Last Days Here Reviews
Bobby Liebling, the founder and leader of the band, is a complete wacko and a crack and heroin addict. What a shock that they blew every opportunity they ever had. Drugs have a way of doing that.
Final Verdict: A
This movie shows how far the love and devotion of a fan can go and the true impact it can have on the life of an artist. If I took anything from watching this it is that even in your lowest point where it seems that all is lost but the heartbeat in your chest it is never too late to shine through and live life to it's absolute potential. Even if you are not too keen on the heavy metal genre or even dislike the music of Pentagram, I recommend this movie to anyone who wants to see a hard hitting true story that one can be related to anyone's life that has been in dire straits. That and the music of Pentagram just fucking rules!! \m/
In the early seventies, Bobby Liebling was the lead vocalist for a band called Pentagram that you've probably never heard of. Pentagram were on the verge of stardom when, according to interview in the documentary Last Days Here, two incidents-one of them caused by Liebling, the other caused by two other band members-basically derailed their entire career, dooming them to lives of obscurity. Fast-forward to 2004. Bobby Liebling is a meth addict living in his parents' basement in suburban Baltimore. In his late forties, Liebling looks at least thirty years older. He would probably have never been captured on film; indeed, he might well have died in obscurity were it not for Sean Pelletier, a record collector and Pentagram fan so obsessed with the band he contacted Liebling and offered to act as the band's manager if Liebling could pull together members from some of the band's classic lineups for a reunion, and as long as Liebling vowed to quit meth, as well as most of the other drugs he was using. Liebling agreed and started making calls, and Pelletier recruited Don Argott and Demian Fenton to film what Pelletier saw as Pentagram's inevitable comeback and world domination. The result is the documentary you see before you.
As they say, the best-laid plans of mice and men, etc. Saying you're going to kick drugs and actually doing it are two entirely different things (says this former smoker). Liebling has moral support from his bandmates, his manager, the filmmakers, and new girlfriend Hallie, another longtime Pentagram fan who got in touch with Liebling (old enough to be her father); the two of them begin a relationship, but if you've ever done that dance with an addict, you know how rocky it is. Indirectly, as well, Liebling has the support of thousands of Pentagram fans who are pulling for the band, some of whom are bigger than Pentagram ever were; Phil Anselmo books Pentagram to open for Down at a show in New York, for example, and there's some pre-show backstage footage of Down members telling Liebling how much his music meant to them as they were growing up, etc. Still, Liebling has a history of-to be generous-flaking out. Is a comeback possible when your lead singer is a nutcase?
I've seen a lot of rock docs over the past few years, and even more per year since subscribing to Netflix again. The best of them all share certain qualities. They illuminate something that isn't entirely obscure, but has traditionally stayed out of the limelight for some reason or other. The filmmakers stay out of the way and let the subjects stand or fall on their own. Performance footage is included, but it feels natural rather than exploitative (or, worse, just there in order to attract fans of whatever it is the documentary is covering). The story itself is inherently interesting, not just to fans, but to a more general audience. Last Days Here qualifies in every regard. (I should point out, for trivia purposes if nothing else, that this was recommended to me by someone who directed another rock doc that fits, Stephen Petrus of City/Ruins: Art in the Face of Industrial Decay.) This is fine filmmaking indeed; well worth your time whether you're a longtime fan or you've never heard of them. ****
God, Satan, Krishna, or whomever, bless "Pellet" for befriending Bobby and sticking with him through so much in order to help him get his soul back. When Pentagram actually finally takes the stage, it is like a revival!
The real story here is not about one of the greatest doom metal bands ever, drug addiction, or a band that failed to make it big. In the end, this is a story about a man who is in pain and desperately needs someone to love him. The loneliness he must have felt in the "sub-basement" for decades is unimaginable.
I cannot recommend this movie highly enough for anyone who loves Pentagram.
We find ourselves thinking, "Yeah, he may have fucked up in the past, but he seems like a good enough dude." Even when he's seemingly taking advantage of one of his few supporters, his manager Pellet, you still want to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. Life and his own demons kick this guy in the nuts on a consistent basis, but he still seems genuinely relatable somehow. He's like he's an old bandmate of ours. You know, that righteous son-of-a-bitch that we can never kick out of the group.
Not many films have you rooting for such a slacker anti-hero, but Bobby is the ultimate crack smoking, heroin shooting, pill popping underdog. Just when you think he'll never recover, he comes storming back. If not for the persistence of friend and manager Pellet, this rebirth never happens. This film truly shows you the power of friendship.
Absolutely brilliantly paced, this doc is Film Editing 101. I could only imagine what went into putting this thing together. All those years of footage, Bobby's transformation, jumping from city to city, these filmmakers deserve all the credit they receive for this venture. Not only that, this film has what may be the most shocking ending we've seen in a long time. I did NOT see that coming...