As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. A freelance sleuth neighbor moves Don to embark on a cross-country search for his old flames in search of answers.
Enjoyable documentary... "I don't wanna be punk, I just wanna be"
"Gimme Danger" (2016 release; 108 min.) is a documentary about the Stooges. As the movie opens, we are in 1973, with the band in a free fall and ready to call it a day, as we get Iggy, Steve MacKay, and other to comment about how bad it was. Pop, then 24 years old, moved back in with his parents in their trailer, After the movie's opening credits, we then go back in time, and we see the humble Ann Arbor roots of these guys, and the even humbler beginnings of the Iguanas and later the Stooges.
Couple of comments: this is the latest movie directed by indie film maker Jim Jarmusch. Here he brings the story of the Stooges, as told to us by the band members themselves, although let's be clear: Iggy gets most of the screen time. Turns out Iggy is quite funny and self-depreciating, certainly as to the early years, when he switch from drums ("I got tired of looking at butts", ha!) to singer and front man. It is quite amazing how the Stooges' sound evolved from the early avant-garde sound (Iggy: "it was like an airplane taking off") to the punk sound of the latter days (the "Raw Power" album). The footage is okay but there is surprisingly not much high quality concert footage (one of the better clips is the classic from their 1970 set at the Cincinnati Pop Festival where Iggy smears peanut butter all over himself while he is crowd-surfing). The lack of high quality footage is more than compensated by the gazillion pictures, which frankly suit the legacy of the Stooges better than the archival footage. The documentary thankfully spends little to no time explaining the 3 decades between the 1973 demise and the 2003 "reunification" (as Iggy terms it, "it's NOT a reunion"), and even the years since 2003 are dealt with in 10-15 minutes. The documentary smartly focused on the key years in the late 60s and early 70s, and that is what makes it so enjoyable to watch. No major revelations, just a solid look at the Stooges. As of course Iggy has the documentary's last words: "I don't wanna be metal, I don't wanna be alternative, I don't want to be punk. I just wanna be".
"Gimme Danger" premiered at the Cannes film festival earlier this years, and finally opened at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati this weekend. I couldn't wait to see it. The Friday early evening screening where I saw this at was not attended well (2 other guys besides myself), but I know this: all three of us laughed a lot and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, Hopefully "Gimme Danger" can find a wider audience via Amazon Instant Video and eventually on DVD/Blu-ray. If you are a fan of music and music history, you don't want to miss this. "Gimme Danger" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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