Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Like its star, it's quietly sincere and compulsively watchable.
  2. Reviewed by: Bob Westal
    100
    Compulsory viewing for anyone with the slightest interest in rock history or the power of celebrity.
  3. This may sound an eensy bit hyperbolic, but dig: Mayor of the Sunset Strip is the greatest rock-and-roll movie of all time.
  4. 89
    "Always be good to rock and roll and it will always be good to you," the film quotes Phil Spector as saying, and a more fitting explanation of the Bingenheimer mystique you'll likely never find.
  5. 88
    Ultimately, Bingenheimer seems underwhelmed with himself. The people who know him say, in the movie, that he's a relic. Mayor of the Sunset Strip makes heartbreakingly clear what a glorious relic Bingenheimer is.
  6. 83
    His life stands as a testament to the idea that an average-looking bloke with a can-do attitude and a dream in his heart can rub shoulders with the folks the rest of us only get to read about. And he's got the photographs to prove it.
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Harrington
    80
    An elegy for an aging rock pixie.
  8. 75
    Hickenlooper's film evokes what the Japanese call mono no aware, which refers to the impermanence of life and the bittersweet transience of things. There is a little Rodney Bingenheimer in everyone, but you know what? Most people aren't as lucky as Rodney.
  9. It's a funny-sad portrait of fame and its junkies, and of an era and its music.
  10. 75
    Energetic, nostalgic, occasionally troubling movie.
  11. Hickenlooper does a nice job blending Bingenheimer's flashy past with his somewhat pathetic present, creating a genuinely compelling study in diminishing returns.
  12. 75
    Documents the life of Rodney Bingenheimer, a teenage outcast who parlayed a youthful stint as double for Davy Jones of the Monkees into a 40-year run as a real-life Forrest Gump.
  13. Bouncy, informative and funny documentary.
  14. With very few natural gifts, Bingenheimer managed to spend his life doing something he loved among people he worshipped. At the end of the game, very few people can make such a claim.
  15. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    70
    Anyone lucky enough to have lived within broadcast range of Rodney Bingenheimer's radio show on L.A.'s KROQ during the late '70s had a privileged upbringing, whether or not they realized it at the time.
  16. 70
    What comes through most vibrantly in Mayor of Sunset Strip, shining through Bingenheimer's low-key, laid-back, almost monotone manner of speaking, is how much the music has meant to him, even if it never exactly lined his pockets.
  17. 70
    Hickenlooper can't contain Bingenheimer's incredibly generous spirit -- so generous that, while obviously uncomfortable, he lets the director into his most private moments, including the scattering of his mother's ashes.
  18. 70
    Through Bingenheimer, the film not only gets the last word on the peculiar allure of celebrity, but also captures a fascinating shadow history of West Coast rock, which owes no small part of its livelihood to Bingenheimer's influence as a tastemaker.
  19. Made by Hickenlooper over a six-year period, "Mayor" is rich in interviews, with comments from rock stars.
  20. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    70
    Creepily entertaining.
  21. Keeps its claws carefully retracted. That's probably for the best, since the documentary still leaves a bitter aftertaste.
  22. Reviewed by: Phil Gallo
    60
    Spectacular song selection gives the docu an appropriate rock 'n' roll swagger and accompanying soundtrack would be a valuable overview of the bands championed by Rodney on the ROQ.
  23. 60
    This absorbing documentary by George Hickenlooper (Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse) spends too much time on the celebrities in Bingenheimer's life for its analysis of fame and fandom to rise above the banal.
  24. Gentle Bingenheimer, who retreats from being ''figured out,'' is dubiously honored with unenlightened commentary by people hell-bent on doing so.
  25. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    50
    I wonder if there was a point in the making of this film at which Hickenlooper might have realized he picked the wrong subject. [May 2004, p. 18]
  26. 50
    Engaging, if ultimately wearisome.
  27. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    40
    The resulting portrait seems cruel at times, and Bingenheimer's little-boy-lost expression can be heartbreaking.

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