7.7/10
527
4 user 15 critic

Louie Bluie (1985)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Music | October 1985 (USA)
About the obscure country-blues musician and idiosyncratic visual artist Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong, member of the last known black string band in America.

Director:

Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Starting from childhood attempts at illustration, the protagonist pursues his true obsession to art school. But as he learns how the art world really works, he finds that he must adapt his vision to the reality that confronts him.

Director: Terry Zwigoff
Stars: Max Minghella, Sophia Myles, John Malkovich
Crumb (1994)
Documentary | Biography | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An intimate portrait of the controversial cartoonist and his traumatized family.

Director: Terry Zwigoff
Stars: Robert Crumb, Aline Kominsky, Charles Crumb
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A short documentary in which directors Werner Herzog and Erol Morris make a bet which results in Herzog being forced to eat his own shoe.

Director: Les Blank
Stars: Werner Herzog, Tom Luddy, Michael Goodwin
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction is a mesmerizing, impressionistic portrait of the iconic actor comprised of intimate moments, film clips from some of his 250 films and his own ... See full summary »

Director: Sophie Huber
Stars: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Sam Shepard
Ghost World (2001)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

With only the plan of moving in together after high school, two unusually devious friends seek direction in life. As a mere gag, they respond to a man's newspaper ad for a date, only to find it will greatly complicate their lives.

Director: Terry Zwigoff
Stars: Steve Buscemi, Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson
Kawaita hana (1964)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A gangster gets released from prison and has to cope with the recent shifts of power between the gangs, while taking care of a thrill-seeking young woman, who got in bad company while gambling.

Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Stars: Ryô Ikebe, Mariko Kaga, Takashi Fujiki
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Daniel Johnston, manic-depressive genius singer/songwriter/artist is revealed in this portrait of madness, creativity and love.

Director: Jeff Feuerzeig
Stars: Daniel Johnston, Mabel Johnston, Bill Johnston
Drama

Moving to LA to pursue his film obsession, an oddball film fan bounces around the dregs of Hollywood trying to get work as an actor. His best friend is a young man whose interest in Edward ... See full summary »

Director: Terry Zwigoff
Comedy

A group of friends leave San Francisco in 1983 to start their own marijuana enterprise out in the country.

Director: Terry Zwigoff
Stars: Natalie Morales, Joel David Moore, Adam Rose
Comedy

A man trapped in a marriage to a shrewish wife falls in love with a prostitute.

Director: Terry Zwigoff
Drama

A man abandons his wife and children and checks into a rest home, where he bonds with a terminally ill woman with one special last wish.

Director: Terry Zwigoff
Comedy

Falsely accused of a crime he didn't commit and forced under house arrest at his parent's home, Al Fishkin hatches a plan to clear his name.

Director: Terry Zwigoff
Stars: Fred Armisen
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Howard Armstrong ...
Himself
Ted Bogan ...
Himself
Edit

Storyline

About the obscure country-blues musician and idiosyncratic visual artist Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong, member of the last known black string band in America.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

October 1985 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
an auspicious, unusual, and musically alive debut movie
12 August 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's hard not to think back to Crumb and size that up to Terry Zwigoff's first feature documentary, about blues musician Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong (named so after a woman called him "Not *that* Louie Armstrong, just Louie 'Bluie'"). In part because one wants to size up how a director's career got started on a subject that seems as obscure as a blues musician only familiar to real blues fans, but also how the film is made in a similar style.

Zwigoff has close access to his subject here, as well as Armstrong's long-time friend and fellow blues musician Ted Bogan (the two of them alternate on various guitar and string instruments), so much so that one almost forgets that he's making a documentary from time to time as he takes the 'fly on the wall' approach. He's in the room, and we know the camera is there, but the people talk and act like no one is in the slightest. One scene shows Howard and Ted talking about pants and how Ted's former drunkenness was preferable to how Howard looks at Ted now, "like a hypocrite". It's a small scene, but it shows how deep a friendship the two have that he can tell Ted off and it be like shooting the breeze, and how close Zwigoff can get to the people on camera.

Of course it being about a blues musician, one expects the music. It's here that the film really lights up, showcasing Louie Bluie playing alongside Ted and other musicians. One of the revelatory pieces in the documentary- that is not just for him but other African-American musicians from his time period (by that I mean the 30s through the 50's in the South and Mid-West and so on)- is that Country music was often something that they had to play, and enjoyed playing. We see that Armstrong plays as mean a fiddle as one might ever see, but not only that but even more unexpected kinds of music, like German songs. He goes beyond traditional blues, and even Country, into some kind of idiosyncratic muddle ground that is delightful to listen and to just see unfold on stage or in a small, intimate setting like a living room.

And Armstrong, on camera, is just one of those magnetic, funny kinds of presences. He's down to earth and funny, sometimes disarmingly so in that kind of bragging way blues musicians have (he talks about bedding all ages of women, and they asking him sometimes how old he is: "'How old am I?' 'You want my birth certificate?', he recalls). He's an all- around artist that paints and draws (as in Crumb we get close-up pictures of his illustrations, as unconventional and truthful in a harrowing way as R. Crumb had) and has poetry, and when it comes time to talk about the given racism and discrimination that was rampant in the South at the time, there's some fascination that goes past the usual; one learns, for example, how black musicians would learn and speak immigrant languages to circumvent the racism.

If there are any slight issues it's that the movie is almost too short, being at 60 minutes (it says 75 on IMDb, though the Criterion DVD lists it as only for this), and one can tell how extremely low the budget is by the times, even in this sparkling transfer, how out-of-focus some of the shots are, how it could only be grabbed one time and with little light sources. But for any blues aficionado, or a newcomer, such as both of the main characters Steve Buscemi and Thora Birch would play in Zwigoff's own Ghost World, it's the find of the year, or years, being that it's been virtually unavailable since its limited release in 1985 (except for $100 a pop for bad VHS copies on Amazon).


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page