To say Rudy Love is the Forrest Gump of music would be an understatement. Plus, Rudy never really even got his picture taken as he travelled through and shaped the worlds of blues, funk, R&B and rock 'n' roll. Furthermore, Robert Zemeckis' saccharine ode to whitewashed US history via Tom Hanks comes out of the machine as an uplifting tale; for Rudy Love and his Family Band, the story looks more like a boot on the neck.
If you've never heard his name, you're not alone—but you've heard his music. And chances are, it was stolen. From before Rudy ever sang a bar, the Loves were getting ripped off in the music business, painted as a deeply cutthroat, manipulative money-grab by filmmakers Shawn Rhodes and John Alexander. In the 1960s, Rudy's dad wrote "Good Morning Little School Girl," which was recorded by Eric Clapton and pretty much everyone else who ever picked up a guitar, but the Loves never saw a penny for it. The pattern continued from there.
"I'm mostly in it to make music, which has been my downfall for many years," Rudy intones during one of his many reminisces during the documentary, which plays like a freight train full of funky bass lines, angry siblings and Mick Fleetwood agreeing that the Loves never got their due.
The filmmakers use color beautifully—from Rudy's flamboyant stage costumes to the deep purple lighting splashed on him as he growls out a blues tune—and the George Clinton interview is amazing. But some of the movie's highs are overshadowed by the name-drop-o-thon. And while we left feeling quite sure that the Loves should be multimillionaires for their massive contribution to music, they come off a little victimy in spots.
"Rudy Love and money never thought about each other," he says at one point, then laments his lack of it later in life. This one's worth the watch, though, for all the music history you never knew.
+Unbelievable soundtrack, history lesson and use of color
-Too much repetition, themes were heavy-handed
This Is Love
Directed by John Alexander
NR, 81 min.