Sunday, April 14, 2013

In Your Dreams, reviewed: In the Nicks of it

The week ahead for "In Your Dreams"
Fans who have seen this film across the U.S. absolutely loved it!... I think if you've been along for the ride from the inception of this album (and film) like many of us feel we have been, you'll get it... Obviously as an 'outsider' looking in, Mr. Bidini will have a different take on this film and situation, which is not a career spanning document but one of an experience of two seemingly different people, yet very similar in a lot of ways coming together and trying to capture the magic that occurred over that year (2010) of recording Stevie's "In Your Dreams".  But it is interesting seeing another perspective.

by Dave Bidini

A documentary that follows Stevie Nicks as she begins writing and recording her first solo album in nearly a decade.

“And herewith be the tale of the bescarfed nymphette spritzed with the gay mist of ladyhood traipsing about her earthen wares and sacred beads while cast in the glow of an everlasting aurora” is how any review about anything regarding Stevie Nicks should probably start. And yet the film, In Your Dreams, about the Fleetwood Mac sirenette, begins, regrettably, without much of her medieval-by-way-of-Topanga hoodoo or late ’70s Angelino imagery choosing, instead, to put us on a jet — a private jet, Nicks’s jet — before lapsing into footage of fans outside some indeterminate concert bowl in some indeterminate American city espousing life-changing testimony bout the bigness of Nicks’s songs as they relate to their lives. After too much of this, the plane lands. A limo. More fans telling the camera (and, ostensibly, telling Nicks): “I love you.” Then Nicks being made up backstage. Nicks shaking her bracelets. There’s the dull roar of the crowd, some lights, and: go. Lips struggling to push a food cart into his old highschool cafeteria in the opening moments of Anvil: The Story of Anvil this is not.

Movies about rock ’n’ roll — its scent, its pulp, its shattering emotional properties — are inherently disappointing because they’re not rock ’n’ roll, although In Your Dreams is disappointing because it’s not even really a movie. Instead, it’s a vanity postcard co-directed and co-produced by the film’s two principles, Nicks and Dave Stewart of The Tourists/Eurythmics, who are to cinematic objectivity what Stewart was to the ’80s neckbeard: ill-suited and gaudy. Because Stewart and Nicks are new filmmakers — and because everyone these days is a pocket Buñuel with their digital apparatii — the movie plays as if demanding visual Ritalin: colour becoming black and white becoming bordered with Kodak film stock becoming archival footage becoming video before eventually blurring into a kind of artless everything. Within the first few minutes, Stewart and Nicks are seen talking about the genesis of their working relationship — they have gathered to make her first record in 10 years — which amounts to each of them, by turns, telling the other how great they are. It’s like an SCTV sketch only no one gets blown up.

The concept of the film is all right — it’s essentially a making-of doc that hiccups between tiresome music videos of the songs — yet it’s a wonder that neither of the musicians/filmmakers’ watched VH1’s Classic Albums instalment on Fleetwood Mac’s seminal Rumours, a fine 60 minutes that reveals more about Nicks and her life than anything here. That said, it’s easy to imagine them deciding that they could do better, the massivity of their ego being what it is. Long and terrible passages in the film are spent while Nicks lounges on a settee worrying over lyrics, which are also long and terrible. While watching people write is rarely effective cinema (“Let’s face the music and dance” is a great lyric, but I doubt the scribbling down of its words would make a good film), the only thing less gripping is watching people track boring albums, which Nicks and her band do throughout In Your Dreams. In these scenes, Stewart directs himself pitching advice while wearing his fedora and sunglasses, which he never takes off. The truth is that, after a few weeks in the studio, one is rarely in good enough shape to get dressed, let alone dress well. Being in the studio is like being shipwrecked: oxygen-deprived and starving for normalcy and a decent meal. There’s nothing here that comes close to reflecting this experience. In the end, this film, like the sessions that produced Nicks’ album, reeks of catering.

Visit for more information.

A Stevie Nicks documentary by Stevie Nicks
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
by Brad Wheeler

Billed as an “intimate portrait of one of rock’s most enduring and legendary artists,” In Your Dreams, a documentary on the making of Stevie Nicks’s 2011 album of the same name, runs the risk of being too intimate for its own good. Musician Dave Stewart, who co-produced the album, shared directorial credit on the film with the singer herself. We spoke with him about a documentary being too close to its subject.

Stevie Nicks was involved in the editing of the documentary. Without someone independent doing it, doesn’t In Your Dreams end up being a fans-only film?

