Bittersweet Motel


Bittersweet Motel Review

Much as all the cheerleaders wrote to tell me how horrible I was for not liking Bring It On, I am prepared for the onslaught of Phish fans telling me how naïve I am for not falling in love with Bittersweet Motel, a documentary about Phish's music and, presumably, its soul.

A spare 82-minute flick about the unimaginably popular band, this folkumentary is long on concert footage and short on any real insight into the group. There are plenty of songs about pumpkins, circuses, and big black furry creatures from Mars, but the offstage footage is typically composed of de rigueur diatribes about critics, heartfelt discussions about "the energy, man" and the typical shenanigans expected of any touring musical group (that is: late nights fueled by drugs).

Is there any insight into Phish provided? Not really. The fans can't explain their love for the "higher level of musical appreciation" Phish exudes, and the band can't explain why it was chosen to follow in the footsteps of the Grateful Dead. In candid moments, the band even comes off as rude and juvenile, so flippant toward the fans that made it the huge success it is that the roadies conspire to cut off their heads whenever someone is gauche enough to ask for a photo of themselves with the group. It's just plain rude, and it makes you like the band (and the movie) less and less.

The film is capably made, with fluid concert footage and three audio differently-mastered tracks to choose from on the DVD. Phish fans (and let's face it: if you're watching this movie, you're a Phish fan) will also enjoy the 35 minutes of outtakes provided on the disk as bonus material.

Light up and drop out, folks. But you'll be hungry in about an hour.

Bitter and hollow.

Bittersweet Motel

Facts and Figures

Run time: 82 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 5th July 2001

Production compaines: Aviva Entertainment

Reviews 2 / 5

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew



Starring: as Trey Anastasio, as Jon Fishman, as Page McConnell, as Mike Gordon

Also starring: