Reviews for The Devil and Daniel Johnston ( 2005 ) 1080p

Music and Art could be crap.

By: Jim Kobayashi
I watched the movie just now, and I got to admit the movie is quite interesting. But As people in the board have been discussing over and over, it is what we usually feel after watching movie, "Do people like DJ"Daniel Johnston"s music because he has a mentally illness?" My thought about this topic is Yes, they definitely do.

First of all, I'm not quite a big fan of Lo-Fi music, but I think I have a open-mind to any sort of music and have a confidence to judge any music without slanted view. However, even considering those things, I still can't think his music is way better than the most of the lo-fi or folk-rock artists. and I totally agree with the opinion that "people like him because of his situation and Kurt Cobain's T-shirt." I'm not saying DJ doesn't has any musical talent or any sort because I believe he definitely has, what I want to say is there are much greater or more emotional artists out there in the world, and it is not fair or right that those artists doesn't get a spotlight and people like DJ got one, huge one. But I know music industry is always like this since it started in the first place, and the important thing is this film somehow made me realize it.

However only I thing I hate about the movie and DJ himself, his "Art". I have no idea about Art and I know it's not right that people like me judge the topic by my own understanding. But I'm 100% sure his art is Bulls**t and everybody thought like I did. What was it? I would totally believe if people say some kids draw that "peace of art". Does the art suddenly gain artistic value if the artist who draw it has a mentally illness? Art and Music is very similar considering those ambiguous valuation standard, I figured it out that's the reason why I like and sometime hate both of them so much.

By the way, like I said in the first the movie is simply good. You can enjoy the movie without any knowledge for lo-fi or folk rock music.

Music and Art could be crap.

By: another_girl_another_pla
I watched the movie just now, and I got to admit the movie is quite interesting. But As people in the board have been discussing over and over, it is what we usually feel after watching movie, "Do people like DJ"Daniel Johnston"s music because he has a mentally illness?" My thought about this topic is Yes, they definitely do.

First of all, I'm not quite a big fan of Lo-Fi music, but I think I have a open-mind to any sort of music and have a confidence to judge any music without slanted view. However, even considering those things, I still can't think his music is way better than the most of the lo-fi or folk-rock artists. and I totally agree with the opinion that "people like him because of his situation and Kurt Cobain's T-shirt." I'm not saying DJ doesn't has any musical talent or any sort because I believe he definitely has, what I want to say is there are much greater or more emotional artists out there in the world, and it is not fair or right that those artists doesn't get a spotlight and people like DJ got one, huge one. But I know music industry is always like this since it started in the first place, and the important thing is this film somehow made me realize it.

However only I thing I hate about the movie and DJ himself, his "Art". I have no idea about Art and I know it's not right that people like me judge the topic by my own understanding. But I'm 100% sure his art is Bulls**t and everybody thought like I did. What was it? I would totally believe if people say some kids draw that "peace of art". Does the art suddenly gain artistic value if the artist who draw it has a mentally illness? Art and Music is very similar considering those ambiguous valuation standard, I figured it out that's the reason why I like and sometime hate both of them so much.

By the way, like I said in the first the movie is simply good. You can enjoy the movie without any knowledge for lo-fi or folk rock music.

The Story Of An Artist Or Frankenstien Vs. The World

By: Joseph Sylvers
Wasn't a fan, before this. I was coming in because I heard it was good movie, in of itself, and it is, it's a great, haunting and hilarious documentary. I don't think Daniel Johnston is the greatest living song-writer, but I can see a definite line of influences that can be traced back to his music and sensibilities, that are important enough.

Whether or not you like his music or art, isn't really the point, it's an amazing story, of love, fame, madness, art, religion, family, and community (it takes a village to raise a child, and an small army to keep Johnstn just alive and functioning, not to mention getting his work distributed).

Though in the end it's more bittersweet, than tragic, Jonston's still alive, living with his parents, writing songs to a girl he hasn't seen since college, jamming with kids off the street, and of course, fighting off the devil.

The Story Of An Artist Or Frankenstien Vs. The World

By: loganx-2
Wasn't a fan, before this. I was coming in because I heard it was good movie, in of itself, and it is, it's a great, haunting and hilarious documentary. I don't think Daniel Johnston is the greatest living song-writer, but I can see a definite line of influences that can be traced back to his music and sensibilities, that are important enough.

Whether or not you like his music or art, isn't really the point, it's an amazing story, of love, fame, madness, art, religion, family, and community (it takes a village to raise a child, and an small army to keep Johnstn just alive and functioning, not to mention getting his work distributed).

Though in the end it's more bittersweet, than tragic, Jonston's still alive, living with his parents, writing songs to a girl he hasn't seen since college, jamming with kids off the street, and of course, fighting off the devil.

A fascinating look at mental illness

By: MartinHafer
The first section of the film has to do with the early life of Daniel Johnston as well as his being discovered by the musical world in the 1980s. Most of this didn't interest me at all--especially because I hated his music. When the film tried to convince me of his genius, it completely lost me, as he sounded just awful and hurt my ears (though I do acknowledge that he does have a small cult following who see him as a great genius). He definitely is not nor ever has been "mainstream" and this section of the film was poor compared to the last 3/4 of the film. It just didn't do much to compel the average viewer.

However, when it talked about his descent into madness, then the film came to life and became much more compelling. This section of the film was much longer and seemed to be the most important point of this documentary. The impact on Daniel, his family and those around him was profound and very sad to watch.

Because of my background, I have additional insight into the psychiatric state of Daniel Johnston during the film. As I watched, I noticed that although the film mentions that Daniel had "Manic-Depressive Disorder" (i.e., Bipolar Disorder), there was compelling evidence that a more correct diagnosis might have been a Schizoaffective Disorder. In essence, this is Bipolar Disorder along with Schizophrenia, as Daniel's behaviors and thinking always have a bizarreness that isn't classic "mania"--where you'd typically see bizarreness mostly during manic stages. He was so disorganized, occasionally hostile and had such bizarre thinking that this seems like the correct diagnosis instead of Bipolar Disorder. His talking about demons and obsession with his own self-styled religion is just plain weird. Additionally, the hospital prescribing Haldol is indicative of a more severe thought disorder. Normally, with a Bipolar Disorder, they would prescribe antidepressants or Lithium--not a severe mind-altering drug like Haldol. Haldol is practically an elephant tranquilizer and patients on it often are somewhat zombie-like--and it's often given to violent and severely psychotic patients in emergency rooms.

Late in the film, there was an emphasis on Daniel's artwork--not just his music. Despite many declaring it to be great, I found it fascinating because it gave great insight into Daniel's twisted vision of the world--with drawings of devils, monsters and a man whose head is cut in half (a representation of himself). Did I think it was "great"? No--far from it, but the insight it gave was incredible. And, at times, the claims others made about his greatness seemed a bit like hyperbole (saying he was the equal to Brian Wilson for example).

A fascinating film that was well-constructed--using audio tapes, video, interviews and a few scenes of Daniel today. Well made and worth a look.

eh... really?

By: GrossFlick21
Everyone I talked too about this documentary said it was one of the best and a must see. I however, strongly disagree.

First off. It's just OK. It's not like this incredible film thats worth rushing out and seeing. It's shot pretty plainly, and I actually thought the reenactments of what happened in Daniels life was kind of cheesy and took away from the film.

Secondly, how can people honestly believe that this guy is an incredible artist? He sings the same type of formulated love songs over and over, lyrically he's sub par (to even compare him to Brian Wilson is an insult), and overall is just very bland. To me thats like saying Wesley Willis was an innovative genius. I don't think anyone really had the heart to tell this "artist" he didn't really have an abundant amount of talent. His art was interesting but it was the same blasé bullshit of someone who is mental disturbed. They compare him in the film to some incredible artists such like Sylvia Plath. That was pretty insulting.

Overall the film is just OK. It doesn't really explain why Daniel is so crazy. He's defiantly someone struggling to become something he's not. It's not really worth a look unless your a die hard pretentious music snob. (ya know, "oh man the only good sonic youth album is day dream nation." Those kinds of folks.) Daniel Johnston WAS crazy. Big deal. It's not something worth glamorizing.

The Emperor's New Clothes

By: david-greene5
If, by some chance, you are not familiar with the old Hans Christian Anderson tale, "The Emperor's New Clothes", find a copy and read it before, during or after you view this film. As documentary film-making, I have no question that you have great effort, talent and craftsmanship here. The problem is that the infantile, artless work of the film's subject matter is unbelievably appalling and worthless. The real wonder of the show is the immense volume of praise and adulation that is heaped on the stuff by a great crowd of individuals of all imaginable types. This film strikes me as the most astounding portrait of some sort of mass psychosis ever made. How could all these people be so deluded. Perhaps poor Daniel Johnston would have fared better in life if his inartistic efforts had not been encouraged over the decades.

romanticizing pain and mental imbalance

By: vincent-27
I don't know how to feel about this movie. A friend of mine recommended it and described as "life changing". She happens to a great musician and has similar challenges with life, as do I. I think there is a tendency to romanticize the mentally unbalanced artist. I couldn't help thinking of Kurt Cobain throughout this movie, even before I knew that Daniel influenced his music. Every decade is a reaction to the decade the preceded (or century, day, millennium, whatever) and the 90's was a reaction to the sickeningly sweet optimism and perkiness of the shiny 80's. The 90's was about angst and pain and suffering and ugliness. It seems Daniel was the poster child for these moping musicians.

Now don't get me wrong, I've done my share of moping, and I am a musician but I fight it every single day, it is a useless state to be in, and yet people like Daniel and Kurt wallow in it every single day, they practically bathe in it. It's not healthy, as demonstrated by the death of Kurt and of Daniels many breakdowns. The people that glorify this pain are doing more harm than good. I think the ones that do have a romantic notion of emotional pain, they must not know it, truly know it, because unrequited love might make for good songs, but it's a shitty thing to happen, I can't actually think of anything worse emotionally. At least Daniel turned these feelings into somewhat happy music (which might be where the bittersweetness comes from, the sad lyrics over major chords).

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder (perhaps that is where the eye obsession comes from) and I agree that a lot of his lyrics are quite brilliant "following my broken dreams" is one hell of a line. I have to say though that his art work I don't understand, I suppose it's supposed to match the lo-fi music, but I don't think it's very good.

I guess if you are a fan of Daniel, this movie must be like a wet dream, similar to the Dogtown and Z-boys doc, which had buckets of archival footage, this movie has more archival footage and audio tapes than you could possibly hope for. It's almost as if Daniel was anticipating a film being made about him and was documenting his life in preparation. I feel as though these filmmakers are also probably big Cobain fans and probably secretly hoped that had such a treasure trove of his life. After seeing this movie I suddenly feel bad that I don't have similar archival material of my early days, in fact I recently through out a whole bunch of my early tapes I used to mail to my friend who lived in another city. Then again, I saved the good stuff, most of it wasn't any good.

Is Daniel Johnston a genius? Well the filmmakers and his fans obviously think so. I can only think of all the brilliant musicians I know that are 100 times better who are playing in bars or in their basement and never get to Scandanavia or have music execs battle over them and give them dream recording contracts. It seems that the myth of Daniel is stronger than the actual person, who actually seems quite sad really, much like Kurt was. I am happy that he was able to move out of parents basement though (as revealed in the commentary) and able to buy a house. And he is still playing music, which is important.

Oh well, i've run out of things to say. Pain is pain.

spoiled bi-polar dude

By: stepstosand
Sorry folks there is no genius in Daniel Johnston. As an illustrator he's got some talent. Genius no. There was one or more of those in the colleges I attended. Even better. Musically he's a hack. His writing is immature at best. And his singing is uncontrolled noise. To subject an audience to this kind of mumble jumble and try to pull it off as genius in insulting. By the end I didn't even feel sorry for him. I'm glad he has parents that are supportive and caring. But lets call it what it is. A bi-polar uncontrolled somewhat talented man who may have been a good artist if he were stable enough to be disciplined. Just because you cut off your ear doesn't make you a Van Gogh.

fantastic study of mental illness, and our desire to romanticise

By: chrissyresides
I watched this knowing that I am not a big fan of the music of Daniel Johnston, but found it ceaselessly moving and fascinating. No just because of Daniel's unstoppable creativity and heartbreaking slump into ever increasing circles of mental illness, but because of the honesty of people around him. Saying that they were scared, that they just wanted him to go to hospital and get better, the truth... I really thought this film would be a bog standard "worship the romantic tortured genius" thing, but it actually gave you a really authentic feeling of how terrifying and uncontrollable mental illness truly is. Also, let's see more Daniel Johnston cartoons, the bit with the eye ball flying out of the head on the stack of comic books was absolute genius.

What???

By: Brandt Sponseller
Anyone who reads me regularly will probably know that I prefer watching films without knowing anything about them beforehand. Ideally, I don't want to have even the slightest idea about the plot or subject, the cast, or even who the director was. Of course, that's sometimes difficult to do, but as much as possible, I avoid reading or seeing anything about a film before I watch. I want to be a blank slate at the start of a film, without preconceptions.

I had never heard of Daniel Johnston before. So I watched this film for an hour before I finally realized, to my shock, that it's not some kind of Spinal Tap-like joke, which it seemed to be. When I thought it was a joke, I was enjoying it quite a bit. It appeared to be a mockumentary about a fat, dumpy, mentally ill guy whom people were calling a musical genius--"the best singer-songwriter of his generation", even though as we see in some concert footage, he can't really sing, play an instrument or write songs very well. At all.

