Highly Suspect Reviews: Amy | One of Us

Highly Suspect Reviews: Amy

13 Submitted by on Fri, 10 July 2015, 14:59

Amy Winehouse. A public figure met with enormous amounts of both mockery and adulation. It was hard to deny her incredible talent but equally impossible to deny that she was a woman of deep-rooted problems that led to her untimely death at the age of 27. Now, this new documentary explores her in a way that many critics are calling extraordinary…including our critics. Johnny Neill, Joe, Diva and introducing, Lynn.


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Born in the wilds of northern Virginia, in 1992 Chris managed to put all of his survival skills to use and barely escaped with his life to Austin Texas, where ever since he’s dabbled in everything from plumber’s assistant to sandwich maker, from band to bar management. An opportunity to see theatrical release films for free, by becoming a critic on a local public access show called “The Reel Deal”, turned into a full time job when Chris and his friends decided to take it to the internet. They built the site Spill.com, adding multiple podcasts and animated features, to no small amount of success. During this time, a fortuitous friendship sprung up between Chris and young Brian Salisbury, who was also a local film critic, and they merged their forces of will, and their laundry list of ideas for shows, to eventually build this paradise you see before you.

  • Joe Balant

    I think you uploaded a coruped file beacuse it will not load on this or Itunes

  • Chris Cox

    Yup, that’s what happened. It has been fixed.

  • Silverfisk

    great review! Would love to hear more about your personal experienceses with addiction some time.

    • Johnny Neill

      I will assume you are meaning me specifically? I am an open book if you have any questions about me, but if you wish to ask some questions about yourself or someone you care about, and would like to be discreet – beyond your Silverfisk handle – shoot me a message on my Facebook page. I don’t have an exceptional story, as most addicts don’t either, including Amy Winehouse. It’s something that got away with me and when it became No Fun and a burden, and I realized that even though I wasn’t enjoying it at all, and I wished about 350 pounds and got winded carrying on a conversation and STILL couldn’t quit by myself, I reached out to someone for help. Fortunately, I knew someone – Rev Leo Booth (google him, he’s a brilliant and selfless serenity and sobriety guru in Malibu home I met through Unity Church of the Hills in Austin while he was on a speaking engagement) – and he recommended, and arranged for, a stay at The Ranch, a facility in Tennessee. I read an article about Dwarves once in Esquire – featuring Pre Huge Fame Peter Dinklage – and how they have a convention every year with speakers dealing with the medical problems side and other issues that syndrome come chock full of – and how afraid so many people were to attend the first time. They were afraid of seeing so many people who they would see the way they imagined other people seeing them, among other anxieties. That was rehab. Detox for three days, where you just basically sleep off the it’s with valium and starches, then intense therapy. Not, I’m OK, You’re OK therapy, but tough love therapy where I was called out on al my lies, jokes, and other dodges and deflections. But the hardest part was letting go of my ego about it all. The whole, I’m addicted to vicodin and vodka, but at least I’m not that 22 year old over there that shoots up oxycontin into the back of his hand twice a day, or that bulimic girl that has cut marks all up and down her arms. Then when it got near the end of my time, my 28 days, I was so afraid to leave. It is all a very infantilizing process, and leaving it and being afraid I would start drinking again loomed hairy. Part of the reason I encouraged my wife to take the assignment in India was because I thought it would be some kind of George Harrison Ashram experience (some of it was, but most of it was camping above an open sewer), because i didn’t want to fall into my habits again.

      • Johnny Neill

        And yes, I did slip! After about eight months i thought, I got this licked! i can go in moderation! I do yoga! But it doesn’t work that way. When it has advanced to problematic, there is no moderation. When I had forgotten that I heard my niece had her baby – I asked “When is that baby going to be here?” and my family looked at me like I was an alien, because the baby was two weeks old and we had celebrated his birth already – that was when i really embraced sobriety as a life choice and not just a ticking clock I was stressing myself out over. It’s really weird. When Amy Winehouse said “It’s all so boring without drugs,” she was stating the same thing a person feels when they have any bad break-up, What’s the downside of sobriety/divorce/dieting? Missing all of the things you liked about it. I got back to the states about six months later, and went to an AA meeting and “confessed” that I had slipped for six months. Everyone laughed at me for feeling like I was in a room of people who never slipped before. So, eight years sober now. I don’t have any desire to “pick up” again, but I still don’t feel like there is a ghost in every room, waiting to whisper a lie into my ear.

  • Jean-François Martel

    speaking of musical documentaries have you guy had the opportunity to watch Netflix’s What Happened, Miss Simone?

    • Johnny Neill

      Planning on it later this week. i want to block out the time, even though it is home viewing. You know what I mean?

      • Jean-François Martel

        i get it yeah.

  • VintageSnarker

    Thank you for throwing in the encouragement to see the movie in a theater for the sound quality. I just checked and there happens to be a place near me showing it. Even just hearing this review got to me. I’m planning on bringing tissues because I know I’m going to need them.

  • Preston

    In all seriousness, I have no idea who this person was–never heard of her…no bullshit. I would have been in my late 20’s/early 30’s when she was at the top of her fame and then, subsequently, died. Nonetheless, this review, which is very honest and heart felt, makes me want to look into her story.

    Also, I think it’s cool that you guys opened up a little during the course of the review. I’m not trying to get to know any of you, but a few humble comments were made that spoke volumes.

    • Johnny Neill

      Everything happened pretty fast, relatively speaking, and I don’t keep up with “radio music,” but she was pretty giant on delivery. She was a jazz singer who looked like a roller derby girl ( a completely adorable roller derby girl) and had but one chart topper in the US that I know of, but she had a pained sincerity that came through even in the top 40. Now and then someone makes it big on the pop scales without compromising his or her vision and craft, and she was definitely one of those. She could easily have been written off as a blues wannabe, but she was jazz (as was Billie Holliday), but that kind of jazz that used to be the standard listening fare. I found her very easy to love, as an artist and a human being, not as some rescue project. People who have substance addictions usually aren’t really aware that they have them; it is a very complicated relationship between the user and the fix. I hope that if one person sees this and sees a little of themselves in it they ask someone for help. All that said, I am so glad the movie wasn’t a Public Service Announcement after school special. – And man, I would have loved to hear her sing with Ray Charles.

      • Preston

        So I checked out some of her music, and–wow. Amazing. What a special talent. I find it really sad that she didn’t receive the help she needed. And I totally agree that if one person sees this and it does them good, then appoint the documentary a success.

  • Travis Pickle

    This, like Senna just tells the story and never sensationalises or manipulates. i thought i’d be a snivelling wreck going by the trailer and although it’s a roller coaster of emotions the highs of her performing had me buzzing so much! it takes some time to recover after it’s just so sad but listening and especially seeing the lyrics on screen while hearing the incredible songs (a lot of early stuff I’ve never heard) loud in the theatre was so worth it even if the image quality is all over the place. Watching her unable to escape the cycle of self destructive habits and bad company and knowing the terrible outcome is tough to watch but for her pure talent and incredible music i can’t see Amy being bettered this year by another documentary – 9/10