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Derailroaded (2005)

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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 172 users   Metascore: 57/100
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A documentary on the life and music of manic-depressive, paranoid-schizophrenic cult music icon Wild Man Fischer.


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Credited cast:
Wild Man Fischer ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Harold Bronson ...
Herself (archive footage)
Josephine Chuey ...
Irwin Chusid ...
Dennis P. Eichhorn ...
David Fischer ...
Richard Foos ...
Robert Haimer ...
Barry Hansen ...
Himself (as Dr. Demento)
Fugly the Klown ...
Himself (archive footage)


A documentary on the life and music of manic-depressive, paranoid-schizophrenic cult music icon Wild Man Fischer.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


My name is Larry. Manic depressive. Paranoid schizophrenic. Rock legend.



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March 2005 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Freak consented to do an interview in exchange for a bottle of vodka. See more »


Wild Man Fischer: You gotta have three things: you gotta have talent, you gotta have luck, and you gotta have persistence.
See more »


Features Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1967) See more »


My Sweet Little Cathy
Written by Wild Man Fischer, Bill Mumy, and Robert Haimer
Performed by Wild Man Fischer
See more »

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User Reviews

Fine Film, Poor Music
6 March 2007 | by (Utah) – See all my reviews

It is hard to separate a documentary from it's subject. The film was entertaining and insightful. It captured the life of Wild Man in a way that was honest and insightful. I really enjoyed the inclusion of his family as well as his past friends and collaborators. What I found hard to stomach in this film was his music - and a few of his 'critics' who thought his music was original outsider art/music. I could not fathom anyone thinking his lyrics and especially his music anything but naive babble. I know that a big part of outsider art is it's naiveté and that it is sometimes hard to find the core of creativity in this. But usually something - composition, a vision, a perspective - something comes through to make it art. His music is mostly spontaneous ramblings that have no coherence. I've heard much of this sort of thing coming from toddlers and preschool children. I composed some great tunes to my dog last night (but I may have obscured my tunes in too much irony to qualify as outsider music?) One of the critics, I believe it was the Rhino records executive, started to analyze one of Wild Man's tunes as if it were a clever comment on society and I laughed out loud. I think he is most akin to the dadaists - and most of their work has not stood the test of time - and is more important as a historical movement than an artistic one. Can you name a Dadaist - besides Man Ray or Marcel Duchamp (both of whom may also be classified in other artistic movements). But opposed to the Dadaists, his music is not really protesting anything - and is not (as the really annoying Mark Mothersbaugh in this film suggests) reacting to prevalent musical trends occurring in the late 60's and 70's - resulting in a nascent punk genre? Mothersbaugh's contention that the white-get-drunk-party 'concert' rock of the 70's as being bereft of meaning and conformist is ridiculous. His music is the answer? I have Devo albums and although I like them still - they are silly, pretentious at times, and hardly have any deep meaning. I also have some Styx albums (an example of the concert rock genre) - and although also silly and contrived at times, I believe have more heartfelt and sincere sentiment (mostly non-conformist at that) in the lyrics than most new wave (is this even a music term anymore) or punk tunes. 'Concert' rock was perhaps over-produced, and punk - under - but both were often saying very similar things. Disco however.... (Although I like some Disco too - usually in an ironic way - but then again that foot sometimes starts tapping itself into places where the ears fear to tread).

Now I have to compare this to another documentary that I saw a few years ago - 'The Devil and Daniel Johnston' the subject of whom is mentioned in Derailroaded (most annoying title of a film?). See this film if possible - it's finally released. This film is amazing! It brought me to tears - in several scenes. The film haunted my dreams, early morning groggy thoughts, and daydreams. And Daniel Johnston, as opposed to Wild Man, is an artist. His music has a point and is almost pure emotion that sometimes tears you apart. (Not so sure about his visual art). Wow.

The pathology of each of these people is rather similar, although mention was not made of Wild Man's drug use (if there was any), and it was a prominent part of Daniel Johnston. However, the personality of each is markedly different. Wild Man - I find very annoying - I think that I am on the side of his family here. I did not believe his depiction of his mother, Frank Zappa, or most other people in his life. Not only is he schizophrenic, and bi-polar (I think manic depressive is actually more descriptive here), but he is also self absorbed, selfish, and egocentric. Daniel Johnston is none of these things. So this makes it also hard to separate these films - Johnston is likable - Wild Man is not. I've know a few people like Wild Man (without the extreme pathology) and have had to work with them - it is not fun - extremely exasperating only touches the surface of a description of the experience. Maybe this personality type is so antithetical to mine that I can not judge the merits of this film objectively - but isn't that true for many of us?

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