I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco

3.8 5
Director: Sam Jones

Cast: Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Leroy Bach


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I Am Trying to Break Your Heart offers an impressive collection of extras that should please devout Wilco fans and draw new converts. Especially worthwhile is a feature-length commentary from director Sam Jones and the four members of Wilco. Jones injects considerable background about shooting, while the band gives quick tidbits about creating the record. The…  See more details below


I Am Trying to Break Your Heart offers an impressive collection of extras that should please devout Wilco fans and draw new converts. Especially worthwhile is a feature-length commentary from director Sam Jones and the four members of Wilco. Jones injects considerable background about shooting, while the band gives quick tidbits about creating the record. The second disc contains a wealth of additional footage that combines both silly throwaway moments and impressive performances. The music highlights include Tweedy's solo performances of the Uncle Tupelo classics "Wait Up" and "Acuff-Rose," along with such full-band numbers as the recent "Pot Kettle Black" and Being There's "Why Would You Wanna Live." A separate section contains full versions of the film's two solo tunes -- "Not for the Season" and "Sunken Treasure." The remaining supplements include a short featurette, the theatrical trailer, and an extensive booklet. Sam Jones' elegant black-and-white photography works extremely well and receives a worthwhile DVD translation. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer does feature some grain at times, but it never distracts much from the presentation. The technological limitations of the low-budget documentary do appear here, which is an understandable element. This release would suffer considerably from a lackluster audio transfer. Luckily, the 2.0 channel Dolby Surround transfer effectively presents Wilco's music. The lack of a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital track, which could have enhanced the songs' complexity significantly, is slightly disappointing; however, the limitations of the original soundtrack probably played a role.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Tony Nigro
On the surface, the subtitle of Sam Jones's documentary, "A Film About Wilco," may appear misleading. The film is not about shock value, or making the alt-country group worthy of a VH-1 special. Rather, it's a chronicle of the recording of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, an album for which the band was given a modest budget and free creative rein. Shooting on black-and-white film that conveys a sense of intimacy and honesty, Jones shows Wilco at work and at odds, both in the studio and in performance. Adding to the film's voyeuristic texture is an insightful array of interviews with the band, manager Tony Margherita, and music critic David Fricke, among others. The tumultuous turns following Foxtrot's completion -- including the label's decision to reject the record and drop the band, as well as the exodus of co-songwriter Jay Bennett -- came as a surprise to many. Jones does what he can to put these events in perspective, but the ultimate picture is that of a great American band that, despite creative differences, crafted an acclaimed recording. Don't be confused; I Am Trying to Break Your Heart is not merely a cerebral treatment of the band. There's plenty of music for fans to sink their teeth into, both of the recorded and live variety. And this is really where it becomes "A Film About Wilco." Despite the turmoil with record executives, Wilco is about music. The fan-friendly two-DVD release features commentary by Jones and the band, a making-of featurette, and more than 70 minutes of extra footage including live performances and unreleased songs.
All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart is a enjoyable documentary about the band Wilco, and the making of the album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The film will certainly appeal to the band's fans, but there are enough interesting people and dramatic events documented here to draw in viewers unfamiliar with Wilco's music. Front and center is Jeff Tweedy, the band's disheveled, musically adventurous lead singer, who has a somewhat antagonistic relationship with the band's talented guitarist, Jay Bennett (who looks a lot like Philip Seymour Hoffman). The two have several protracted creative arguments about the music before things reach the breaking point. Jones shows us Tweedy puking before a show, and the singer nonchalantly explains that he does it all the time and has since he was a child because of migraines. Tweedy is a low-key kind of guy, so it's exciting to see how animated he gets during the band's live performances, which Jones captures with energetic flurries of camera movement. The film shows how the record business can undermine a band that isn't easily pigeonholed musically. The baffled response their label has to their painstakingly produced work exemplifies this point. For the sake of his soul, Tweedy proclaims, he "can't entertain any of their half-assed, fearful, frightened bulls___." The film's tone is generally upbeat, considering the ordeal the band went through. There are casual fun moments between the band members, and it concludes with a satisfyingly ironic happy ending.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Region Code:
[B&W, Wide Screen]

Special Features

Disc 1:; "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" (high definition digital transfer, 16 x 9 anamorphic presentation); Feature commentary from director Sam Jones and Wilco; Original theatrical trailer; English subtitles for the hearing impaired; Disc 2:; Over 70 minutes of extra footage, featuring 17 additional Wilco songs, alternate versions of songs from "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot," live concert performances, and new unreleased songs; "I Am Trying to Make a Film" making-of featurette; Deluxe 40-page booklet with filmmaker's diary, exclusive photos, and liner notes from "Rolling Stone"'s David Fricke

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jeff Tweedy Actor
John Stirratt Actor
Leroy Bach Actor
Glenn Kotche Actor
Jay Bennett Participant
Tony Margherita Actor
Greg Kot Actor
David Fricke Actor
Howie Klein Actor
Bill Bentley Actor
Josh Grier Actor
David Bither Actor
Chris Brickley Actor
Jonathan Parker Actor
Sam Tweedy Actor
Susan Miller Tweedy Actor
Spencer Tweedy Actor

Technical Credits
Sam Jones Director,Cinematographer,Producer
Peter Abraham Producer
Albert Berger Executive Producer
Chat Gunther Sound/Sound Designer
John Gurrin Sound/Sound Designer
Gary Hustwit Executive Producer
Adam Joseph Sound/Sound Designer
Charles Kelly Sound/Sound Designer
Larry Loewinger Sound/Sound Designer
Tracy McKnight Musical Direction/Supervision
Moe Chamberlain Sound/Sound Designer
Erin Nordstrom Editor
Patrick Solomon Associate Producer
Roger Stevenson Sound/Sound Designer
Jeff Tweedy Songwriter
Charlie Winton Associate Producer
Barbara Winton Associate Producer
Ron Yerxa Executive Producer

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Scene Index

Side #1 -- Disc 1
1. I Need More Piano [1:32]
2. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart [3:10]
3. Ashes of American Flags [3:18]
4. Kamera [3:44]
5. Poor Places [4:01]
6. Fericito [2:53]
7. Not for the Season [1:45]
8. Sunken Treasure [5:24]
9. Reservations [2:45]
10. I'm the Man Who Loves You [3:47]
11. A Subset of Heavy Metal Drummer [4:02]
12. Is It the Medication? [2:11]
13. I'm Always in Love [3:58]
14. Jim O'Rourke [2:11]
15. Jesus, Etc. [:59]
16. Reprise Hears the Record [1:55]
17. The Phone Call [4:16]
18. Misunderstood [2:29]
19. I Got You [4:01]
20. Let Me Come Home [1:29]
21. War on War [2:36]
22. Outta Site [2:37]
23. Let's Talk About Jay [3:07]
24. My Darling [2:14]
25. Half-Assed, Fearful, Frightened [4:33]
26. Magazine Called Sunset [2:18]
27. It's Something With a Drum in It [3:27]
28. Months of Discussions and Ruminations [1:34]
29. Be Not So Fearful [1:50]
30. Monday [3:44]
31. Pure Imagination [4:13]

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I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At the time I bought this film, I had just discovered Wilco.  I purchased THE ONLY copy of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot from the base exchange during a military deployment overseas.  The album seemed to fit my state of mind perfectly at the time...I was lonely, discovering new things about myself that I'd never known before, and I found the music and lyrics contained within this album to be extremely comforting.  It spoke to me.  So it's only natural that I, being one who likes to see how things are made, would be drawn to this film.  It's an excellently filmed documentary that, as one reviewer has noted, doesn't give the history of the band, but gives kind of a "day in the life" view of one of today's best working bands.  The lack of narration is particularly effective, as events just unfold and Sam Jones is there to film them.  He has a knack for being at the right place at the right time, and it's clear that the band is happy to acquiesce to his filming ideas.  He captures their best moments and their worst, and it's beautiful.  Also really fascinating is the second disc, which contains a lot of really good unused concert footage, and the commentary by Sam and Wilco members Jeff, Leroy, John, and Glenn (and during which you can tell that even years later, Sam is thrilled to be working with the band).  This is absolutely worth your while to purchase if you are a fan of music, the music industry, the process of recording, and it's a must-have if you're a Wilco fan. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved the movie and the great extras. they caught some great moments on video like when reprise dropped them and such. if you are looking for a history of wilco, this is not the dvd to buy.. but if you want a lot of yankee hotel foxtrot info.. this dvd is for you. wonderfullll extras.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wilco is probably the greatest American band working today. This film shows a hard-working band and the strains of genius cracking internally as their record gets rejected by corporate American suits. If you are looking for something that documents their history, this is not it. If you want to see the making of the best record of the last five years, get this. You won't be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago