Bound to Lose (2006)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Filmmakers Paul Lovelace and Sam Wainwright Douglas invite viewers to follow the tale of two true American originals in this documentary detailing the collaboration between fiddler Pete Stampfel and guitarist Steve Weber -- aka the Holy Modal Rounders. It was during "The Great Folk Scare" of the early 1960s that these two eccentric souls collided in New York's Greenwich Village, and their partnership was soon solidified thanks to a mutual appreciation for American roots music and early psychedelia. But this was only the beginning, because over the course of the next four decades Stampfel and Douglas would exist on the fringes of the music industry while gaining a steady cult following. From their work on the Easy Rider soundtrack to the lost years and ultimately a shot at redemption in the form of a 40th anniversary concert in Portland, OR, this is the story of the American outlaw subculture at its most volatile and luminous. Special appearances by Dennis Hopper, Sam Shepard, Loudon Wainwright III, John Sebastian of the Lovin' Spoonful, and Peter Tork of the Monkees give testament to the endless influence of a duo that beat the odds to endure for four decades and counting.
Documentary , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
In Theaters:


Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Bound to Lose

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (4)

As much the chronicle of an era as of a band, The Holy Modal Rounders ... Bound to Lose casts an affectionate eye on the kind of hedonism no one is meant to survive.

December 7, 2007
New York Times
Top Critic

They [Rounders] stand as perhaps the truest heirs to the Harry Smith Anthology's wild and woolly Americanaâ"a point Sam Wainwright Douglas and Paul C. Lovelace's affectionate doc makes with a minimum of fuss and lots of bawdy hilarity.

December 4, 2007
Village Voice
Top Critic

A truly mad tale of a band that began as a loose amalgamation out of the Greenwich Village folk scene in the early '60s and managed to keep getting back together for reunions and revivals until 2005.

Full Review… | November 16, 2007
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Charged with alternating currents of affection, exuberance and ineffable melancholy, The Holy Modal Rounders ... Bound to Lose offers an intriguing overview of the cult-fave combo.

Full Review… | January 31, 2006
Top Critic

The humor and eccentricity of the band members should prevent a "Who cares?" response, and the twist that occurs in the final section of the piece will keep every viewer mesmerized.

Full Review… | December 11, 2007
Film Journal International

Another "what ever happened to" type documentary. Always fascinating to see how personal flaws and the corrupt star-making machinery of the capitalist entertainment industry present obstacles to fame and fortune.

Full Review… | December 8, 2007

Audience Reviews for Bound to Lose


Biography of a band with visits to moments in the past. Plenty of music. Interviews with band members new and old. Personalities mingling and separating. I liked it.

Alaine B
Alaine B

I suppose as a definitive history of the band, this fails on several levels. But, as a portrait of where the members of the band are now, and as a small tribute to their talent and influence, this is as good as it gets. I remember just about wearing out an early copy of the Moray Eels Eat the Holy Modal Rounders back in the day, and it was fun seeing who was responsible for that wonderful piece of subversive electrified psychedelic folk-rock mayhem. Even as decrepit as Steve Weber appears, the man can still pick a mean guitar and chew through the intricate lyrics of some real Rounder chestnuts. This was fun. They can't sing, they're not very good looking, but man can they put a smile on the face! If you aren't familiar with their music, or that of their earlier band, The Fugs, you might not find this as rewarding as this viewer did, but I would encourage anyone who appreciates old-time country and counter-culture folk to give them a listen, and a look-see. The bonus material was terrific. Nearly an hour of mostly live performances, with a little commentary thrown in. Artistes to you, you punk chumps!

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer


I saw an unfinished version of this, but it was still pretty good. Wishful thinking, but can you get that short Fugs film on the DVD?

Michael Noble
Michael Noble

Bound to Lose Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Bound to Lose on our Movie forum!

News & Features