IMDb > Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns) (2002)
Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns)
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Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns) (2002) More at IMDbPro »


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7.7/10   653 votes »
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Down 32% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
View company contact information for Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns) on IMDbPro.
Documentary about the music group They Might Be Giants. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Masters of Syncopation See more (25 total) »


  (in credits order)

John Flansburgh ... Himself
John Linnell ... Himself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gina Arnold ... Herself
Michael Azerrad ... Himself
Adam Bernstein ... Himself
David Bither ... Himself
Frank Black ... Himself

Linwood Boomer ... Himself
Brian Cohen ... Himself
Patrick Dillett ... Himself (as Pat Dillett)
Sue Drew ... Herself

Dave Eggers ... Himself
Jake Fogelnest ... Himself
Joe Franklin ... Himself

Janeane Garofalo ... Herself

Ira Glass ... Himself
Jonathan Gregg ... Himself
Dan Hickey ... Himself (Drums)
Kurt Hoffman ... Himself

Mark Hoppus ... Himself
Al Houghton ... Himself

John Houlihan ... Himself
William Ingoglia
Mike Kelly ... Himself
Jamie Lincoln Kitman ... Himself (as Jamie Kitman)
Josh Kornbluth ... Himself
Bill Krauss ... Himself
Robert Krulwich ... Himself

Michael McKean ... Himself
Dan Miller ... Himself (Guitar)
Glenn Morrow ... Himself
Alex Noyes ... Himself

Conan O'Brien ... Himself

Annette O'Toole ... Herself (voice)
Gary Ray ... Himself

Andy Richter ... Himself
Raoul Rosenberg ... Himself

Harry Shearer ... Himself
Paul Simon ... Himself
Michael Small ... Himself
Jim Stabile ... Himself

Jon Stewart ... Himself
Syd Straw ... Herself
They Might Be Giants ... Themselves

Sarah Vowell ... Herself
Danny Weinkauf ... Himself (Bass)

Ben Hauck ... Himself (uncredited)
Matt Hyland ... Himself (uncredited)

Directed by
AJ Schnack 
Produced by
John McGinnis .... associate producer
Shirley Moyers .... producer
Original Music by
John Flansburgh 
John Linnell 
Cinematography by
Yon Thomas 
Film Editing by
Jason Kool 
Alisa Lipsitt 
Sound Department
Mat Dennis .... sound recordist
Patrick Dillett .... sound re-recording mixer (as Pat Dillett)
Guillermo Escalona .... sound mixer
Bill Jenkins .... post-production sound mixer
Evan Meszaros .... sound recordist
Antonio Pedroso .... boom operator
Special Effects by
Brian O'Connell .... animation production director (cartoon "Dial-A-Song") (cartoon "Drinky Crow")
Visual Effects by
David Tarleton .... After Effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Owen Foye .... key grip: additional unit
William Ingoglia .... lighting designer: concert lighting
Evan Meszaros .... camera operator
Animation Department
Tony Eastman .... animator
Tony Millionaire .... character designer
Richard O'Connor .... animation director
Mary Varn .... animator
Editorial Department
Jonathan Slater .... editor: titles
Jonathan Slater .... on-line editor
Music Department
Linda Cohen .... music supervisor
Patrick Dillett .... concert music engineer/mixer (as Pat Dillett)
Other crew
Terry L. James .... digital film transfer
Stephanie Meurer .... staff: Bonfire Films
Nathan Adams .... special thanks (2002)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

102 min
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Annette O'Toole narrates a letter in the film during one of the film's "history" sequences, and did the research herself. She had been out of town filming "Smallville" (2001) when the director came to film her husband, Michael McKean.See more »
John Linnell:[about "Flood"] A lot of albums these days have ten or less songs on them, and that pisses us off. This new album of ours has nineteen songs. That's why ours is better.See more »
Movie Connections:
Features "Brave New World" (1999)See more »
Hope That I Get Old Before I DieSee more »


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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
Masters of Syncopation, 20 November 2007
Author: Blake ( from United States

I have long valued the music of this group, though they seem to have been on a gradual slide since this was released. It's a very intelligent work. It has an effluence of dim exposition like in similar presentations, but stands apart in that it doesn't depend on same. It's quite self-aware and competently engineered, as a stylized annotation of this type of music.

If you read most dissertations on They Might Be Giants, it's a lot of stuff about whimsicality and the macabre. Hogwash. If that's the essence of these guys then they're no more notable than countless other musicians.

Their appeal lies entirely within their ethic. That is, the song subject is subservient to the orchestration and not vice versa. The result is an inverse of rigid songwriting standards. The energy of the songs is within the shifting layers of their composition, which is highly transitory (an explanation for this is overtly given in the film, and why the Giants chose this direction. Hint: it's in the segment about Dial-A-Song); the notes veer off trajectory from what listeners normally expect from pop music, because most of the time in pop the complex interaction of sounds is reduced to being a mere extension of the lyrics. Two dominating concepts are, turgid filler about love heartaches, or narrative story that steers the sound like a train. Blunt, unvaried, no creativity, no adventurousness.

With TMBG it's the opposite. The words hover at a distance from the instruments, sometimes above, sometimes beneath, sometimes in both places concurrently, always as discordant strands. Yes, colorful and evocative as fans often express but that isn't the only facet. And it's that antithesis of pop's bland sameness which the label execs tried to corner these two into adopting after they enjoyed some early success, and endures through tripe like Britney.

Most of the running commentary here struck me as facile; mundane espousals made funny by the commentators being totally sincere in their blather. Paradoxical that Syd is not and yet she is particularly tiresome. Same as her writing. You get much more sublimity just from the various recitals (by no less than Janeane Gorofalo!).

The director knows all this. His work here approaches greatness in how he mirrors the Giants aesthetic in concept and execution. He uses those bits of chatter as swatches and arranges them according to the requirements of the abstract fabric he's weaving. This shows a highly developed understanding of the "rock-doc" form.

One of the talking heads describes the band as the "vanguard of alternative," which illustrates the basic difference of this production vis-à-vis other rock-docs. A minor overview of the Hell's Kitchen scene, the arguments with record label execs, and a tidbit about coffee addiction replace rote enumerations of band member drama, rampant sex, and drugs. These are all explicitly referenced and made fun of.

But the most essential point of all is the flow. See how it careens forward and backward in chronology and off-topic, equivalent to the music itself. A passage here and there interrupted right in the middle with a long concert footage excerpt. Now back to the film. Now backtrack to a few years ago for a forgotten aside. Meticulously designed, yet an apparent jumble. That's where it's at.

Oh, and I do prefer John and John's output prior to the Band of Dans. But if you aren't familiar with these fellows I recommend you seek out their "Lincoln" LP before watching this. It's a prime example of how well they can layer and shift dissonant sounds throughout the listening space to arrive at something both tangential and harmonious. It is entirely what this film defines and is defined by.

Blake's rating: 3 (out of 4)

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