New To Blu: Street Survivors - The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash

Last week saw the blu-ray release of Street Survivors - The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash from Cleopatra Home Entertainment and MVD.

This new title is the harrowing story of the plane crash that killed numerous members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, a manager, and two irresponsible pilots that caused the dreaded accident by not getting a proper gauge on their fuel levels before take off. 

Told through the eyes of rock drummer Artimus Pyle, this film directed by the amateurish Jared Cohn is a true mixed bag of rock and roll excess, terrible editing, drama class level acting, and a terrifying representation of that fateful day. If only there had been a budget attached to the movie and a higher grade of acting, this could have been better. In fact, the story and real life people deserved SO much better. It's disrespectful to their legacy to not get a true cinematic level feature film instead of 

Prior to production of the film, Artimus Pyle was sued by the Van Zant family and the Lynyrd Skynyrd rights holders. They were concerned about how the band would be represented. Despite a former legally binding contract that said no movies could be made about the band with the concern it could alter people's view of the legendary southern rock act, Pyle won his suit because the story mostly focused on him and his own personal view of the crash and survival. With all the details out there in the public eye, Street Survivors paints Pyle as a hero that helped save most of the passengers on the shredded aircraft. Unfortunately enough, the project had a tiny budget and never hits the high notes of a movie like Almost Famous. 

The issue with Street Survivors is that there are no characters. No one gets any back story. And there's nothing for viewers to latch on to. We're just thrown into the middle of Pyle's joining the band, them going on tour, and their constant worries about disaster that singer Van Zant predicted would happen. Why no one ever stepped in and said "No, we're not flying on this hunk of junk anymore" shows exactly how irresponsible their management was, how high on drugs the band mates were, and exactly how money takes precedence over human lives. Sadly enough, Cohn is so busy ticking all the boxes for a made for Lifetime level movie that it's uncomfortable to watch at times. Mixing in real life testimonial from Pyle between scenes takes the audience right out of the movie, skewing it further in his favor. 

The only saving grace for Street Survivors is the flight crash scenario. In an extended take, we see exactly what they went through as the passengers all knew that they were facing death head on. It's painful to watch as they experience a free fall at several hundred miles per hour and the crash that tore the fuselage into numerous metallic pieces. The scenes of the crash are tough to watch and truly build a lot of tension. But, the entirety of the movie is an abysmal failure that relies too heavily on Pyle's own version of the story and some of the worst editing I've ever seen. 

As a fan of all things music, this was on my radar for a while. But, it's really a waste of time and does exactly what the Van Zant estate was worried about. It takes shots at their management, paints the members in a bad light, and spins the entire event into a self serving portrait of Artimus Pyle that even shows off his latest band. The little verbal jabs that Pyle takes at the Van Zant family are off putting and just plain wrong. If you're a fan of Skynyrd, let their legacy be what you remember. Not every tale needs to be told through the slanted visage of a former member that has a score to settle. Disappointment isn't strong enough of a word to describe this wreck.