It was with anticipation and trepidation that I entered the Variety Screening Room a couple weeks ago to join a full house of San Francisco film critics to watch the first Bay Area screening of Factory Girl, the Edie Sedgewick biopic. Before I go on, it's full-disclosure time: The film's director George Hickenlooper and I collaborated on the 2005 Mill Valley Film Festival trailer while he was in development on the picture. I experienced his frustration first hand as Sienna Miller dropped out and was replaced by Katie Holmes -- for about ten seconds -- before Tom said, "No way you're playing a druggie!" Thank gawd Sienna returned to save us from that!
With that in mind, I'll keep my personal critique of the film to myself. I'm here to take issue with the soundtrack. There is almost NO music from the incredible rock and roll scene that surrounded Andy Warhol's Factory. Admittedly, given Dylan's potential lawsuit, I didn't expect to hear "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" (one of several songs he supposedly wrote for Edie.) But gosh golly, if the best the filmmakers could afford to license was "Shakin' All Over" by The Guess Who and "Nighttime" by The Strangeloves, then perhaps they should have made a SILENT movie.
With that option, you could simply bring your IPod loaded with your own Warhol-Sedgewick-era tunes. Whether you choose the not-so-dulcet tones of fraulein Nico, anything by The Velvet Underground or just go with Mr. Reed solo and "Walk On The Wild Side," you'd be better off. "Wild Side" is one of the best representations of the Factory scene; Lou mentions Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, Joe Dallesandro, Jackie Curtis and Joe Campbell (referred to in the song by his Factory nickname Sugar Plum Fairy). Or, you could simply pay tribute by listening to the Stones' Sticky Fingers in its entirety, since Warhol designed the cover.
Factory Girl is not by any means the first film soundtrack to feature music that makes no sense. It's just that music was so very much a part of the era. Warhol painted some of his most iconic images with Maria Callas singing arias in the background and Martha and the Vandellas "Dancing in the Streets." I find it hard to believe that Harvey Weinstein, with all his power, couldn't have fixed the error! I'm sure that Ms. Sedgewick and Mr. Warhol are spinning the soundtracks of films like High Fidelity, Valley Girl, Singles and yes, director George Hickenlooper's documentary The Mayor Of Sunset Strip in their graves -- surely not the inane and never to-be-released non-soundtrack of Factory Girl.