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Case Number 07036: Small Claims Court

Buy VH1 Storytellers: Alanis Morissette at Amazon

VH1 Storytellers: Alanis Morissette

Rhino // 1999 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // June 17th, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge Patrick Naugle thinks "You Oughta Know" was written about him. He's a glutton for punishment.

The Charge

Get ready to learn why Alanis is so dang angry all the time.

The Case

All of you bitter little pills will be thrilled to see your idol, Alanis Morissette, not only singing some of her famous songs, but also explaining where the inspiration came from for various tunes, discussing some of her personal life stories, and just chatting with the crowd in an intimate venue provided by VH1. One of the biggest female acts of the 1990s—as well as one of the best selling artists of all time—Alanis Morissette spends an evening with you on VH1 Storytellers: Alanis Morissette.

The songs included on this concert include:

• "Hand In My Pocket"
• "You Learn"
• "Thank U"
• "Unsent"
• "You Oughta Know"
• "That I Would Be Good"
• "Still"
• "Uninvited" (bonus track)
• "Head Over Feet" (bonus track)

On the surface this "concert" (recorded in July of 1999) by Alanis Morissette sounds better than it actually is. At the start of the performance, Alanis tells the crowd that this experience of talking about her music is an uncomfortable one since she feels she says everything needed to say in each song. She's not kidding.

While Morissette does discuss various aspects of her music in VH1 Storytellers: Alanis Morissette, it all feels very surfaced and sterile; it's as if she's fulfilling an obligation instead of really trying to connect to the audience. Her reminiscences about her music often being and end with "it was a hard time in my life" or "this came from a break-up," which would be insightful if it wasn't well documented already that her music spews from a well of anger, bitterness, and pain.

And so we're left with the music, which is good, but not great. The biggest problem with this "Storytellers" segment is that it's too short. A grand total of nine songs are included in the feature presentation, and the bulk of them are from Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill" album (once again, a CD filled with mostly self explanatory songs). The performances are passable, but never overly enlightening. The best of the lot—the sappily cute "Head Over Feet" and the City of Angels track "Uninvited"—enliven the proceedings more than the others. Yet I can't help but think fans would have been happier to have gotten a full blown concert than this very small sampling of Morissette's musical styling.

But, I guess that's the curse of VH1 Storytellers; because the artists spend so much time talking about their music, their time for actual singing is cut in half (as evidenced by a recently broadcasted segment featuring an acoustic Bruce Springsteen with his wings clipped). To be blunt, VH1 Storytellers: Alanis Morissette is a concert that will work best for die-hard fans, and little else.

VH1 Storytellers: Alanis Morissette is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame. The transfer isn't anything spectacular, but it gets the job done. The video work is adequate with the transfer showing a lack of any grain, dirt or other imperfections.

The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English. The soundtrack for this concert is excellent—though it's mostly front heavy during the song discussions, the songs are well mixed through both the front and rear speakers. There is also a "music only" option that removes the discussions and lets the viewer listen to only the songs. No alternate soundtracks or subtitles are available on this disc.

The only extra features available on this disc are the two bonus tracks mentioned above. Aside of that, you oughta know you get nothin' else.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 76

Perp Profile

Studio: Rhino
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 1999
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Concerts and Musicals
• Performance

Distinguishing Marks

• Two Bonus Tracks ("Head Over Feet" and "Uninvited")
• Music Only Track








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