Thursday, September 19, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—An Affair of the Heart (2012) **½

NR, 93 min.
Director: Sylvia Caminer
Featuring: Rick Springfield, Sue DeVita, JoAnn Camporeale, Jill Antipas, Steve Antipas, Laurie Bennett, Rev. Kate Dennis, Linda Blair, Corey Feldman

No, I am not a huge Rick Springfield fan or anything, but he was big stuff when I was just coming into my music awareness. I mean, really, “Jesse’s Girl” is probably one of the greatest pop rock songs ever written. So, when I saw this documentary about Springfield’s legions of fans floating around on Netflix, I was intrigued. It seems the fan appreciation documentaries are becoming all the rage for aging rock stars of late.

Suffice it to say, for those of you who aren’t fans, Rick Springfield is not dead. He’s still touring around, and making new music even. He’s heavier than you might remember, but not so much that his core fans aren’t who you’d expect them to be—grown women who were preteens in the early eighties. The man was very good looking and wrote popular power rock ballads. He’s still good looking, I suppose, for his age, but he ain’t no spring chicken. According to this documentary, he was kind of jerk to his fans at the height of his popularity, when he was pretty young and found himself thrown into a world of super stardom. The movie states this in passing, but doesn’t dwell on it, which is kind of too bad. I suppose Springfield’s cooperation might not have been so forthcoming had it really delved into that aspect of his career.

Whatever his youthful mistakes, he certainly appreciates his fans today. The movie follows Springfield and seven of his greatest fans as they revel in everything Springfield. It’s interesting seeing how this former superstar spends his time in current middling success. He seems happy with what he is now. His fans are even happier with what he is now. Two women in particular spend great amounts of time away from their husbands and family to go to ridiculous amounts of his concerts.

The movie is a little too nice to be really interesting aside from reliving the Springfield catalogue. But it does get more interesting near the end when we learn of some pretty interesting coincidences Springfield shares with one fan. It takes a look at the husbands of those two women who follow Springfield around so much, and one of the husbands obviously has some issues with the arrangement. And there’s a kid who joined him on stage as a very little boy, who has grown up into a musician himself and joins Springfield on stage once again at a concert.

The movie takes a soft approach to the musician, who obviously has had a tumultuous career. I would’ve liked to know a lot more, or anything, about the ten years during which Springfield left the music industry all together. The movie is kind enough to mention this fact right at the beginning, but never examines any of the details of this departure or what ultimately brought him back from retirement. Also, there are some fellow celebrities that had early success before they disappeared into obscurity who offer some opinions on Springfield, but no real connections are ever drawn between their experiences and his. I don’t know why we’re supposed to care what Corey Feldman and Linda Blair think of Springfield and the things he’s doing today. That being said, “An Affair of the Heart” is an interesting look at celebrity obsession, especially considering the fact that the rest of the world lost its obsession with this particular celebrity long ago.

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