You know how it is: You’re trying to watch a movie, and some Melvin comes in and starts pointing out everything that’s wrong about it. In this case, said movie is Montage Of Heck, HBO’s recently released scrapbook documentary about Kurt Cobain, which relies on home movie footage of Cobain to tell its story, and the Melvin in question is Buzz Osborne, lead singer and founder of the influential grunge group.
Osborne, a high school friend of Cobain’s whose group often played with Nirvana, wrote a sort of review of the movie for The Talkhouse. His verdict? Not super positive: “People need to understand that 90% of Montage of Heck is bullshit. Total bullshit.”
And while there’s nothing new about people battling vocally for the mental and philosophical high ground surrounding Kurt Cobain’s career and death, it’s interesting to note that not all of Osborne’s blame for the film’s alleged inaccuracy is aimed at Courtney Love. (Although, to be fair, a lot of Osborne’s blame for the film’s alleged inaccuracy is aimed at Courtney Love.) No, he also ascribes some of it to Cobain himself, who was, “a master of jerking your chain.”
Said chain jerks include a story Cobain tells in the film about attempting to have sex with a mentally handicapped woman, and an attempt to kill himself on the train tracks of Aberdeen, Washington. Osborne denies that either story happened, on the grounds that he would have inevitably heard about them at some point from Cobain. (The idea that a shameful anecdote could escape the famed Melvin Panopticon doesn’t seem to rate consideration.) He also discounts the notion that Cobain suffered from persistent stomach pains, claiming that the Nirvana star once told him he’d made up his “condition” to garner sympathy and provide cover for his addiction to heroin.
Osborne did, though, have praise for a few aspects of the film: “I did enjoy the really cool animation, though,” he writes, referring to animated interpretations of Cobain’s sketchbook doodles. “And they did a fantastic job of showing what a depressing shit-hole Aberdeen really was and still is. For that, I salute them!”