and Rick Dees in the same sentence. No small feat). He lacks the authority of a Kurt Loader and perhaps was just born too early to take advantage of MTV, the network that can make less-than-handsome music aficionados like Matt Pinfield into TV personalities.

Over the span of the film, we see Rodney with the likes of Oasis, No Doubt, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Coldplay and Cher (who Rodney says was like a mother to him, although she looks remarkably younger than he does. Hmmm …). Many of these artists and many more credit Rodney with being the first to play their music on American radio. In photo montages we see old stills of Rodney with Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Dylan, to name a few. We see film clips of Rodney with Jerry Lee Lewis, The Mamas and the Papas and John Lennon. The list is so impressive; if you saw it out of context you'd swear the pictures were fakes. The diminutive Bingenheimer often looks matted into the footage like Woody Allen in Zelig or Tom Hanks in Forest Gump.

Before the credits roll we will see Rodney betrayed by his best friend. We will see his unrequited love for a young girl who insists they are `just friends.' In one humorous and painful scene, we see his estranged family searching the house for pictures of Rodney in desperate attempt to look less estranged. Throughout the film two seemingly opposing questions dominate: With all these famous friends, why isn't Rodney more successful? And, why did all the famous people gravitate toward him to begin with?

In the end, perhaps the fact that Rodney Bingenheimer couldn't parlay his access to the rich and famous into wealth and fame is not the tragedy of Rodney Bingenheimer. Perhaps the fact that we find anyone who doesn't cash in on their proximity to fame tragic is the tragedy of America. Rodney Bingenheimer is our inner geek, the star-stuck autograph hound in all of us. Hickenlooper's film holds up a mirror to a celebrity obsessed culture, a culture fixated on something 99.9999% its members will never experience. Perhaps this is the tragedy of all our lives. After all, as bad as we may feel for Bingenheimer, the fact remains: WE are watching a movie about HIM, a movie in which he is hanging out with David Bowie, and we are not.
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7/10
a stranger-than-fiction true life story
Buddy-5116 January 2005
If "Mayor of the Sunset Strip" were not a documentary, no one would ever believe the story it tells. The film chronicles the life of Rodney Bingenheimer, the L.A. DJ who helped to launch the careers of many of the most influential bands in rock music history. However, if you're expecting Rodney to be a dashing, high-powered music exec with loads of cash and garages full of fancy sport cars, think again. He is, in fact, a painfully shy and unassuming man who seems totally out of place in the celebrity swirl of which he became so integral a part beginning in the 1960's. This is what makes his story and the film so fascinating, for who could have imagined that this gnomish young lad from Mountain View, California - essentially abandoned by both his mother and father and rejected by his peers - would somehow manage to make himself the center of attention for some of the greatest rock celebrities of the 1960's and '70's. Everybody who was anybody knew and adored Rodney, and, after he landed a gig as DJ at L.A.'s KROQ in the 1970's, he gave many struggling alternative artists their first real toehold on the radio, playing their records at a time when no other disc jockeys would touch them. The bands who practically owe their careers to Rodney Bingenheimer include Blondie, the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, the Runaways, the Go-Go's, No Doubt, Coldplay, and many many others.

As a documentary, the film, written and directed by George Hickenlooper, takes a fairly conventional approach, combining images from Rodney's life with interviews by celebrities, relatives and friends commenting on him both as a person and as a phenomenon. The film provides a virtual who's who of some of the biggest names in the music business stepping up to the camera to have their say, most of it highly complimentary to the subject. Indeed, almost to a person, the interviewees talk about what a sweet, lovable guy Rodney is and how hobnobbing with so many celebrities has not diminished his innate humility and decency as a person. There is one moment in the film when Rodney allows his anger to get the better of him, but, most of the time, he comes across as a goodhearted, almost passive person who is surprisingly inarticulate and - one senses - not all that comfortable being the subject of a documentary. The film achieves a poignancy and sadness in its latter scenes when we discover that, despite all this notoriety among the glitterati in Hollywood, Rodney lives a rather isolated existence, never having found that one true love with whom he could settle down and make a life. In fact, the movie makes us question whether fame - or even proximity to the famous - can ever really lead to a happy, successful life. It's a lament we've heard many times before and will hear many times again.

"Mayor of the Sunset Strip" provides us with a kaleidoscopic view of the L.A. music scene from the mid 1960's to the present. Rodney's life becomes the forum for reliving all those exciting moments in which this parade of beautiful and talented people came to define the culture and eras of which they were a part. The film has an almost "Zelig" quality to it, as Rodney is photographed standing next to virtually every important rock artist to come down the pike in the last four decades.

I must admit that, even after watching "Mayor of the Sunset Strip," I still don't claim to understand how Rodney achieved everything that he did, and maybe no film could ever really capture that magic alignment of elements that made it possible for a shy, insecure young boy from a broken family - yet a boy with dreams and an abiding love of rock 'n roll - to play such a crucial part in music history. I guess you had to actually be there to really understand it.

My own experience with Rodney Bingenheimer is an extremely modest one. I once stood behind him while waiting to board a flight from San Jose to Burbank. Few people in the crowd seemed to know who he was, but an attractive young girl, obviously interested in pursuing a career in music, approached him and politely engaged him in conversation. Rodney, despite the fact that he could have simply ignored her advances and begged for privacy, instead turned his full attention to what it was she was saying, smiled demurely at her compliments, and offered her an opportunity to perform for him when they got back to L.A. It's that Rodney Bingenheimer who comes through in the film.
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Excellent, But Not Enough Music
fleetmind7 October 2004
As an Angeleno, I was a long-time listener to KROQ, but gave it up the day grunge came to town. I used to listen to Rodney back when he was on at a decent hour. He was so weird and you always felt like you were terribly cool and on-the-edge for listening to him. It is too bad KROQ abandoned Rodney's kind of music in favor of the crap they play today.

But on to the movie itself. I thought it was excellent in its own right, which had the classic tragedy theme. Looking at it that way, this movie could not have been better.

But from a music standpoint there was something lacking. Rodney is Rodney because of the music, his love of the music, his ear and knack for the music. There was plenty in this movie about the musicians but very little about the music they play. I would have liked a few comments along the lines of, "Oh, the first time I heard the opening riff of such-and-such a song," or "Man, when I saw so-and-so play for the first time at the Whiskey!" There is a curious lack of talk about the actual tunes in this movie. One DOES come away with the feeling that it was just celebrities that Rodney loved and not the art they created...and I know this is not the case.

But back to the "tragedy" that was this movie's real purpose. It was so excruciating to watch some of these scenes. A truly great movie in this respect. The encounters with the family, the dumping of his mom's ashes, the freak-out with Chris Carter, the horrible, horrible side-story of the 50-year-old wannabe rock star. This movie was positively Shakespearean! And knowing what a tragic landscape Los Angeles really is, I loved that this was conveyed so well in this film; the Denny's, the stripmalls, the ugly apartment buildings.
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9/10
Rodney who? Watch and find out...
noir guy3 November 2003
According to this film, the 'Mayor of the Sunset Strip' is Rodney Bingenheimer. Rodney who? Well, watch this fascinating documentary, directed by George Hickenlopper (HEARTS OF DARKNESS : A FILMMAKER'S APOCALYPSE), and find out! Bingenheimer is seemingly the kind of selfless guy who appears to have initially been a kind of male groupie in the 60s and who subsequently unconditionally promoted U.S. and U.K. rock and pop acts through his L.A. based 'Rodney on the Roq' radio show and is acclaimed in almost reverential tones by those who owe their Stateside break to the airplay which apparently broke them through to the U.S. mainstream. As these artists include the likes of Brian Wilson, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Oasis and Coldplay (not sure I can forgive Rodney those last two), and given that the soundtrack includes these bands and many more individuals and groups (e.g. including a certain Mr. Bowie) which would have set virtually any other movie back several million greenbacks had they not offered their tracks for the minimum cost required to sort the legal paperwork, one can see how revered this apparently somewhat impoverished starmaker is (although his collection of pop memorabilia could set him up for several lifetimes should he choose to part with it). A Zelig-like figure whom the film's archival footage (filmed and photographic) shows to have been present at virtually all the epochal rock moments of the last 40 years, as well as one whose life has perhaps not turned out to be as successful as one might expect (the man still appears to dine at Denny's, for crying out loud!) and who seems to have been let down by those who might have reciprocated more kindly for the leg-up he appears to have given them, is well-served by this compassionate, occasionally hilarious (the Cherie Currie story about sinister svengali producer/performer Kim Fowley and his punchy riposte is a hoot) and ultimately rather sad and cautionary tale of the darker side of the American Dream. A man who, as my friend pointed out afterwards, appears to have inspired The Ramones' choice of tonsorial grooming and who still appears to be occasionally mistaken for The Monkees' Davy Jones (he originally auditioned for Jones' role and was sometimes deployed as his double which, if nothing else, seems to have added a few notches to his bedpost) and whose sad-faced countenance speaks more vividly of a lifetime of let-downs than any rancid verbal outpourings (he actually seems too polite to engage in on-screen badmouthing of even those who might deserve a well-aimed verbal broadside), this features an engaging mixture of talking head and rare archival footage and entertains as it delivers an impressionistic vulture's eye view of the West Coast zeitgeist, leaving one in no doubt that the film's title appropriately rests on this unlikely, slightly-built and spindly-legged character. An enlightening documentary, and highly recommended fare with no 'dead air'.
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8/10
A valuable and necessary documentary on the cult of fame
convergentmedia29 December 2005
A few months ago, while awaiting my late-night food at *that* deli in Hollywood, I went up to a seated Rodney Bingenheimer and told him straight up: "'Mayor of the Sunset Strip' is one of the most important films I've ever seen." Emphasis on the word "important". I then explained why, and he just smiled, closed his eyes and nodded.

Less an indulgence in the overplayed phenomenon of "celebrity", this film is much more of a (rare) viewing of notoriety's seedy, cultist aspects under modern capitalism. In an age when "fame" and "celebrity" are their own forms of hard currency (E.G. invite a known celebrity to YOUR party -- whatever the occasion -- and see how many people RSVP within a matter of hours...), this is a film worth studying. The Yale-educated director, who not ironically directed "Hearts of Darkness", shrewdly turns the subject of Rodney Bingenheimer's literal 'staying power' in Hollywood into an entertaining and thought-provoking look at FAME AS A DISEASE. When the film is viewed under this poignant and increasingly relevant context, then Rodney really isn't that different from anyone else in America (or hyper-consuming Western culture in general). Nope, no one ultimately cares that you ran into Paul McCartney once in your twenties, but you'll keep mentioning it anyway...because you *matter*!!!

I watched the film on DVD (the preferred format, considering the variety of interviews in the "extras" portion) again after a yearlong lapse from my first viewing, only to further absorb its potency on the above-mentioned. A telling and strangely comforting aspect shown is the palpable discomfort on the faces of certain demonstrably lifelong insecure hyper-celebrities (Cher, Brooke Shields, Liam from Oasis) over talking about Rodney, their mercurial lives and ultimately, how they view "fame". One senses that, even if after attaining that much "acceptance", that you're still not comfortable in your own skin, then it's best not to carry as much celebrity currency in your pockets in the first place when - God Forbid -- you'd have to ever pay some of it back to those who've helped you attain it along the way.

Not all of the film's included luminaries came across in such fashion, however -- Ray Manzerick, Gwen Stefani, Nancy Sinatra, Elvis Costello, Brian Wilson and David Bowie more or less stayed clear of such forced sincerity (read: barely contained cringing) in this film. And yet, I'd be lying if I said that all of the awkward celebrity posturing wasn't the most entertaining aspect of the film – yes, even more so then simply the presence of the celebs who appear.

Brooke Shield's interview in the DVD is akin to an actual cognitive behavioral therapy session, where she relates how she's (supposedly) overcome her past nagging needs for acceptance. This caveat is telling, considering her much publicized postpartum depression (E.G. newborns don't know how to adore "celebrity" on cue, hence potentially magnifying the neuroses of past rejections felt by such otherwise "me-first" celebrities during, say, all-night baby crying sessions).

