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Mayor of the Sunset Strip (2004)

Rodney Bingenheimer , David Bowie , George Hickenlooper  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Rodney Bingenheimer, David Bowie, Joey Ramone, Exene Cervenka, John Doe
  • Directors: George Hickenlooper
  • Writers: George Hickenlooper
  • Producers: Christopher Paul Carter, Donald Zuckerman, Greg Little, Greg S. Little, Julie Janata
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Millennium
  • DVD Release Date: August 17, 2004
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00026L93Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,807 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mayor of the Sunset Strip" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The inner workings of the rock 'n' roll world as seen through the very unique lens of one Rodney Bingenheimer, a.k.a. Rodney on the ROQ, Los Angeles' most enduring radio personality and unlikely legend. Brian Wilson, Nancy Sinatra, Ray Manzarek, Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Mick Jagger and a host of others are on hand to testify to Rodney's greatness, while Neil Young and Jimi Hendrix also appear. The DVD includes two hours of extra footage Rodney rules!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a stranger-than-fiction true life story January 16, 2005
***1/2 If "Mayor of the Sunset Strip" were not a documentary, no one would ever believe the story it tells. The film chronicles the life of Rodney Bingenheimer, the L.A. DJ who helped to launch the careers of many of the most influential bands in rock music history. However, if you're expecting Rodney to be a dashing, high-powered music exec with loads of cash and garages full of fancy sport cars, think again. He is, in fact, a painfully shy and unassuming man who seems totally out of place in the celebrity swirl of which he became so integral a part beginning in the 1960`s. This is what makes his story and the film so fascinating, for who could have imagined that this gnomish young lad from Mountain View, California - essentially abandoned by both his mother and father and rejected by his peers - would somehow manage to make himself the center of attention for some of the greatest rock celebrities of the 1960's and `70's. Everybody who was anybody knew and adored Rodney, and, after he landed a gig as DJ at L.A.'s KROQ in the 1970`s, he gave many struggling alternative artists their first real toehold on the radio, playing their records at a time when no other disc jockeys would touch them. The bands who practically owe their careers to Rodney Bingenheimer include Blondie, the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, the Runaways, the Go-Go's, No Doubt, Coldplay, and many many others.

As a documentary, the film, written and directed by George Hickenlooper, takes a fairly conventional approach, combining images from Rodney's life with interviews by celebrities, relatives and friends commenting on him both as a person and as a phenomenon.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Special Features Worth Price of Admission October 20, 2004
I'm giving this DVD 5 stars because, taken together with the special features, the film contributes to a package that may be essential for any rock fan/armchair historian like myself. I agree with the criticism that the film spends too much time probing into Rodney's personal life; I assume the film-maker felt an obligation to present his subject's inner life as well as his social world, but ultimately I really don't care whether Rodney's best female buddy is his lover or not - I'm far more interested in the man's profound contribution to rock history. That said, the movie does its job well enough to hold the attention of rock fanatics and casual viewers alike.

But what really seals the deal - and I'm surprised none of the reviews here have mentioned this - is a scene, tucked away in the special features, in which the film maker introduces Brian Wilson to Elvis Costello. The ensuing exchange is as fascinationg as you might imagine: A calm, collected Elvis does his best not to scream out "Ohmygod I'm talking to Brian Wilson!" while the latter goes on being his weird, intriguing self. The genius hangs like some luminescent protoplasm in the room while these two discuss recording studios, songwriting and fame. This segment alone moved me to go out and buy the DVD (I had rented it).

Oh yeah, and there are interviews with people like Cher, David Bowie, and Pamela and Michael Des Barres, who proves himself a really entertaining and engaging character. Enjoy!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roxy roller June 11, 2004
By turns outrageously funny and reflectively sad, this fascinating look at the life of L.A. music scene fixture Rodney Bingenheimer is a must-see for anyone claiming to be a serious rock fan. The diminutive, skittish and soft-spoken Bingenheimer comes off as Andy Warhol's West coast twin, or perhaps the Forrest Gump of rock and roll-somehow he has been in the hurricane's eye of every major music "scene" since the mid 60's, from Monkeemania (working as Davey Jones' double!) to becoming the first DJ to champion current superstars Coldplay. Although ostensibly "about" Rodney, the film is at its core a whirlwind timetrip through Rock's evolution, filtered through a coked-out L.A. haze. The ongoing photograph montages of Rodney posing with an A-Z roster of every major seminal rock figure in the genre's history began to remind me of Woody Allen's Alfred Zelig, a nondescript milquetoast who could morph his appearance to match whomever he was with at the time. Rodney himself remains a cypher; in one scene he fidgets nervously and begs the director to turn off the camera when the questions get too "close". There is also a sad irony; despite his ability to attract the company of the rich and famous (and they all appear to adore the man), the fruits of fame and success evade Rodney himself. He drives a "beater" to his DJ job at L.A.'s legendary KROQ; he lives alone in a cluttered little hovel, where treasured memorabilia like Elvis Presely's first driver's license(!) collects dust next to the empty pizza boxes. Priceless commentary from the likes of music producer Kim Fowley (whose own wacked-out rock 'n' roll career contains enough fodder for a whole other documentary), Pamela Des Barres (legendary groupie; aka "Miss Pamela" of Frank Zappa proteges The G.T.O.'s)and her husband, musician Michael Des Barres. One of the best "rockumentaries" to date.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rodney, on the ROQ November 2, 2004
If you cared at all about the exploding new wave scene in the 80's, then you should see this movie. Rodney Bingenheimer was the architect of the KROQ sound, the radio format that spawned alternative stations across the nation. What "The Mayor Of The Sunset Strip" does provide beyond that is a snapshot of Rodney as the ultimate fanboy. He was the kind of guy who drove David Bowie around California, trying to get him an audience with US record companies. Rodney, pretty much left in Hollywood to fend for himself as a child, even landed parts as Davey Jones' double on "The Monkees." His fans and friends include people like Bowie, Alice Cooper and Gwen Stefani. Even Cher drops in to show Rodney her appreciation.

What you also gather from this DVD is Rodney as an attention starved man-child who turned his fascination with celebrity into a career without a fortune. The distressing thing is that Rodney, who dwells in a squalid apartment and drives a beat up Chevy, basically lives a pretty meager existence when all the artists he helped break pay him little more than general lip service, and the radio station he helped put on the map has reduced him to one shift a week from Midnight to 3 AM on Sundays.

"The Mayor Of The Sunset Strip" is a good watch for rock fans, but is ultimately depressing. Rodney cuts a tragic figure through a lot of the documentary and leaves the viewer with a bittersweet feeling about the current state of broadcasting. You squirm as Rodney, a man who programmed radio by the sounds of the music he loved, is slowly being squeezed into irrelevance. Then you come to understand that people who grab hold of music and records for the sheer love of glamor, glitter and the sound of it all are dangerously close to extinct.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars MAYOR OF NONSUCH
had to for a review.

nancy Sinatra is interviewed and says she knows kim Gordon of s.y infamy. she calls her a baby. kim would go grrrl. Read more
Published 19 days ago by gcd
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Important!
anyone who grew up in Los Angeles in the 1980s and participated in the punk scene will really enjoy this.
Published 3 months ago by Kylie Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars world famous kroq!
I miss listening to Rodney on the Roq, This man was driving force in punk,new wave, and alternative rock. Movie packs a lot of memories,music and emotions. Read more
Published 7 months ago by telco
5.0 out of 5 stars Great documentary
When I rented this, I knew very little about this man. All I knew was he was the biggest things back in the 70's. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jordan Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars Love interesting people
This was really interesting. Rodney Bingenheimer has led an amazing life yet I don't think he realizes it,. He's very humble. I would love to sit down and have coffee with him.
Published 12 months ago by IMA4N6GAL
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a look
I couldn't figure out if this was a parody along the lines of "A Mighty Wind" or "Best in Show". It all seemed so unbelievable. Read more
Published 12 months ago by susan garrard
5.0 out of 5 stars Sunset Strip
Rodney Bingenheimer has been around forever and this is a great way to learn about the Sunset Strip when it mattered !
Published 13 months ago by R. D. L.C
5.0 out of 5 stars Rodney Bingenheimer; Rock Icon De/Mystified
Rodney Bingenheimer was the tastemaker of the Strip...& this is a sadly real glimpse of how time erodes a hero. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Holly Gleason
4.0 out of 5 stars Rodney is a sad little man who lives a sad little life as an almost...
Let this be a lesson to all you want to be groupies out there out what's in store for you when you're in your 60s there is no upside to being an old groupie the only thing left is... Read more
Published 14 months ago by jonny irish
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing but true
The trippy pat is that all this happened and is happening around us and with or without our knowledge has impacted our American culture and continues to do so to this day. Read more
Published 14 months ago by C. Gonzalez
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