If you were the co-creator of Two and a Half Men and an exec of The Big Bang Theory, you could look at your bank statement and maybe buy a yacht or two. Or you could do what Lee Aronsohn has done and make one of the warmer, friendlier vanity projects I’ve ever seen. From a certain perspective, 40 Years in the Making: The Magic Music Movie is a commentary on how far money can go to recapture the spirit of one’s youth. Aronsohn (who is present as narrator) attended the University of Colorado–Boulder in the 1970s. The biggest band on the scene was Magic Music, a Crosby, Stills and Nash–esque acoustic folk harmony group. They were good! But for whatever reason, they never even put out an album. After six years, the guys went their separate ways, but Aronsohn (and other Colorado hippies of the era) never forgot the tunes. At his request, the band is getting back together.
The first half of 40 Years uses talking-head interviews and old photographs to detail the personnel changes and living conditions of this very dedicated “back to nature” outfit. The second half tries to resolve decades-long schisms using the most basic reality show techniques. But the big finish (a reunion concert, naturally) is surprisingly effective. Only a monster would begrudge Aronsohn for putting this all together. It doesn’t hurt that Magic Music really do have some chops.
40 Years in the Making: The Magic Music Movie
Directed by Lee Aronsohn
Opens August 3, Village East Cinema
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 1, 2018