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As I AM: The Life and Times of DJ AM

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Those who knew Adam Goldstein — a pioneering plate-mate remixer who survived an airplane crash only to die of a drug overdose — called him a “digital shaman,” a DJ who assumed rock star status. He no more invented mashups than he did the wheel, but he was the first to mix in public, thus kicking the practice to a new level. Suddenly, staid ‘80s-style nightclubs were infused with a style and energy that would soon be copied worldwide. Goldstein honed his art from the backseat of the family car, beatboxing along with the asynchronous directional signals of the blinking red tail lights before him. Childhood friends described their pudgy pal as dangerous, the first kid in the neighborhood to bring drugs to the block. (Mom later admitted, “The real reason he turned to drugs was because he knew his father didn’t love him or like him.”) Amazingly, Goldstein successfully kicked the habit, and for a 10-year period, meditation became the new medication. Much of the narration comes from the source, an audio recording (taped during his sober period) of what sounds like a Learning Annex seminar Goldstein delivered on how not to screw up your life. Whether it’s a swooping camera passing through the empty pews of a Church where AA meetings are held, cherry-picked archival clips, and even atypically superb animated recreations, Kerslake finds just the right pictures to illuminate Goldstein’s disembodied voice-over. So compelling is his handling of the material that by the time it was over, I felt as though I had lost a friend. (2016) — Scott Marks

Rated NR | 1 hour, 37 minutes
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