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The Cool School

An uncool conventional film
By RICHARD BECK  |  October 31, 2007
1.5 1.5 Stars
THE COOL SCHOOL: A conventional clunker.

For a film about wacky artists and the wacky art they made, Morgan Neville’s documentary could not be more conventional — not even if Ken Burns made it. With an 84-minute jazz and surf-rock soundtrack to go along with its improbably plodding 84-minute narrative arc, this history of the life and inevitable death of Los Angeles’s mid-20th-century avant-garde art scene is almost airtight. First LA is a cultural wasteland, but there are some “renegade artists” who don’t even care what New York City thinks, man. So they make some art and do some drugs and things really start happening! Man, but the money, man. It just killed the whole vibe. Great times, though. Now I’m not saying that the artists who were LA in the ’50s and ’60s didn’t do important work, but this film isn’t interested in the work. It’s interested in the scene — and as scene movies go, it’s a clunker.
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  Topics: Reviews , Entertainment, Movies, Ken Burns
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