David Foster: Off The Record is not just a praise fest of the talented man. It dives headfirst into his vice – women, David Foster has been married five times and has five daughters and a slew of grandkids. When he saw the grass was greener somewhere else, that is where he headed. This left several broken families in his wake, though shockingly, the daughters who are interviewed here – three of them I believe – all stand by him.
They know he does not view himself as a great dad, more or less living in a music studio, a “submarine” as he calls it, and only seeing them during summer vacations and holidays. But they also know that he loved them as best he could and, no matter what time of day, or what he was doing, their dad always picked up the phone when they called. In the studio recording with Barbra Streisand? She’s put on hold while he talks to his children.
“... does a remarkable job…at capturing every facet of the man…”
Avrich does a remarkable job through all of David Foster: Off The Record at capturing every facet of the man, seemingly leaving no stone unturned. As much as he demands from his artists, he is also very keen on giving up and comers a start, such as with Groban. And the results of such single-minded devotion and control speak for themselves. Which begs the question, was Foster right in being so exacting? The documentary wisely lets the audience decide that for themselves.
But by encompassing everything Foster has done with his life, and bookending it with his attempts to get a Broadway show off the ground, the movie does run a tad long. Just as it seems the documentary is winding down, it has another 15-minutes devoted to his philanthropic endeavors. I am not saying his charity foundation for children who need transplants, on top of all the other charity work he has done, should not be highlighted. It is critical to Off The Record’s goal to examine them. But they are introduced out of the blue and grind the pace to a halt.
Minor pacing issues aside, David Foster: Off The Record is the definitive account of one of the most remarkable music producers of the modern age. It is filled with engaging, dramatic, and humorous stories of him. Peers underneath the man and gets a glimpse of both the dark and light within. It’s fascinating, if overlong, look at David Foster and his world of music.
"…the definitive account of one of the most remarkable music producers of the modern age."