Touching, funny, sad, inspiring, disturbing, just like it's subject.
Wesley Willis is a true 'outsider' artist. Schizophrenic, hugely overweight, fighting physical ailments, often unwashed, but possessed of enormous talents as a visual artist, and fun, enjoyable ones as a sort of punk musician and songwriter.
But more than that, as tormented as he sometimes is, this is also a man with a huge heart, given to sharing friendly head-butts with anyone he takes a liking too -- which seems to cover a huge part of the human race. And in turn he inspires remarkable loyalty from those who love him - friends who take him in, try to keep him fed, washed, happy. Musicians who want to tour and play with him, or put his music on records, Art collectors who buy his striking line drawings of the streets and skylines of his native, beloved Chicago.
But I appreciate that the film doesn't cover up or ignore Wesley's darker sides – the internal demons that manifest and speak to him, his flashes of anger, his inability to take care of himself. This isn't a romanticized vision of being mentally unbalanced and out on the street, even if it is often a heart-filled one.
It's very frustrating that this terrific documentary is long out-of-print and basically unavailable on DVD, with copies going for hundreds of dollars. It seems like someone should pick up the rights for this - just as with Wesley's music and art, I'm sure it would find an audience.
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