Jones originally set out to document the recording of Wilco's latest album, "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"; unfortunately for the film's subjects, things get much more complicated when tensions between Wilco mastermind Jeff Tweedy (a leading light in the '90s so-called "alt-country" movement) and multi-instrumentalist collaborator Jay Bennett become unbearable, leading to Bennett's ejection from the group after the disc is finished. The drama continues as Reprise Records, spooked by Wilco's most adventurous work yet on the album, tries to force changes that eventually lead the band and label to angrily part ways.
At the center of this bumpy artistic journey is the brilliant, idiosyncratic and strangely remote figure of Tweedy, a Dylan-like cipher whose discomfort in everyday social situations is fascinatingly at odds with his ability to jump onstage and sing "Outtasite (Outta Mind)" like it's the last thing he'll ever do. The veteran still photographer Jones' black and white, 16mm-shot portrait of this most un-rock-star-like of rock stars can be almost painfully intimate, as when the camera follows the nerve-wracked singer-songwriter into the john for a vomit, but this unique access into Tweedy's private universe is sure to delight Wilco's loyal followers and anybody else who still cares about what's left of rock 'n' roll. Starring Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Leroy Bach, Glenn Kotche and Jay Bennett. Directed by Sam Jones. Produced by Peter Abraham and Sam Jones. A Cowboy release. Documentary. Unrated. Running time: 92 min.