Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Forward Thinking: Conchords: the movie

Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords. Photo / Supplied
Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords. Photo / Supplied

So Bret McKenzie, the bearded one in Flight of the Conchords, says there are plans for a FOTC movie as an encore to the duo's late lamented telly series. They don't have a story just yet, which could be a stumbling block. But I have some ideas.

Great films about musicians fall into two camps. They're either biographical (like I'm Not There, or Control), or they follow a band or artist on a tour or a journey of some sort (like Almost Famous or rockumentaries like Gimme Shelter).

The duo don't have the depth of career to qualify for a fictional biographical film just yet. But how about a buddy road trip tour movie? We can have all the ingredients of a good rockumentary - an all-too sudden rise in fame, groupies, integrity issues, feuding, therapy, experimentation with other genres, experimentation with drugs, and celebrity cameos.

And it's about time the duo left the Big Apple too.

We don't want to leave the motley crew of New York friends they've built up behind though - what would they do without No.1 crazed fan Mel? I doubt Mel would let them leave without her anyway. Surely she would rope her long suffering husband Doug in to follow the lads in a campervan, so she can continue to lust after Jemaine's lips and Bret's skilful hands.

Maybe she could even narrate the film - like budding teen rock scribe William Miller in Almost Famous. Though it could get a bit creepy and voyeuristic through Mel's eyes so it could be better if bumbling manager Murray told the story. Yes. I can just hear Murray's naive commentary on their adventures. Failing that, it might be useful for the DVD commentary later.

So, they've finally decided it's a good idea for FOTC to try their hand in LA, and they set out to play their way across the states. Of course, given Murray's incompetence, and Bret and Jemaine's combustible relationship, things don't go as planned ...and wildly deadpan hilarity ensues.

They can't afford a proper big-rig tour bus. Murray hires a tiny gypsy housetruck instead. They are a folk duo after all. Their tour begins in the Florida Keys. Bret's always wanted to go there and see the marine life.

Their first aquarium show goes really well. Bret writes a song about dolphins in captivity entitled I'll find my own fish thanks (and my own sense of porpoise). It becomes a hit.

Jemaine gets jealous when Bret gets lots of press coverage about the song, including some hearty encouragement - two thumbs up! - from Paul McCartney who is holidaying nearby. Jemaine thinks Bret is selling out. Cue musical interlude: Jemaine busking by himself on a boardwalk.

Mel tries to persuade Bret to apologise, but he doesn't see why he should, and Jemaine gets jealous when he thinks the pair are conspiring against him.

Will Mel become their Yoko Ono, causing a rift in the band? Cue cameo from the real Yoko Ono, also holidaying in the area.

The pair's competitiveness rises. It culminates in an underground rap battle in Atlanta, involving many barbed insults. The battle is judged by Andre3000, who lives locally but holidays elsewhere.

By the time they reach Texas, Jemaine is so fed up he storms off. He is befriended by some hillbillies who take him to a hotrod show, teach him how to play rockabilly, and make him drink moonshine.

The evening ends with Jemaine on a roof shouting "I am the golden Conchord! Watch me fly!"

They do. He breaks his leg. Under the influence of painkillers in hospital, David Bowie appears - as he has before - to Jemaine encouraging him patch things up with Bret. "Fame makes a man take things over, fame lets him loose, hard to swallow, fame puts you where things are hollow" he sings, explaining that it's not Bret's fault. So the pair make up, realise they have all this great material for new songs, and drive off into the sunset. The End.

Or something like that ...


- NZ Herald

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Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Childhood music lessons eventually led to degrees in music and media studies for Lydia Jenkin, launching her career as an entertainment writer. A love of late nights watching local musos - whether in dingy bars or at summer music festivals – saw her become assistant editor at NZ Musician magazine for nearly five years before she jumped at the chance to join the TimeOut team. She's at her happiest when ranting about her latest music discovery, but is equally keen on excellent film and television (The Dark Horse and True Detective are her picks so far for 2014).

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