Author and 'fame expert' Leo Braudy is featured briefly commenting on the nature of fame and the public's obsession with it, concluding that he doesn't know who Rodney Bingenheimer is. I would've rather included authors Richard Schickel or Tyler Cowen (the latter an economist), who would've provided better insights without the added flippancy. Ironically (or maybe not so, considering the difference between having BEEN in the fame trenches versus simply writing about them), Rodney's darker trenches mate and alter-ego Kim Fowley actually sums up fame better than does Braudy with a nutshell synopsis of what drives people to seek fame, or the famous. Fowley accurately diagnoses Rodney and everyone else in Hollywood -- in itself worth watching the movie for, especially because Fowley illustrates the wacky, surreal and even palpably evil accumulation of frothy on-the-edges-of-fame excess that isn't limited to just the non-Wilshire Blvd. (read: corporate) entertainment industry, but sums up fame's very heart and that industry's core.

The film also shrewdly (and deservedly) shines a subtly dismissive light onto "alternative radio" juggernaut, KROQ, which is now to 'cutting edge' and 'fidelity to founding visionaries' what Alice Cooper was to 'subtlety'. KROQ DJ Jed the Fish's summing up of KROQ's essential value of Rodney Bingenheimer as more or less irrelevant to modern musical trends is tactically contrasted by the director with a brief yet accurate portrayal of KROQ's core current audience -- sweaty, tattooed, violent, soul-less subhuman Huns who urinate openly at concerts and grunt to hackneyed noise passing as their distressingly elected life anthems.

The viewer stumbles upon something: Being that "fame" has created its own marketplace, it's obvious that Rodney has a unique talent that can be shopped around (to Indy 103.1 or satellite radio, for instance)...away from a midnight to 3:00 AM slot on KROQ. Yet, because of the uniquely demonic characteristics of cut-throat, increasingly commercial yet still elusive Hollywood, one then realizes possibly why the less opportunistic 'good souls' (to quote Starsailor) like Rodney don't have agents shopping their said talents around: Despite not retaining any known instrumental or singing talents, a "radio-friendly voice" (Jed the Fish? Swedish Eagle? Adam Corolla?!?) or Teutonic good looks, still, at least Rodney is not a hack.

I'd make this film required viewing in suburban high schools as well as in college courses involving media or cultural studies, sociology, psychology, the arts and/or the humanities. Best to cork that genie in our tortured youth before 'groupie-dom' tries to compensate for their disturbingly growing lack of self-esteem...

With that said, God Bless Rodney Bingenheimer.
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A Study in the Tragically Hip
scorp_gal_032 May 2005
So who is this Rodney Bingenheimer? One can describe him as the "Mayor of the Sunset Strip," but in my opinion, "King of the Groupies" is more accurate. If you live in LA, you may be somewhat familiar with him due to his radio show. If not, you're still going to love this film if you're at all a fan of rock and roll music.

"Mayor of the Sunset Strip" is sort of a cross between "Zelig" and "This Is Spinal Tap," but unlike those pics, this is a not a mockumentary...Rodney Bingenheimer is a real guy. And there isn't a famous rock musician with whom he hasn't hung out, or been photographed. Lest you think this guy is just some kind of a Photoshop genius who never actually met Lennon, Bowie and the rest...well there are plenty of folks out there who will corroborate his life story. And these folks are featured in this documentary...everyone from Deborah Harry to The Doors' Ray Manzarek, plus the most famous groupie of all time, Pamela Des Barres (and I must admit that when I was 15 years old and read "I'm With the Band, I so wanted to be her).

Rodney began his career as a professional hanger-on when he got hired to play Davy Jones' double in "The Monkees"—although aside from the height and hair, he really doesn't resemble Davy Jones at all. However, Rodney was somehow able to turn this 15 minutes of fame into four decades at the top (or outskirts, depending on how you look at it) of LA's social scene. Little 5'3",100 lb, not least-bit handsome Rodney propelled himself into a world where he knew every rock and roller, and they all knew him (I, for one, am convinced this is due to the fact that, next to Rodney, celebrities could feel good about themselves by appearing taller and more attractive). By the time he opened his famous "Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco" in the early 70s, Rodney was apparently, as we learn in the film, getting more girls than even Robert Plant. And when Michael Des Barres speaks of Rodney's success with women, he declares that the guy had a "posse of p*****." This fact is remembered fondly by the beyond middle-aged Rodney in the film…I found that scene particularly hilarious.

By the time disco music actually became popular in the latter part of the 70s, Rodney wanted to close his "English Disco." He had long since moved on to punk rock, worshipping the likes of the Ramones and the Sex Pistols. In the 80s, Rodney was able to establish himself as a DJ who brought the latest and greatest music to Southern California. Without a good radio voice, Rodney was able to turn his knowledge of the music into a paying job. Fast forward to the 90s, and we see Rodney, looking like a 60-year-old in a Paul Weller wig, still seemingly at the top of the rock and roll ladder, hanging out with the likes of Coldplay and Oasis, the latter he claimed to be playing on the radio when their music was still only available on tape (Well, I personally happen to have seen Oasis play very early on in a small club with only about 100 people in the audience, but I digress…) From the very beginning of the film, we see that life is getting tougher for Rodney. For one thing, it's hard to make a living when you don't have any particular skills, and your claim to fame is that you know (or used to know) a bunch of famous people. That's the tragedy of it.

All in all, it's the little things that make watching this documentary so entertaining...from the conversations in Bing & Zelda Bingenheimer's garishly decorated California home, to the scenes of Rodney driving around LA in his tres uncool automobile. Then there are the scenes of Rodney's friend Isadore Ivy singing his ode to Jennifer Love Hewitt, and his other friend, Kim Fowley(?) discussing the amazing sexual capacity of the male organ. Anyway, you can easily forget, while watching this movie, that Rodney Bingenheimer and the weirdos around him are not fictional characters. And that's what makes it all so chuckle-inducing.

In closing, it's films like "Mayor of the Sunset Strip" that are exactly the reason I enjoy watching documentaries so much.
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Exploitative and Superficial (SPOILER)
sabine-d26 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This was one of those films that I regretted renting, for fear that I had put some money into the pocket of the director. The main complaint is that the film is exploitative of Rodney B. Ironically, it reveals much more about the callous indifference of Hollywood by the way it treats Rodney and his life. Scenes I found particularly offensive were the one's where the director strove great lengths to create awkward situations at Rodney's expense, in order to give the film some 'reality' (i.e. scene at Rodney's estranged family's home, tremendously awkward scene with Rodney and Camille, and the director prodding Rodney about his true feelings for Camille, while she looks on, obviously uncomfortable). I understand the need for a documentarian to show the darker side of human life, but I firmly believe that this can be done while being sensitive to the person involved. There is no sign that this director has compassion for his subject. If any, it is of a perverse sort, like how you feel sorry for someone that you can't help but think is a complete idiot and who you think is ultimately to blame for their own demise. I think that one can see this if they are able to perceive the more subtle aspects of the picture--i.e. what scenes are present, how are they constructed, how are the questions posed, etc. Ultimately, this picture is not deep. There really isn't any attempt to really understand the man, likely because the director himself doesn't want to know or thinks he already knows him. The person who made this film is far worse off than Rodney is at present. At least Rodney has sensitivity and compassion. Lucky for us, and without the help of the director, Rodney's simple wisdom shines through at various conjunctures, hinting that there is much more there than a naive boy who buys into the rockstar illusion. If only this film were made by someone else, then we would have had a better grasp of why celebrities and people like Camille were drawn to him, and why ultimately it is a blessing to be spit out by Hollywood...a chance to reclaim your dignity and find more lasting happiness.
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9/10
Interesting story of a guy who became an accidental rock star.
Anonymous_Maxine10 March 2005
I remember listening to Rodney Bingenheimer's radio show on KROQ when I was in high school. I knew nothing of him at the time and only know what I know now because of what I learned from this movie, but regardless of how popular Rodney became with the rock stars and celebrities and regardless of how well his show ever did, the guy just does not have a voice for radio. I think that in his case it is vital that you know him personally or that you know about his history in the music business, because listening to him as a radio talk show host is intolerably boring. It is not a surprise, to say the least, that his radio show never strayed far from the midnight to 3am shift on Sundays, although I would rather listen to him than Jed the Fish any day of the week. Jed the Fish irritates the hell out of me.

Speaking of which, one of the more interesting things that I learned from this documentary was actually just proof of something that I had always suspected, that Jed the Fish has always been faking that ridiculous accent that he always talks with on the air. In his brief interviews in the movie he makes the mistake of talking in his regular voice, revealing how much of a fake he really is. On the other hand, he is, in fact, an entertainer, so I don't want to give the impression that he is some kind of fraud because he talks with a fake accent on the air. He's been on KROQ for some ridiculous number of years, so he must be doing something right. Not my thing, I guess. I think I may have just developed this contempt for KROQ for ruining great songs and popularizing bad songs in the ten years or so since I first moved to Irvine and started listening to them.

The thing that I really liked about this documentary is that it really gives good insight into the life of Rodney Bingenheimer, who seems like some geeky guy who made his way into rock stardom by a simple love of music and what must have been a very disarming and unusually charming demeanor. For some reason he reminds me of this 1978 Honda Civic that I had in high school, it was the crappiest car in the parking lot but everyone loved it. I remember lots all the hot Flygirls used to always want to drive it, it was like a toy. Interpret that as you will, I still haven't figured it out.

There are moments in the film when I almost felt bad for being so bored by Rodney's radio program, because despite having been experienced far more than every high school kid's dreams of the, ah, fleshy pearls of rock and roll decadence, Rodney has been through a lot of pain in his life. He had some truly heartbreaking experiences in his life growing up, which are kind of manifested in scenes like the one where he goes to visit his parents, with whom he had something of a falling out, and finds that they don't have any pictures of him in the front room. The saddest thing is that he brings the camera crew into a back room and points to a picture of himself, framed on hung on the wall but almost hidden in a corner where no one would ever see it. And he acted like it was perfectly normal.

Rodney's demeanor that thing that really leaves the film open to interpretation. Despite having just watched a documentary about the guy, I feel like I know less about him than I knew before, just because he is such a closed off kind of person. There are scenes when he genuinely loses his temper, and there are scenes where he is clearly uncomfortable and comes right out and says that he doesn't want to talk about certain things, but at the same time he discloses information about himself that almost anyone else would probably find embarrassing.

This is one of the rare instances in documentary film-making where you can learn so much about a person but come away from it amazed at how little you really know about him. It's like the old saying, the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. Rodney is a truly unique person with a truly unique personality, and while I can't claim to have been entertained by his radio show even for a minute, he is certainly a fascinating person to learn about. Especially since I went to high school listening to the kind of music that he introduced to the world and I now live in the area that is portrayed in the movie. All music fans should watch this.
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Oscar worthy documentary! See this if you have any ears at all!
scarletminded9 April 2004
Rodney Bingenheimer. I hadn't heard his name before this film, but the friend I went to a pre-screening had. I am not originally from Southern California, but my friend is. I never knew the influences people can have over a scene. I am so glad there are people like Rodney out there. In this world of corporate takeovers and the almighty dollar, I am happy there are people who stick to their guns like Rodney. He is one of the last Djs in America that doesn't have a corporation make his playlist and his life reads like a history of who's who in the rock world. He has been everywhere, with Elvis, with John Lennon, with the Beatles eating up shrimp that should have been saved for the Doors. He was Davy Jones' double on the Monkees. He was in "Rock and Roll High School!" He exposed a lot of music in the punk and new wave eras, that might have not been heard otherwise. He played the Sex Pistols when no radio station would touch them. He took a chance on a weirdo named Bowie. He still takes chances, like playing a local (SD) act called Sin Sin 77, which I will have to check out now!

It is hard to believe at times that so many famous people would seek out Mr.Bingerheimer as a friend, but he comes off in the film and in real life (I was lucky enough to meet him and hear him speak after the film...peaks of being close to LA!) as a sincere person who is in it for the music. He likes people and is almost a reflective elflike Warholesque character. He is an introvert and that is what makes this documentary so intensely real, he makes no pretenses, what you see is what you get.

I didn't know at the time of seeing this pre-screening for free, that Rodney was going to show up along with the director, George Hickenlooper (great names!) but it was a rare treat. A local indie station hosted the evening, gave out CDs and tee shirts...what a great night. I had to run home and write everyone to go see this film and get a rare glimpse into the life of someone who lived in the Hollywood rock scene most of his life and has had such a wonderful influence on modern radio. Now if they would only play Rasputina on K-Roq, that would be something!

