Molly Freedenberg

Noise Pop: Nilsson rating


You may not have heard of Harry Nilsson, but you sure as hell have heard his music. The singer-songwriter was responsible for everything from "Without You" ("I can’t live, if living is without you") to "Coconut" ("You put the lime in the coconut, you drink ’em both up"), from "One" (famously covered by Aimee Mann for Magnolia) to "Everybody’s Talkin’ " (which he sang for Midnight Cowboy). So why haven’t more people heard of Nilsson, one of the most prolific, talented, and experimental artists of his generation? That’s what John Scheinfeld’s 2006 documentary Who Is Harry Nilsson (and Why Is Everybody Talkin’ about Him?) seeks to answer — and to remedy. This engaging, affectionate film follows Nilsson’s life and career throughout its tumultuous, triumphant, tragic course, from his start singing demos to his collaboration with the Beatles. Interviews with an eclectic cast of colleagues — including Yoko Ono, May Pang, Terry Gilliam, Robin Williams, Micky Dolenz, and Randy Newman — round out the picture of this profoundly creative but fatally self-destructive genius. With its stellar nostalgic soundtrack, Who Is Harry Nilsson is a must-see for rock ‘n’ roll lovers, Beatles fans, and the people who already know and love Nilsson — which, after this screening, hopefully will include you. (Molly Freedenberg)


Feb. 28, 7 p.m., $10

Roxie Film Center

3117 and 3125 16th St., SF

(415) 863-1087