Wilco rocks

Movie: I am Trying to Break Your Heart

I am Trying to Break Your Heart
Length: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Studio: Cowboy Pictures
Website: http://www.wilcofilm.com/
Release Date: 2002-10-18
Cast: wilco
WorkNameSort: I am Trying to Break Your Heart
Our Rating: 4.00

As much the chronicle of a band struggling with its direction as it is a critique of the corporate-run music industry, Sam Jones' documentary "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" follows alt-country/rock outfit Wilco through the recording of its acclaimed fourth album, "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot."

Extensive studio/loft scenes show the band's creative processes -- or should we say creative differences -- in action. We see how seriously these musicians take their craft, and how exasperating the recording process can be on a working unit. One of the more discomfiting yet poignant moments documents the argument that leads to longtime collaborator Jay Bennett's dismissal from the band.

"I just want you to understand me," Bennett insists. Bandleader and principal songwriter Jeff Tweedy's retort: "I don't have to understand you all the time."

Equally important to the film's dramatic thrust is Wilco's discharge from Reprise Records, a label known for its artist-friendly deportment. The band turns in the finished "YHF," only to have label execs deem the record "uncommercial" and demand that the band rerecord it. They decline. The label dumps the band, but allows Wilco to retain full rights to "YHF." After an extensive bidding war, Nonesuch Records scoops up the act -- the coup being that Nonesuch, like Reprise, is owned by parent company AOL/Time Warner. Wilco's manager, Tony Margherita, pinpoints the irony of the situation: "[The label] hated this record so much, they paid for it three times."

"I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" benefits from Jones' fly-on-the-wall perspective. By candidly detailing the politics involved in the creation of an extraordinary piece of music, he calls our attention to the inherent conflict between commerce and creativity. Plus, we get to watch Wilco stick it to their record label, and that's pretty gratifying, too.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.