Can't wait to go up to LA to one of Bingenheimer's "English Disco" nights. I hope he actually gets Wednesday nights on K-roq because he should get more time then a night owl time on Sunday. But it sounds like his audience is young. Why the corporate machine doesn't grab on to the idea that many young people, such as myself, want to listen to new and different music and try to market radio more towards us, like, umm, giving Djs the right to play their own playlists?

I am so glad to know Rodney's story and see all the old footage of Hollywood and rock bands. It is truly an unique and valuable one! This is a must see and is Oscar worthy in my book!
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7/10
Correction
ronaldwvaughan31 July 2005
As a co-star in this movie I am duty-bound to make a correction, namely, that RODNEY was NOT dropped off at Connie Stevens' house by his mother. This was a fabrication introduced by the director, and voiced by Kim Fowley.

I agree with several people: the movie should be re-cut (it's possible, because the raw footage is still in storage) and the crap (the too- "dark" stuff) removed...and made much longer. So much was never seen...

and this was supposed to be a pro-RODNEY movie (and not an anti-Kim Fowley picture). It could have been a GREAT documentary instead of just a GOOD one...

Trivia: Originally, this movie was supposed to have been offered via Paramount Pictures. What would have happened IF it had, one wonders?
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8/10
Rodney the Scrivener
goodwithfaces21 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I had never heard of Rodney Bingenheimer prior to catching the doc on Showtime, so it was somewhat shocking to see how involved he was in the musical lives of many bands that I like. He, as has been said elsewhere, is like a musical Zelig; in one funny sequence, he is seen in the videos of the Mamas & Papas, Blondie, The Ramones (I think) and many more--one of the those nameless people in the background clapping their hands, singing along, etc.

His acceptance by the famous as a male groupie is due to his nearly blank canvas of a personality--he seems to have no real emotional depth. His wallpaper-like persona is similar to Andy Warhol's except that Warhol's was very likely an act--there was a lot going on under that wig. That can't be said for Rodney. He has nothing much to say about anything other than "wow" or "really?" or "that's great." What he does have is good intentions and a lack of an exploitation gene so that celebrities feel safe around him.

Interestingly, he has a Doppelganger in producer/artist Kim Fowley with whom he appears to be very close. Fowley is everything Bingenheimer is not: crass, manipulative, exploitative, even violent. It is an interesting psychological study. A second shadow figure is presented in an aspiring recording artist/sad sack that Bingenheimer befriends: these two friends carry some of the things that Bingenheimer cannot allow for himself.

The film goes from a story of a guy gliding happily through life to a kind of sad story. When asked how he'd like the film to end, an obvious metaphor for his own life, Bingenheimer tellingly responds "I just want everyone to be happy, to enjoy the film." He cannot aspire to his own happiness, cannot make any real claims life. Ultimately, the famous who have made real lives for themselves, move on. Rodney, like Melvilles's Bartlby, cannot.
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10/10
Rodney Bingenheimer is a beautiful person
valeriej926568 April 2004
For those of us old enough to remember the music scene of the late 60's, 70's and beyond (even the popularity of the Monkees!) this film is like going to a wonderful, emotionally affecting family reunion. The stills and video footage are so wonderful, it makes you want to see the film more than once, or own a copy. What is most striking about the film, though, is Rodney himself. I'm sure that there are many people in the world he inhabits who are conceited or arrogant or dismissive of ordinary people. But Rodney's pureness of heart shines through in this film. You can clearly see how unpretentious, genuine, and generous of spirit he is, and how he relates to people like Cher or Nancy Sinatra as real people, not because they are famous. Although the filmmaker seems to focus on areas of Rodney's life that remain unfulfilled, and this brings more than a little pathos to the overall tone of the film, the film really makes you care and want to know more about this unique man, who truly has a beautiful spirit.
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9/10
These Beatle Boots Were Made For Walking
stephenwillyamz-113 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Question: "Do you wish your life could have been different?" Mayor Rodney's Answer: "Mmmm, yeah actually…"

Formerly Groovy Rodney Bingenheimer (born in 1946) is now an ugly little man with a hollow, monotone voice, bangs, tight pants and pointed "Beatle Boots"—lost in the 21st century. He adored his domineering Northern California waitress mother, Marion Bingenheimer, who dumped his father when he was three and consequently dumped him on the doorstep of Connie Stevens when he was 17. "I didn't see my mom for about five or six years."

Anyway, Ms. Stevens wasn't home and suddenly homeless Rodney, trudged his way up to the Sunset Strip, beginning his hand to mouth existence mingling with, and riding the coattails of, up and coming pop music stars. The denizens of the music scene seemed to accept him mainly because he was such a harmless little guy. Kind of a penniless West Coast version of Andy Warhol.

"Rodney buys into the rock star myth, and derives a sense of gratitude and fulfillment from that energy."

Soon, he was a body double for Davy Jones of the Monkeys. He also chummed around with Sonny and Cher whom he considered to be his substitute dad and mom. He had arrived in the giddy world of backstage passes and willing groupies.

The halcyon sixties soon drew to a close and Rodney began his slow drift into obscurity. The one thing he remained very good at, was proclaiming which rock 'n roll groups would become popular…But he never seemed to made any money (at least no money to speak of) off of those predictions.

Rodney currently lives in a shabby aging apartment off of Sunset, filled with pop memorabilia, which he refers to, somewhat facetiously as "Bingenheimer Manor". Mother Marion is dead; his current obsession, Camille considers him only as a "friend". Pushing 60, he's never been married; with a pop career consisting of an after midnight, three-hour once a week, DJ gig.

"Mayor" Bingenheimer has become a walking cautionary tale for those of us born in 1940s Boss Angeles, as well as those overly obsessed with celebrities.
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Fun and freaky, sad but not weepy
MovieMaven41113 November 2004
Nothing says more about LA or its much maligned Hit-Driven Radio than Rodney Bingenheimer.

He personally broadcast inspired musical choices on KROQ, his cutting edge decisions to play breakout bands, his warm dedication to Rock N' Roll in the face of fast cash that was always "within his grasp".

I think every young guy of 18-24 wants the "Rodney life". Babes, rock , free music, speedy lifestyle... wow--he had it all !!!

...but it all comes down to the thin brown ashes off the side of a boat in the English Channel. A rare naked moment for Rodney when he's finally "sending off" his Mother. All of a sudden, his edgy life feels empty.

In 1979, when I hit L.A. , Rodney on the ROCKS was the best Saturday night show on radio. What is really great, is that rare magic spikes comes through the classic Rock icon images like the pasty multiple facelifts of a monotone Nancy Sinatra, who can't move her lips.

In the '80's and 90's, his influence on generation(s) of young music fans was unparalleled. Mind you, he has the worst voice ever created for radio. Now, he's faded to a Doctor Demento cult figure that seems more tragic than I would like.

Rodney seems lost and now a little desperate around the edges.... (What does he do besides work 3 hours a week??)

The documentary is brilliant.... How many documentaries have a bad guy that you love to hate--- Kim Fowley-- the Human Canker Sore. (Mr. Fowley claims no drug use but keep inhaling and touching his nose?!? I suspect he might end up on a free guest spot for "Six Feet Under") I'm kinda glad to have NEVER met Kim Fowley in person. Even his video presence is a little freaky.

And... Rodney is never judgmental to anyone... probably a more human flaw when it comes to the Fowleys of this world.
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6/10
Fun movie, but keep your expectations in check.
rooprect19 October 2013
Argh once again I'm the victim of a marketing scheme which ruined my enjoyment of this otherwise good film. You've probably noticed the first words on the DVD box in bold letters are: "THE GREATEST ROCK'N'ROLL FILM OF ALL TIME!" On the back another hyperbolic film critic raves "THE GREATEST ROCK'N'ROLL FILM EVER MADE!" And then it goes on to list "featuring music and appearances by..." and name-drops every famous act since 1965, even daring to play the Beatles card.

DON'T. YOU. BELIEVE. IT.

While Mayor of the Sunset Strip is an interesting, nostalgic trip to California's music scene in the last quarter of the 20th century, it's a far cry from "the greatest rock'n'roll film ever" or even any sort of rock'n'roll film. It lacks the music to make it a true rock'n'roll film.

The focus is not on music but rather on the phenomenon of pop celebrity. Often the "music and appearances by..." are only 0.5 second clips of some celebrity shaking hands with Rodney. Some are just photographs.

The bulk of the celebrity interviews are: Kim Fowley for 10-15 mins total, Nancy Sinatra for maybe 5 mins, Joan Jett for maybe 1 min, Cher 1 mins, Bowie 45 sec, Gwen Stefani 30 sec (but parts repeated to make it longer), Ray Manzarek 15 sec, and a few others for 15 sec or less. Tori Amos appears through the door of her trailer looking confused for exactly 1.5 seconds, and the Beatles "appearances" are just photos and stock footage.

Marketing for this film is deceptive at best, dishonest at worst. If this sort of thing pisses you off as much as it does me, pumping your expectations to unrealistic heights then dropping you on your butt unfulfilled, then you may want to put down the ritzy DVD box, take a deep breath, remind yourself that it's just a mid-budget documentary, and enjoy it for what it's worth, not what it promises to be.

Now about the movie itself. It suffers from a bit of identity crisis, at times trying to prove that Rodney is an icon whom we should adore, at times portraying him as a loser who never got his due. He is shown as a short, gentle, harmless man, but then we are shown images of him licking topless women and stories of him having sex with every groupie who ever hitched a ride to California. We are shown images of a shabby-looking home with holes in the furniture, but then it's made clear that he was the successful owner of a downtown nightclub where patrons and girls by the dozen would kill to get into his VIP room. I'm not sure what the filmmaker was trying to do. But the result was that I didn't feel any sympathy for Rodney by the end of the film, because it's obvious that he had more wine, women & song in 1 day than most of us have in our miserable lives. Is the director's point that he didn't get enough??

Rodney himself has a cute boyish face which makes him instantly lovable, but his awkward, 1-word answers to the director's questions become slightly irritating by the end of the film. I certainly don't fault Rodney for playing his cards close to his chest; he strikes me as a very private man with serious reservations about having his life splayed out on a buffet table. I fault the filmmakers for not coaxing the good stuff out of him. And I'm not talking about dirt & drama, I'm talking about the simple passion for music that drove Rodney. Would it have killed the filmmakers to spend 5 minutes asking him what his favorite song or band or style was? No, instead it always seems to be "who's the most famous person you met?"

Well, lack of music notwithstanding, this is an interesting documentary about an underdog. It doesn't really tell a story, not like the excellent "Anvil! The Story of Anvil" (now THAT ONE can indeed be called the greatest rock'n'roll film ever). In Mayor of the Sunset Strip I feel as though the filmmakers failed to deliver. That plus the absurdly inflated expectations I had from the DVD box made this a ho-hum experience.

If you're truly interested in discovering "the greatest rock'n'roll film ever", please check out the aforementioned "Anvil" (even if you're not a metal fan, it's charmingly honest). Also check out the classic satires "This Is Spinal Tap", "Still Crazy", "The Ruttles: All You Need Is Cash", the brilliant documentary "Searching for Sugar Man", and if you can stand a little 80s cheeze there is tremendous poetry in "Eddie & the Cruisers". When I consider all these terrific rock'n'roll films through the decades, there is no doubt in my mind that Mayor just isn't in the same class. As long as you don't expect it to be, you'll have a good time.
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7/10
Im Glad this movie was made
xmistidawn13 July 2009
OK so I thought it showed the human side of Rodney that he had a gift, tho he had little confidence most his life you can tell that. He has perseverance. He defined what Cool was to be up on the Strip. This fella that was ridiculed and made fun of all his life really is someone i think should have respect and recognition at being in the forefront of what was cool in the best of musics era up on the strip. The movie portrayed him for who he was back then and who he is now. There are so many derogatory statements about the movie, I see the points made but I don't agree to many of them. He has had a odd life different then the mainstream. He has mingled with the stars which was his dream and he fulfilled it. The one thing he has not seem to fulfilled is his desire to be in a solid relationship. I think that is all that is missing for him. I mean this is a personal thing and he is a very private person but i know first hand that he has always sought that special person. He dated my sister for a period of time back in the 70s. He took her to the David Bowie concert at the Palladium (ziggy stardust tour if i remember right)in a limousine. She was of course underage like all the young girls back then in the scene. Unfortunately my sister was like a wild cat in a cage, and she left him too. But every time i saw him for many years after he would ask me How's Cindy, tell her to call me sometime. She was special to him there is no doubt in my mind. Myself I respected him and always said hello, my friend Kris and i would sit with him at Dennys many a night back in those days. He was a kind and gentle person. I had no idea about his personal growing up life and this enlightened me. I felt the movie had that tragedy feel and kind of somber because you want to know that he is OK. You want to know that he has built confidence over time but it seemed at the end, he still hadn't found that Happiness he has searched for. He reconciled with his mom after many years but how many people have done this to family members that were not deserving? many many He has had great compassion and a big heart to forgive such a cruel injustice. He has certainly had a terrible time with love interests but has experienced all the benefits regardless. But who can blame him for testing out the waters? Don't we all do that? perhaps on a smaller scale, given the circumstances that he was in that he placed himself in. Camille is and will no doubt remain someone dear to him. She has her own agenda, such is life. I truly hope that Rodney will find what he looks for he is a special person and if you got the chance to know him at any point you'd agree who could not like him he had a odd personality but you just didn't care he was Rodney "Whats happenin?" He should have made millions coining that phrase. Im glad he got a star on the walk of fame he deserved it. I am also glad i got to know him back in the day, in the 70s. I say Long live Rodney! Thanks Rodney for making those days more fun for us.
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Saddened by direction
marygreen2520 April 2004
Hello Rodney, You're the greatest. I love your contribution to the world. You and others like you were playing the best music in the early 80s. It was a great time. I'll bet many from different rock periods say the same thing about you.

Mary

Now for my take on the movie: I guess the theme is about fame and how it does not necessarily come with monetary riches. That is a powerful point. The only thing is I wish that there was less emphasis on Rodney's personal life and more about his love of rock.

Rodney has remained pure to his love of new music and exposing us to all

kinds of new rockers. Along the way, he mingled with the rich and famous,

never benefitting from their success. He met some crafty folk like Kim Fowley. Wow, now he's something. In the end though, the interviews with some of the

so-called friends of Rodney should have been cut. Their candid self-promoting callousness made me depressed. "Thin is in," Rodney says to the camera next

to a woman who later admits that she is not Rodney's gal, but just his friend. Why did that have to be included?

Rodney probably has a great deal of valuable bootleg recordings or rare LPs

and 45s that many of us love and love to hear about.

More about the music and less about the sad facts in Rodney's life please. Can someone redo the movie?
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Eleanor Rigby
valis194914 August 2011
THE MAYOR OF SUNSET STREET (dir.George Hickenlooper) provides a provocative and in depth analysis of Rodney Bingenheimer, one of the most influential pop-music media figures of the last 40 years, yet for all of his power and influence, the man seems lonely, adrift, and somewhat shattered. Hickenlooper overwhelmingly makes the case that Rodney was at the very epicenter of what was 'hip' for many decades. However, by the end of the film, one wonders how such close access to wealth, celebrity, and mass adulation would gain Rodney so very little. It is both sad and ironic that a man who's impeccable taste brought joy to millions of music fans would end up in such a melancholy situation. THE MAYOR OF SUNSET STREET is a strikingly original portrait of a rather doleful individual.
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8/10
Call him the Rodney Dangerfield of rock 'n'roll: legendary DJ Rodney Bingenheimer just can't get no respect
wonderdawg28 October 2009
Back in 1965 Rodney Bingenheimer was hired as a stand-in for Davy Jones on The Monkees TV show and soon ingratiated himself into the hip inner circles of LA showbiz. In a world filled with phonies Rodney was the real deal: the ultimate fan, a geeky unassuming little guy reflecting the stars back at themselves the way they wanted to be seen. In return they gave him a form of love and acceptance he had never received as a youngster growing up lonely in a sleepy little California town.

Now in his late 50s Rodney is still living his life like a rock and roll song only now it's playing on the B-side of the American Dream. Unlike Dick Clark it never occurred to him to use his insider status to build up his bankroll. Cut back to Sundays from midnight – 3am on L.A.'s KROQ-FM (where he has hosted a weekly show since the 70s) he lives in a small apartment overflowing with souvenirs from his glory days. There are photos of Rodney in the 60s with Elvis, Andy Warhol, Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon; Led Zep and the Who hanging out at his rock club, Rodney's English Disco, the epicenter of the early 70s Sunset Strip "scene"; Rodney on the air (he was the first to play records by Blondie, Ramones, Sex Pistols and Nirvana, among others, practically inventing alternative rock radio in the process.)

Soundbites from David Bowie; Cher; Joan Jett; Brooke Shields, Gwen Stefani; Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek; Johnny Marr of the Smiths and Chris Martin of Coldplay testify to his widespread popularity within the industry.

In his hometown, however, Rodney still can't get any respect. His father and stepmom are clearly baffled by his success and a boyhood acquaintance wonders aloud why "celebrities glom onto this guy that around here people just made fun of."

Writer/director George Hickenlooper (Hearts of Darkness: A Film-Maker's Apocalypse) is more interested in emotional truth than technical polish. He's got a sharp eye for "one-shot-is-worth-a-thousand-words" imagery (the scene in which Rodney walks past a wall of gold records and into a grubby little kitchen littered with empty pop bottles speaks volumes about the rock and roll fantasy he has spent his whole life pursuing and the humbling reality of the consequences.)

I also like the way the film contrasts the innocence of Rodney's fanboy obsession with the reptilian charm of Kim Fowley, a fabled LA music biz hustler with so many hidden agendas he could run for political office. (Call him the anti-Rodney.)

This film aims to be more than just a feature length version of one of those Behind The Music documentaries. Hickenlooper wants to use Rodney's curious "career" to get at some larger truth about our celebrity-obsessed society. And if he isn't completely successful, well, Mayor of Sunset Strip still works as an intriguingly intimate and deeply poignant portrait of the most famous person you may have never heard of.
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8/10
When the party is over whats left?
ka8ddz17 August 2005
I really enjoyed the Mayor of Sunset Strip, although for me it was more self help than a documentary, reminding me of how much there is in the world to see and accomplish in our short stay on the planet.

