Taking Woodstock

Taking Woodstock

(Ang Lee, 2009)


A man working at his parents’ motel in the Catskills inadvertently sets in motion the generation-defining concert in the summer of 1969.

First of all, we gotta talk about the fact that so many people in movies suck at running motels.  The motels are depressing, awful places, and the owners are usually sad people, or totally psycho, (like in the movie Psycho).  These people never seem to be happy to be running these motels.  How the heck did they start out?


Luckily, for these old crotchety assholes they have their entrepreneurial son, Elliot, played by Demetri Martin.  He is a painter and designer, who lives in New York, and goes back to the Catskills to figure out how to help his parents and the small town.  His parents are pretty awful.  As the movie progresses his parents seem to chill out and enjoy themselves.  They are definitely happy for the business and money that comes in.

mom and dad

They may be happy, but the townspeople are not all feeling the same.  Some are happy that the festival is coming to town.  They are happy for the business that will help to revive the town and put some much-needed money in their pockets.  Some are not happy that a ton of hippies will be invading their little town.  One of these unhappy people is Dan, who is played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, (who looks a lot like Javier Bardem, like A LOT!!).  His brother, Billy, who is played by Emile Hirsch, is back from the Vietnam war and is suffering from PTSD.  He has flashbacks throughout the film, and seems to be taking back his life and mind after the atrocities that he saw while fighting in the war.


Can’t really blame the unhappy people, hippies are literally the worst.


Gotta say, there is a lot of penis in this movie.  There is one scene where everyone is naked.  You don’t always see penis in movies!  If you like penis, then you will like this movie.  Also, if you like pubic hair.  There is a ton of pubic hair.

The mom is a real firecracker!  The dad is too.  They both fight off some gangsters who want to do security for the motel for a hefty sum.  Like, they literally fight them.  It is amazing.

Enter, Liev Schrieber, who plays Vetty Von Vilma, a “gay transvestite”, according to IMDB.  She is hired to do the security.


I think this movie really did well to show how crazy, dirty, but also amazing Woodstock was when it was happening.  It is crazy to think that it was the first huge outdoor festival of its kind.  The sheer amount of people is insane.  A great scene is when Elliot gets a ride with a cop to the festival.  The screen is cut in two or three segments, which all show different parts of the festival.  It shows the different types of people who attended the show.  There were hippies of course, but there was so many different types of hippies.  The anti-war ones, the acid trippers, the weekend hippies who were there for the music.  Some people were full time hippies, who live in a van and travel the country, and those who take advantage of hippies.

the walk

Elliot later finds out that his mom has a bunch of money that she has been saving over the years.  The money would have saved the business.  He is very mad because he used all of his money to help them, and not to mention, all of his time.  She seems more than happy to let him suffer and struggle to make life better for them.

It is an interesting movie.  I had never heard of it before, and did not know what to think.  But, I was pleasantly surprised.  The movie portrayed not only the hard work put into putting on Woodstock, but also the relationships that were formed and strengthened while the show went on.  I like that the movie shows the everyday people and not the celebrities at Woodstock.

I definitely recommend this ‘Taking Woodstock’, especially if you are a fan of the 60’s.

‘Taking Woodstock’ gets 4.5 “dirty hippie penises” out of a possible 5.