• Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING movie review

ByTaylor T Carlson

Jun 1, 2023

LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING is directed by Lisa Cortes.

I AM EVERYTHING follows the turbulent life of Richard Wayne Penniman, better known to the world as Little Richard. Starting his career in the 1950s, Penniman rocked the world with his on-stage antics while also leading an alternative lifestyle. He bounced back and forth between his passions and a love of God and religion, even quitting music at the height of his career to pursue a degree in religion! But financial necessities and hard times kept him going back to the stage, where he was eventually recognized for his talents by fans, critics, and musical organizations around the world. Despite his death in 2020 at the age of 87, he remains a revered cultural and musical icon.

I AM EVERYTHING is certainly long overdue. One of the founding fathers of rock and roll and one of the longest lasting, no one can deny this guy’s presence, both on and off the stage. His songs and live performances are anthems for the ages that will live forever. And yet, his escapades and wild life off the stage were even more fiery than those the world saw. This film highlights both sides of the man exceptionally well.

I AM EVERYTHING gives viewers a combination of newly filmed interview footage from those who knew Little Richard best, from his greatest triumphs to deepest hardships, and rare archival footage of Penniman and many of his musical contemporaries and fans, including Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and even The Beatles, who covered many of his songs. The footage, old and new alike, is a revelation. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of Little Richard, or a newbie who finds yourself interested in exploring his discography more thoroughly, this is an ideal film that has all the bases covered. Clocking in at only about 100 minutes, it’s briskly paced yet highly informative.

If there’s one minor weakness with the otherwise impressive film, it’s that some parts of Richard’s life are largely glossed over and rushed. For example, his ex-wife is interviewed, and it’s mentioned that the two divorced, but this feels like an afterthought without much detail. It would also have been nice to get more interview footage from some of the superstars who knew/admired Richard; while I respect the movie for not glossing over Penniman’s alternative lifestyle, one can’t help but feel like there are a handful of moments that could’ve been better utilized, especially considering the relatively short run time.

Minor shortcomings aside, I AM EVERYTHING lives up to its title, showing off all sides of Little Richard’s life and career. For any fan of the old school pioneers of rock and roll, or documentaries in general, it’s essential viewing. Highly recommended!

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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