Color Me Obsessed is the cinematic equivalent of the book The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting: An Oral History. The primary thrust in both comes from immensely-devoted fans of the ramshackle, insightful, bitter, lovable Minneapolis quartet rather than from the former members themselves. It’s their recollections of the Replacements’ history, concerts and albums plus emotional testimony of what the band’s music means to them that forms this quasi-biography.
Despite the lack of input from Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson, Chris Mars, Slim Dunlap nor any archive footage of Bob Stinson (RIP) and anything band-related, the documentary surprisingly works due to the meticulous and, ahem, obsessive nature towards the ‘Mats by the majority of interview subjects. They include fans, workers at the group’s original label Twin/Tone Records, music critics Robert Christgau, Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, road crew members, actors Dave Foley, Tom Arnold and George Wendt and musicians (Grant Hart and Greg Norton of Husker Du, Colin Meloy of the Decemberists, Goo Goo Dolls, Craig Finn of the Hold Steady, Brian Fallon of the Gaslight Anthem).
With more than two dozen people willing to testify to the Replacements’ greatness, Color Me Obsessed crams a lot in 123 minutes. It’s these passionate voices who were saved by rock ‘n’ roll that keep the film from feeling overstuffed. Overall, there is an embarrassment of riches in the film and the extras, which are spread out over two discs – 19 deleted scenes, full interviews with a few of the participants, two commentaries, behind the scenes and trailers.
Their ruminations on how and why the Replacements were one of the greatest American rock ‘n’ roll bands can feel, at times, like you’re a fly on the wall at some indie record store listening to a herd of vinyl junkies. In an age of impersonal clicks on website links to receive a dose of aural pleasure, there’s a sentimental warmth experience here as these former alt-rock scenesters discuss not only a band that they fell in love with but unconsciously recall a long gone era from their lives that resonates today.