Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Devil & Daniel Johnston

This is a great documentary about a mentally disturbed kid who lived on the edge of art and insanity. He drew cartoons and wrote and recorded songs in his parent's basement. They try to force him to work but he can only focus on art. He runs away and joins a carnival and ends up in Austin Texas where he solicits his home made album to the people at the South By Southwest festival. He ends up winning "best song writer" and even gets to perform on MTV winning over artists such as Beck, Wilco, Sonic Youth, and Pearl Jam who have since recorded his music. The film is sad, funny, and sometimes astonishing but in the end, I found it inspiring. Although Daniels art is fueled by the demons that haunt him, you get the feeling that his art might just triumph. The filmmaker, Jeff Feuerzeig, wades through much source material including home movies, audio taped recordings from Daniel's private journal, as well as current interviews from his friends and parents. I thought they could have cut about fifteen minutes out of the film towards the end but overall I loved it.

3 Comments:

Blogger Jordan said...

Just watched this the other night and was about to post about it. I really loved it. He's recorded his entire life so completely through songs and drawings and it made the documentary that much more fascinating because we were really seeing his life evolve on video or audio tape and through his songs and drawings.

Working at the mental hospital I see people like him everyday - bordering between insanity and genius - sometimes they're very pleasant and interesting and sometimes they're delusional and even unsafe.

sad story but i agree with you Drew - very inspiring as well and funny.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Drew said...

I have written two songs since I watched this.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

cool. i like when a movie inspires me to do something creative. that's a good thing.

10:47 PM  

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