Movie Review

Film Review: ALWAYS WOODSTOCK (2014): Wholesome & Cliched Entertainment

Ryan Guzman Always Woodstock

Always Woodstock (2014) Film Review, a movie directed by Rita Merson, and starring Katey Sagal, Brittany Snow, Ryan Guzman, Rumer Willis, Allison Miller, Richard Riehle, James Wolk, Alexie Gilmore, Anna Anissimova, Sean McNabb, Richard Reid, Finesse Mitchell, Jim Klock, and Kate Lacey.

Always Woodstock is delightful, upbeat, happy, and I would even add wholesome. (Not religious wholesome, or granola bar organic underwear wholesome – more like big city life in 2014 wholesome). This film also comes with a nice dose of cuteness thrown in – and in this case it works.

Catherine works in the music industry’s administrative side, but really she wants to sing and write. It’s in her blood, her parents were successful singer/songwriters, but unfortunately they passed away when she was very young. Catherine carries around cherished memories of her parents, and while she never states it, in her own way, she wants the creative life her parents had, and she wants to carry on their legacy. A legacy that’s built on ‘music is good for the soul’ and ‘stay true to who you are’ values. Which surprise, is in direct contrast, to the music industry’s sell-out to the highest bidder approach, that Catherine is apart of.

As it turns out, Catherine hits some bumps in the road and makes some life decisions. And guess what? She still owns the family home in Woodstock. So now the journey begins; and just like we’ve come to expect of all young, attractive, single girls — she makes friends in Woodstock. Conveniently, Woodstock provides all the warmth and contentment required to become a singer/songwriter. It’s as easy as making apple pie. Which reminds me – how does Catherine pay her bills? Most struggling singer/songwriters wait on tables, don’t they? Anyway, as nice as apple pie as Woodstock is, Catherine does step on a few toes and even retreats and makes a mad dash back to the big city. But damn it if she doesn’t return and crank out a demo tape. That’s how it works, just ask any struggling artist.

Is there depth to the characters? Not really. Is this film going to ignite a fire under all those singer/songwriters sitting on the sidelines? Doubt it. Is the sound track awesome and worthy of a couple of downloads? I don’t think so.

Artistic pursuits, friendship, love, and life lessons are all experienced in Always Woodstock. Allison Miller as Catherine is adorable. She kicks in the cute factor and plays her role perfectly. She’s well supported by: James Wolk who becomes Catherine’s love interest and by the way, he has the best line in the film – but you have to wait till the very end. Katy Segal is just ok, but in fairness the role doesn’t really give her much to sink her teeth into. Jason Ritter is enjoyable as the empty headed fiancé, and Rumer Willis gets her feet wet in her role.

Always Woodstock has some nice comedic moments, peppered with musical interludes, and an undercurrent of romance. So what’s not to like? Nothing per se, but watching this film is like tuning into the ‘easy listening’ station on your radio. Sometimes that’s all you want.

And guys, are you wondering if this a chick-flick, and asking if you should stay home? I’d say that it’s a definite step in the chick-flick direction – but one you’ll enjoy and your significant female will be happy you picked it.

Rating: 6/10

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About the author

Thomas Jenkins

For Thomas, a perfect day is getting up at the crack of dawn, going for a long run and then spending the rest of the day watching films or reading about film.

Thomas holds an M.A in Independent Film from Staffordshire University.

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