This is the story of Rodney Bingenheimer a KROQ DJ who spends his entire life chasing celebrity, being a part of the in crowd, and hanging out with the who's who of rock and roll.

The history of the bands, their stories, and their lives are interesting to most people and this movie certainly has that. Many documentaries of this genre show the high life and the drama leaving you feeling like you wish you could have been a part of it. In this movie you're left feeling happy you left it all behind in your teenage scrapbook, grew up, and have a career.

Watching Rodney ride the coat tails of fame in the music industry left me feeling empty and pity. During an interview with Cher, not unlike some of the others, you see Rodney almost coaching her through the conversation having to remind her of things they once did or said, events and conversation she has clearly long forgotten or wasn't sure ever happened in the first place. This facade of a life is brought to a head when Rodney proposes to that special girl in his life.

For someone who makes his living behind a microphone Rodney appears boring, and lifeless in many scenes. His conversational skills are are childlike, without substance, and revolve around meeting a celebrity. Rodneys friend Kim Fowley who handed him the reins of Mayor takes a much more aggressive response to his own history but in similarity leaves you feeling like neither of them would have anything to talk about if it weren't for the celebrities they have met.

What I saw was man who never found himself but rather lived vicariously through others and ends up with a shell of a life spent remembering when, while everyone else moved on. I never felt like I got to know Rodney from this movie, never seeming to have an opinion of his own but rather following the Hollywood standard of whomever is in the limelight at the time is great and creative and genius, and how cool it is that I've been photographed with them. It made me feel sad that someone could place so much importance and in essence build a life on such trivial things like an autographed record or a brief meaningless conversation with celebrity.

In closing, I think this movie offers a unique perspective on the life of DJ Rodney Bingenheimer and it was very interesting to watch.
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8/10
Sadness and the culture of celebrity
Raleigh_St_Clair9 August 2004
This was an excellent movie that shows that the happiness of that comes with a celebrity life-style is a very thin veneer covering something empty and sad. Rodney Bingenheimer is an LA disc jockey who has introduced many major musical acts over the last 25 years, including David Bowie, The Ramones, Coldplay and more. His 'friends' include Bowie, Cher, Nancy Sinatra, Debbie Harry (Blondie), and a multitude of other celebrities.

What begins as an amazing story of essentially a street kid who became a famous disc jockey, quickly becomes a sad story of a man who has given a lot more to an industry and to people than he has gotten back.

This is a great film. The movie makers did a great job in getting the feelings of the people across and shows Rodney's very sad, almost upsetting existence. The movie does have a lot of funny moments. Great movie – go see it!!!
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vile
marymorrissey23 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
spoilers this film had a really annoyingly fatuous quality as it smugly attempted to portray RB as a tragic figure because he ain't rich, and has no offspring or real estate. a particularly disgusting moment comes towards the conclusion when the filmmaker asks Rodney "well will this film have a happy or sad ending? it's up to you!" as if anything let's face it not terribly articulate RB could say could possibly compensate for this reductive, extremely condescending hatchet job borne of the choices made by the director. a nauseating example of "documentary"!
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7/10
Frenzy of the Renown
moonspinner5519 April 2011
Curiously (and yet thoughtfully) detached portrait of longtime KROQ disc jockey Rodney Bingenheimer, a California kid of the suburbs in the 1950s--a child of divorce by the age of three and a target for all the bullies on the block--who discovered the heavenly haven which was Los Angeles in the 1960s and insinuated himself into celebrity circles. Doubling for Davy Jones on an episode of TV's "The Monkees", Bingenheimer's Hollywood cache steadily grew until he was practically discovering all the latest and greatest talents to hit Tinsel Town. This visually and aurally dynamic documentary from writer-director George Hickenlooper exists in a quirky sort of vacuum, focusing totally and completely on Rodney's celebrity conquests while ignoring the tumult which was California in the politically strife-ridden 1960s. Bingenheimer returns to the spot where he had once opened a celebrated discotheque in the '70s, attended by the glitterati of show business, before disco music itself killed off the glitter and glam; still employed by radio station KROQ, Rodney (rather listlessly) goes with the flow of the program managers, not relevant to the times but still commanding respect with classic artists. It's a surprisingly downbeat personal portrait of a man who has spent his entire adult life surrounded by legends (many of whom are interviewed), yet who has very few close friends. The film doesn't have the expected snarl and bite, except for one scary moment when Bingenheimer believes friend and fledgling DJ Chris Carter has just stabbed him in the back (Rodney suddenly comes out of his celebrity-induced stupor and yells at the camera, "F**k you!"). Instead, "Mayor" is mostly a ghostly sojourn to past glories, with all hallowed roads leading backward turning up as bittersweet dead-ends. *** from ****
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restore your rock star worship
sheri142 October 2003
I was lucky enough to see the press screening of this documentary. You could tell Rodney had a lot to do with the music and this plays out like the greatest hits (good and bad) of his life. You get to see all these famous people letting their guard down (and LOTS of saucy talk) with Rodney and doing so because he's such a cool guy, completely dedicated to the music and being a fan even if he missed out on other things. This perfectly said when he gives his stepsister he hasn't seen in years an autograph. I forget who it was now though because there were a million names and faces all worth dropping. Long live the English Disco, Hiiiyaaah Ninja! You gotta see it to get that one.
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2/10
I've had more fun watching flies have sex
jake_fantom12 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
If you enjoy spending time in the company of has-beens, wanna-be's, and self-absorbed C-list "celebrities," you're going to love this cheesily-produced, amateurishly directed, sloppily edited mess of a documentary focused on the delusions of a pitiable LA disc jockey, who would have profited more from a stay in an institution than from being profiled by this crew of talentless exploiters. If you can make it past the first five minutes (a feat that should be rewarded with a big-money prize), you're in for a real treat — about 90 more minutes of the same meandering, pointless drivel. What you see is what you get. There is no story arc, nothing to be learned, no surprises — just endless footage of this sad little man in a silly haircut and the monstrous fame- driven ciphers he has surrounded himself with. Two stars only for confirming that LA, Hollywood, and the celebrity racket in general are the most pathetic life-sucking ratholes yet devised by humankind. To paraphrase the late, great Sonny Liston, I'd rather be a lamppost in Baltimore than the Mayor of the Sunset Strip.
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