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Review: David Crosby looks back in 'Remember My Name'

Documentary finds the legendary figure contemplating his life and artistry

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic

David Crosby is still alive. But why? 

It's a question the legendary rocker — 78 years old as of last week — ponders in the honest and open documentary "David Crosby: Remember My Name." He's done enough drugs to kill a stable of horses. He's had major health scares and he's seen his peers die. Yet he's still here.   

Why? 

David Crosby in "David Crosby: Remember My Name."

That's a question for the universe to answer, but director A.J. Eaton captures "Croz" as he is now: contemplative, mournful, full of regret.

"Remember My Name" isn't a celebratory tale, it's a story of alienation and defiance, of taking a hard look back at a life lived. Crosby has managed to turn off most of the people with whom he once made music -- the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young -- and even as a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer he still feels unfulfilled. 

Yet he's an essential figure in the history of rock and roll, and Cameron Crowe — who interviews Crosby throughout the film — treats him as such. If there's a drawback to the film, it's the moments where Crosby holds back and Crowe doesn't push harder; Crosby talks of "boundaries I crossed that you haven't thought of yet" and stories about "a friend who shall remain nameless," and Crowe lets him off the hook. If this is his tell-all confessional as he stares down the end of his life, nothing should be off the table.

Eaton brings Crosby around to his old haunts with varied results; a trip to his former house is a trip down memory lane, but a stop to a neighborhood grocery store is a bust. But throughout, Crosby is true to himself, even if that means coming to terms with being insufferable. "Remember My Name" is a portrait of an artist in reflection, and it's a hard, sobering look in the mirror. 

'David Crosby: Remember My Name'

GRADE: B+

Rated R: for language, drug material and brief nudity

Running time: 95 minutes

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama