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Ain't in It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm [Blu-ray]

Larry Campbell , Levon Helm , Jacob Hatley    Unrated   Blu-ray
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Ain't in It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm [Blu-ray] + Live at the Academy of Music 1971
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Product Description

Product Description

Director Jacob Hatley's intimate documentary finds rock and roll legend Levon Helm (The Band) at home in Woodstock, NY, in the midst of creating his first studio album in 25 years. Shot during the course of two-plus years, this highly anticipated film focuses in on the four-time Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member after his 2007 comeback album, Dirt Farmer, brought him back to the spotlight.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watching a Legend Fade Away. Oct. 9 2013
By Stephen Bieth TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Documentaries like this don't come by very often. This is one of the most touching films I have ever seen. Watching Levon go thru his cancer battle, how bitter he is about the band when the Grammies want to induct them into the hall of fame. Parts are just fellow artists sitting around with him telling stories. You really feel you get to know Levon a little bit by the end of the film. I don't want you to think this is just a film of a bitter old man because it's not. Thru everything Levon almost always has a smile on his face. You can see how much Rick and Richard ment to him. When asked about attending the Grammies he says "how does it help Rick and Richard. It's just a cash grab for the suits. Where were they when they were around". One of the hardest things to watch is Rick Danko's wife living in an old age home. How unhappy she is and how much she misses him.
The most touching scene in the film is Levon seeing the first pictures of his grandchild. You can't fake a face like that. He was one proud Papa and it's great that he lived long enough to see Amy's baby.
You really don't have to be a fan to watch this. Not even a music fan. This film is about the triumph of the human spirit.
There will never be another "Band" and there sure as Hell will never be another Levon and this film let's you get to know the man just a little better.
This film should be nominated and win the Oscar for best Documentary!
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Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Good to see Levon at home and how his friends family and musicians supported him in his last days. And kept playing music till his end
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5.0 out of 5 stars Levon Helm was real and proud of it Nov. 16 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Levon Helm is/was one of the people in my generation, who did exactly what he wanted to do and was honest and humble with the outcome. He was a great musician and didn't need a fancy stage to enjoy his music. He was a success in every way personally and musically. This film shows all of him and I love to hear his comments about his life. I will watch it many, many times.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart Warming Nov. 7 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I wonderful insite into the last drying days of one of Americana greatest icons!
Drummer singer entertainor father and free spirit.
To all who want a closer look and the man who drove the Band and so many other projects this dvd is a must.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  80 reviews
59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! July 30 2013
By Bob B - Published on Amazon.com
Levon Helm lived a life in music, one that unfortunately ended too soon last year when he was 71 years old. But what a life! His career traced the entire arc of the rock and roll era, from his early years seeing Elvis, Sonny Boy and Bill Monroe as a kid in Arkansas, to his years on the road as a member of Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks, then leader of Levon And The Hawks, which became Dylan's first road band. Then The Hawks became The Band, the most respected band of the golden age of rock.

He played a decent guitar and a distinctive mandolin, but that voice! Levon was the voice of the American heartland, an iconic, craggy, lusty voice whether singing, acting and narrating, or just telling stories. And, oh yes, he was one the the very best drummers in the world. But his post-Band career, while artistically rich, left him ultimately broke, and in the late nineties cancer took his voice.

To pay the rent and medical bills, and just to play, he began hosting Midnight Rambles at his home in Woodstock, where he had a studio in his beautiful barn. Playing for a couple hundred people on Saturday nights, Levon came all the way back to the top, and along the way his voice came back. Sort of.

This beautiful and powerful documentary, filmed with Levon's full cooperation around 2008, finds him at home with his family and friends, learning of his nomination for a Grammy for his new album (he would win it, along with two more), laughing and telling stories with his friends and bandmates, and playing with some of the best musicians on the planet both in his barn and on tour. While the beautiful spirit and sheer joy of music certainly shine through here, the film is also unflinching in showing Levon struggling with a ravaged voice and being tested, rather unpleasantly, at a hospital, and making those closest to him cringe with his bitterness about the end of The Band and the subsequent demise of his dear friends Rick and Richard.

Ultimately, this film holds up in several ways. It is a gritty, effective "fly on the wall" style documentary; it is an interesting and instructive view of a Rock life; and if you went to a Ramble at the Barn, or just loved Levon for the national treasure he was, it will move you.

OK, I guess that's a thumbs up.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Beautiful Film Aug. 28 2013
By Jimmy - Published on Amazon.com
Nobody, however skilled, can make a decent documentary about an individual, band or indeed event, if the subject matter doesn't create a fascinating story. However in the case of Levon Helm this was surely the director's least concern - indeed it would be difficult to make a bad film about this fascinating musical maverick. But in the hands of the previously unknown Jacob Hatley - clearly a man destined for big things - the incredible story of Levon and his music is treated with finesse, skill and feeling to create possibly the best music documentary to emerge this year.

There are now 3 classic documentaries available that tell the story of The Band or members thereof and which all fans of this American institution should be sure are in pride of place in their collections.

The Last Waltz (Special Edition)
Dylan, Bob - Down In The Flood
Ain't In It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A candid and intimate portrait of a truly inspirational man Sept. 3 2013
By James J. Crisan - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This documentary accomplishes something rare in a biographical story: it is uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time. Watching Levon simultaneously struggle with illness while continuing to live and love life and create and perform beautiful music is powerfully inspiring. Listening to the stories about the dark side of his history with The Band was heartbreaking, and the filmmaker gives us a nuanced look at how Levon deals with his legacy with pride, but also with some bitterness about the music business. In his unguarded moments, we can see that Levon is still heartbroken over the loss of Richard Manuel and Rick Danko, and the interview sequences with Rick's widow are a brilliant juxtaposition that meshes Levon's story with the demise of The Band and the era in which they breathed rarefied air. I thank the filmmaker for this heartwarming portrait, and I treasure this intimate record of a slice of the life - and tragic death - of a man and musician I have always admired and respected.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feels like missing a friend... Aug. 13 2013
By PBfriend - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Great. No other words. I was priviledged to attend a few rambles before Levon left us. This documentary is a great reminder of what was lost and how it should continue!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and true Aug. 27 2013
By Andrew Hunsicker - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Incredible story about a complex and talented artist. Levon Helm is so authentically American he should be on a unit of currency and this movie does him justice
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