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Mayor of the Sunset Strip (2004)



Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 76
Fresh: 66 | Rotten: 10

A fascinating, poignant look at the cult of celebrity.


Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 30
Fresh: 28 | Rotten: 2

A fascinating, poignant look at the cult of celebrity.



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 1,644

My Rating

Movie Info

Through the glitter and the grunge, from The Monkees to Coldplay, Rodney Bingenheimer--a.k.a. "Rodney on the ROQ"--has reigned over the Los Angeles music scene for over two decades. A constantly evolving fixture as rock fan, journalist, promoter, club owner and radio DJ on KROQ, Bingenheimer has helped advance every adventurous rock mutation--California pop, glam, punk, goth, new wave, alternative--since he first hit the Sunset Strip during its psychedelic 1960s heyday.

Aug 17, 2004

First Look Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (85) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (66) | Rotten (10) | DVD (7)

Has a commercial reach that goes beyond local hero worship thanks in part to an all-star lineup of interviewees, including Cher, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Gwen Stefani and Courtney Love, to name just a few confirmed Rod-heads.

August 10, 2004
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Captures Bingenheimer in all his celeb-fondling glory. But it's a forlorn sight, one the film doesn't turn away from as it arcs from giddy inclusion to lonely pathos.

May 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
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Creepily entertaining.

May 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Feels like an elegy for an aging rock pixie.

April 30, 2004
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At first a wryly comic study of a real-life, shag-topped Zelig ... Hickenlooper's nuanced documentary shifts into far deeper and darker emotional territory once it starts revealing Bingenheimer's heart-wrenching backstory.

April 30, 2004 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Occasionally laughable, often sad, and profoundly evocative of the way we live now, adrift in a culture saturated with celebrity and obsessed by fame.

April 30, 2004 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

a great doc but sad as hell

July 5, 2008

A film that critiques our obsession with celebrity while simultaneously exploiting it.

October 26, 2007 Full Review Source: All Movie Guide
All Movie Guide

Wisely switching from film to DV when the setting demands a more subtle camera situation, it's a mature documentary from a veteran of the form.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

By the end, I felt neither happy nor sad for Rodney. I enjoyed being in his presence for 90 minutes, but I can't exactly agree that he has a magnetic personality.

January 15, 2006 Full Review Source:

too much in awe of subject matter

November 14, 2005 Full Review Source: Draxblog Movie Reviews

Wistful oddball documentary by George Hickenlooper.

April 28, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Hickenlooper is admittedly not an obsessive rock 'n' roll fan, which is an advantage and a problem. He's able to see the subterranean L.A. demimonde through fresh eyes ...

January 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

If Hickenlooper's wistful documentary starts with a short subject, heavier concerns drum in the background.

September 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

...a nostalgic merry-go-round. It's quaint, charming, and often entrancing. You're riding the best horse on the ride. And the music couldn't be better.

July 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Nitrate Online
Nitrate Online

Fans of rock music will likely be enthralled by the movie's look at various musical movements.

June 4, 2004 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

[The movie,] by exploiting its subject's celebrity contacts, runs counter to the unassuming way Bingenheimer cultivated those contacts over the years.

June 4, 2004 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

Worth seeing because its odd, self-effacing subject is satisfying by reason of his very emptiness, and more than a little pathetic.

May 25, 2004 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

Bingenheimer seems to have outlived his usefulness. Yet, his life stands as a testament to the idea that an average-looking bloke with a can-do attitude and a dream in his heart can rub shoulders with the folks the rest of us only get to read about.

May 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Oregonian

By the time George Hickenlooper's Mayor of the Sunset Strip is over, you won't know whether to envy or pity the subject of this oddly compelling documentary.

May 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

Fascinatingly probes society's obsession with celebrity through the lens of one semitragic figure.

May 14, 2004 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

A fascinating and sometimes sad documentary about a curious little man and America's obsession with celebrity.

May 14, 2004 Full Review Source: Des Moines Register
Des Moines Register

Mayor of the Sunset Strip, if you are interested in the celebrity scene, will make your jaw drop.

May 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Audience Reviews for Mayor of the Sunset Strip

Rodney Bingenheimer is more of a 'lucky charm to the stars' rather than a 'fame-fucker' like the detestable sexual vampire that is Pamela Des Barres or the egomaniac with a questionable past that is Kim Fowley - Although I quite like Fowley, he's just not as nice as Bingenheimer. Bingenheimer has both the temperament and mannerisms of Andy Warhol and he also is the epitome of Warhol's philosophy, 'famous for 15 minutes' if you will. This is an interesting look into the world of a man who hung around with music legends and possibly influenced them to a degree. It's hard not to like the film because Bingenheimer himself is just so likable.
February 16, 2011

Super Reviewer

what an odd duck of a doc.
Following around this odd charactor who somehow managed to get in with the in crowd back in the 60's - full of so many flat moments (the father and stepmother scenes are enough to make you grind your teeth to nubs; and yes I understand that it is a juxtaposition shining a light on social whatsits - but a little goes a very long way!).

I'm sure that patching together all the archival footage of Rodney hanging out with EVERYBODY who was somebody was a daunting task - but really, these glimses and interviews with the famous are the only interesting bits.

Following Rodney to England as he castes his mother's ashes to the sea, and then the final "what do you want the ending of the film to be" question, are just.... too personal and really not rewarding at all - kind of like the film itself.

There are too many moments where the camera focuses on Rodney as he says... nothing! The scenes with his girlfriend (who stares at the camera as if it's her mortal enemy) are creepy - he talks about her as if she isn't there, and then when she finally speaks it's to inform one and all that she and Rodney are just friends and that she has a "boyfriend" - it all comes off so shallow, especially in light of how the film set her up as the light of his life.

The insights about the music/radio business were just perfect however - what a dog eat dog industry - and I will give Rodney credit that, in this day and age where it's all about payola (money given by the record companies to get air time for a band), he seemed to rise above it - creating superstars simply because he liked what he heard - altruistic and the way it should be - but sadly is not.

It's sad how he now seems to be religated to the back burner - as if the scene has passed him by - the corporate scene perhaps, but not the musical one - and that's what he apparantly is staying true to.

An odd film about an odd man.
February 8, 2010
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

This is a haunting documentary about Rodney Biggenheimer's life on the fringe of some of the greatest musical artist's careers from the 60's up through the new millenium.After seeing it the first time,I became transfixed by this odd,tragic little man whose life has centered around connecting with celebbrities and particularly musical icons. I watched it mesmerized many,many more times and remained transfixed by his story.

He was abandoned by his mother as a young teen-actually dropped on the doorstep of a famous actress-to get her autograph.He made his way to the Sunset Strip groupie scene in the 1960's and engratiated himself to some of the most influential musical artists -Bowie,The Rolling Stones,The Monkees,Oasis,No Doubt- the list goes on and on.

One viewing will blow your mind-as the musical backdrop is so rich and varied-encapsulating decades of the evolution of Rock.Subsequent viewings are recommended to explore the psyche of this man-child who is actually credited with bolstering the careers of some of the most influential musicians in rock music.

A poignant,unbelievable story of a little nobody who spent his whole life defining himself in relation to the celebrities with whom he associated.
May 26, 2008

Super Reviewer

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