I suppose. My favourite music documentary is D.A. Pennebaker’s Dont Look Back, on Bob Dylan. But that kind of film would have never been made with Stevie. She never would have allowed an independent filmmaker to film her making a record. She wouldn’t have felt comfortable writing and recording with a camera filming. This came about naturally. A lot of it in the beginning was filmed on a cell phone.

I cringed watching her visit with soldiers in the hospital. Isn’t that a bit self-serving on her part?

Maybe. But it’s something she’s been doing for quite a while, that kind of charitable endeavour. It’s something she wanted to put in. She felt very seriously about the song Soldier’s Angel. The film could have had many different narratives. But once she got involved in the editing and really put herself into it, it meant that it wasn’t going to be the movie I would have exactly made.

At the end, she describes the experience of making the album as the best year of her life. You were there. Why do you think she felt so strongly about it?

I think there was a realization that happened to her – that the album was a collaboration, and that it was possible. She’d been closed in and locked in, if you know what I mean, and then the whole world opened up for her. I’m sure she could spend a lot of time in her house on her own, or with the people she normally works with, and not realize that there’s a world out there to play with.

In Your Dreams screens April 16 to 18 (special screenings on April 15 with Nicks Q&A sessions are sold out). TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 416-599-8433.

In Your Dreams runs from April 16-18 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, with further screenings across Canada listed below.

Stevie Nicks appears LIVE for a Q&A session after both screenings in Toronto on April 15th.

Toronto, ON TIFF 7pm Apr 15 SOLD OUT
Toronto, ON TIFF 7:30pm Apr 15 SOLD OUT
Toronto, ON TIFF  Apr 16 Tickets
Toronto, ON TIFF  Apr 17 Tickets
Toronto, ON TIFF  Apr 18 Tickets
Ottawa, ON Mayfair Theatre Apr 19 Box Office
Ottawa, ON Mayfair Theatre Apr 20 Box Office
Winnipeg, MB Cinematheque May 2 Tickets
Winnipeg, MB Cinematheque May 3 Tickets
Winnipeg, MB Cinematheque May 5 Tickets
Saskatoon, SK Broadway Theatre May 13 TBA
Edmonton, AB Metro Cinema May 14 TBA
Calgary, AB Globe Cinema May 16 TBA
Vancouver, BC Vancity Theatre May 16 TBA
Montreal, QC Cinema Du Parc June 14 Tickets
Montreal, QC Cinema Du Parc June 15 Tickets
Montreal, QC Cinema Du Parc June 16 Tickets
Montreal, QC Cinema Du Parc June 17 Tickets


Anonymous said...

Wow, they blasted this movie. Since I have yet to see it, there would be no use in commenting on its contents. However, I can say that I will still watch it. I will watch it, not because I believe its a masterpiece, but because I want to see her surroundings. I like looking around the subject and focusing on the small, unhidden details. Does she surround herself with real flowers, or silk? Does she wear make-up constantly? Does she think before writing or, write as it comes to her? I never expected this to be an epic film. I only expect to see Stevie's life, as she and Stewart see it. I will buy it for that reason.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to see the film - but I know what it is - and what it is not.

It is a film about putting one album together from the ground up. It is not - and is not intended to be - a documentary on Her career as a life-spanning body of work.

I give the reviewer 1/2 star for missing this very important point. To say the Fleetwood Mac documentary in an hour provides more facts and info about Nicks than In Your Dreams is true (probably) - but that's the intent of the FM documentary.

The point if In Your Dreams was just to capture the making of the record - and I doubt Stevie could have ever invisioned it being released - let alone playing on the big screen.

Mr. Reviewer - do your research so you don' t miss the point of the next movie you review.

You sound foolish and your credibilty is non-existant if you can't grasp the point and rate a mivie on how well it delivers its intent.

I'm not one if Stevie's flying monkeys - so don't bash me because you think I am personally offended at the poor review. I'm only saying the reviewer did not do his homework and understand what he was suppised to review.

His comments nake him look idiotic in my eyes because he missed the intent if what In Your Dreams means to convey.

greg said...

Look at it this way. Let's say both you and I had the most amazing year of our lives last year. It just so happens we both recorded many of the events throughout the 12 month period. Then we decide to take it a step further...let's splice all the experiences together into 90 minutes and not only decide to call it a film, but try to release nationally. What do you think the general consensus would be?

"In Your Dreams" begs the question 'So what?' to anyone who is not a fan. I'm a Stevie fan and I would be lying if I didn't say I was asking the same question half way through the film. This "film" has no message other than we're all supposed to be happy Stevie had the year of her life (which she's now apparently over already) because she recorded an album after 10 years of creating practically nothing. The album itself had moderate sales and received no nods from the Grammys or any other major music organization.

As fans defending the film, many of you are just confirming what most of the critics are's a film for fans. The only inaccuracy about that statement is that not all fans were as enamored as we had hoped to be.

Anonymous said...

I would be considered a Stevie FANatic. If you are a real fan, the film is wonderful. It does what it is supposed to. I also think this album of hers is so beautiful and enjoyable to listen to I can't find words. I just love it. She shows through the film how she created each song and what they mean. Her personality comes through loud and clear and those parts were my favorite. She was adorable throughout. So, I think we mostly agree this film is meant to give fans insight to her and her masterpiece, and it absolutely does. There is no reason for negativity for this film. She never set out to make another Gone With The Wind but what she did set out to do she did perfectly.

Kay76 said...

"If you are a real fan, the film is wonderful"

A real fan... So anyone who doesn't enjoy 'In Your Dreams' the album or film, isn't a real fan?


Anonymous said...

I'd love to bend that reviewer over and give him a hard spanking... but that thought just made me vomit...

Anonymous said...

The writer of the first review is under the age of 30, which is clearly evidenced by his lack of journalistic restraint and his persistent use of Google-abusing obscure references. This is a writer who cut his teeth writing for snarky blogs with no purpose other than to demean and abase the subject matter with an onslaught of faux-intellectual references and pseudo-gravitas. The reviewer knows nothing about Stevie Nicks, let alone the process of composing and producing music. And given his complete ignorance of the subject matter and his not-funny-or-clever, I choose to flush his toxic, worthless review into the toilet. It's sh**.

Ellen67 said...


Or, maybe he just thought it was a big deal about a little known record that didn't sell well or have any mass appeal?

I liked In Your Dreams to some extent, but I don't see any reason why this film exists. It has zero point or purpose and will only ever appeal to the few thousand die-hards that still attend garbage like NOTS.

It would have been more sensible to just put it on DVD and sell it than put it in cinemas. It's going to be of no interest to the general population and will never get any reaction other than "what's the point?" from anyone not in the Stevie loop. It has nothing to offer even a casual fan. But of course the chiffon gang will never admit that. It's just Flying Monkeys attack!

Anonymous said...

Look, it's business. More specifically, it's a tax write off. She's on the huge Mac tour, and next years income tax can now show red ink for the roughly $130,000 gross, verses the (deductable as cost of doing business) limo rides to the screenings, any advertising dollars spent, the cost of however the film was sent to theaters, perhaps fedexed, all deductable. Then, there's the cost of editing, the producing and distributing the film and any public relations agent used to get all of the extensive media coverage for the documentary.

It's likely that it will be easy for SN's accountants to deduct more than a million dollar in losses for the documentary, perhaps double that, which will allow her to keep much, much more of the Fleetwood Mac tour money- showing a loss along with the tour windfall will only help her.

The documentary also isn't horrible promotion for the tour, and it is keeping her name in the press, but I think the reason it wasn't long ago on DVD was so that she could maximize her tour earnings. A dvd release I think will come long after the tour is finished, but who knows, maybe in time for the holiday season, which is the best chance Nicks has of any cd or dvd selling well, anyway. People forget, fans forget, that Reprise wanted 'IYD' the cd to be released for holiday season 2010, Nicks refused, saying she didn't want it to be a cd in time for Christmas, and she wanted to tweak it more, though all but 'Soldier's Angel' was recorded. Without it, there still was plenty of material for a cd and the label wanted it THEN- she made a big mistake. politically, as far as label etiquette goes, when she told Reprise 'no' regarding the holiday release, as if she had better judgement than they did. The label knew the holiday sales would help and was enthusiastic about the product. I think Reprise knew they were kissing goodvye a couple of hundred thousand units that would have sold as 'stocking stuffers' on amazon and at retail. So, Reprise, by the following May, knew that a large chunk of sales had been lost due to Nicks refusing, and "I'' think that's why the label didn't help SN during her 2 tours opening for Rod Stewart and 2 solo tours. You ''don't'' tell a label 'no' and then get help. She didn't play the game correctly, so Reprise said 'you're on your own'.

Just thoughts.

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