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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Overlooked Performances: Royale Watkins in 'My Dinner With Jimi'

(Deeper Into Movies begins an occasional feature singling out overlooked fine performances in movies you may or may not know about, but are worth seeing if you savor the art of acting.)

My Dinner With Jimi

(Rhino; 90 minutes)

(First published at
 Royale Watkins gives a charismatic, sexy and endearing performance as Jimi Hendrix in this wryly comic, sweet-natured reverse-Don’tLook Back remembrance of a trip to Swinging London by California posters the Turtles in 1967, at the height of their “Happy Together”/”She’d Rather Be With Me" fame.
 On their arrival, the night before Sgt. Pepper is released, wide-eyed Turtles singer Howard Kaylan (a very effective Justin Henry, child star of Kramer vs. Kramer) meets the Beatles, Graham Nash, Donovan, Brian Jones and Hendrix at a nightclub. More fan than rock star, chubby and poorly dressed and not especially hip, Kaylan is both an outsider and – because he has a pop hit – an insider in this rarified world. 
John Lennon (Brian Groh) is drunk and cruel, Jones (Jay Michael Ferguson) proves a gentlemanly fan of Southern California pop, Hendrix – not yet known in the U.S. – imparts wisdom during an alcohol-fueled dinner.
Made in 2003 on a restrictive budget by Bill Fishman (Tapeheads), with a screenplay by Kaylan that relies too heavily on narration, it transcends its limitations and feels real because of superb casting and acting.It casts a spell.
 Special features: Commentary by Kaylan and producer Harold Bronson, short film about the Turtles’ British trip.

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