In further explication of his "genius", we learn that he also did visual art--which were more or less the standard drawings of a kid obsessed with comic books and possessing some natural talent that could be developed. And we learn that he was an aspiring filmmaker. We see the standard young film fanatic kinda home movies--the kid could hold a camera steady and very rudimentarily frame a shot and do some editing. Nothing extraordinary, but again, maybe some talent there that could be developed. But the film kept focusing on his music, which the main character was maybe the most obsessed with, but for which he had absolutely no natural talent. Seemed funny to me, although maybe a bit too subtly executed to be as hilarious as Spinal Tap.

As it went on, however, it seemed to be less funny, and there were an increasing number of scenes that would have cost a fortune to fake. There were people I knew showing up in the film in historical shots, with Daniel inserted in what I thought was a Forrest Gump way. This was happening more and more, so finally, at the hour mark, I had to run to the computer and check the "All Music Guide" to see if maybe there really was a Daniel Johnston, and this wasn't a joke.

What had been mildly amusing and very quirky suddenly became perplexing. It's hard to believe that I'm not being put on. Now, I'm no objectivist on aesthetic value, but it's very difficult--and pretty frustrating--to see what anyone would find attractive about Daniel's music. He seems to only know a couple chords and very stereotypical chord progressions on both piano and guitar, and he can barely change from one chord to the next. His melodies are arbitrary--they're just whatever pitches happen to squeak out of his mouth as he recites his banal lyrics, which utilize "spoon-moon-June"-styled rhyme schemes. He barely understands rhythm. Yes, he's passionate about what he's doing, but so are the vast majority of people who can actually play an instrument, sing and write interesting songs. Johnston is no Syd Barrett. I'm a musician, too, and I could very literally teach anyone, and I mean anyone--learning disabilities and mental disorders or not--who has never touched a musical instrument before to do something comparable to what Daniel does within a week to a month. Why wouldn't they be considered geniuses? Why wouldn't they be well known, be offered record contracts, etc.? For that matter, why am I not considered a genius?

When it comes to Daniel's mental illness (or illnesses, maybe), the film is much more interesting to me, although I haven't known many people with a serious mental illness, so probably there's not that much very unusual about Daniel on that end, either. I did get to know Jaco Pastorius towards the end of his life, and there were some similar problems there behavior-wise (as well as similar problems for the people around him, including trying to have him institutionalized against his will). However, Jaco actually was a musical genius.

On technical terms, The Devil and Daniel Johnston isn't exactly a bad film. Director Jeff Feuerzeig probably didn't have an easy time of it, because he had to piece together a history of Daniel primarily by relying on home movies of poor quality. There are too many shots of cassette tapes and empty locations, but the film is pieced together competently and tells its story well enough. If you're at all a fan of Johnston, you should like The Devil and Daniel Johnston quite a bit.

But this is not the film that I want to see. The film that I want to see is one that explores the psychological and cultural phenomena of how someone like Johnston can come to be considered a genius, how he can come to work with so many artists who truly are gifted, especially when he continually does things to sabotage himself, and especially when not only do many other gifted artists not ever get a break, but any arbitrary person could do what Johnston does. I doubt I'll ever be able to quite figure it out.

(Edit:) Out of curiosity, I later listened to a few tracks from Daniel Johnston's albums--a couple from the early homemade tapes, and a couple from the later more heavily produced stuff. Oddly, the songs I heard, while not great in my view, showed at least some skill musically and vocally. That makes me wonder why Feuerzeig chose the songs that he did for the film, as they show Johnston as completely incompetent musically.

What???

By: BrandtSponseller
Anyone who reads me regularly will probably know that I prefer watching films without knowing anything about them beforehand. Ideally, I don't want to have even the slightest idea about the plot or subject, the cast, or even who the director was. Of course, that's sometimes difficult to do, but as much as possible, I avoid reading or seeing anything about a film before I watch. I want to be a blank slate at the start of a film, without preconceptions.

I had never heard of Daniel Johnston before. So I watched this film for an hour before I finally realized, to my shock, that it's not some kind of Spinal Tap-like joke, which it seemed to be. When I thought it was a joke, I was enjoying it quite a bit. It appeared to be a mockumentary about a fat, dumpy, mentally ill guy whom people were calling a musical genius--"the best singer-songwriter of his generation", even though as we see in some concert footage, he can't really sing, play an instrument or write songs very well. At all.

In further explication of his "genius", we learn that he also did visual art--which were more or less the standard drawings of a kid obsessed with comic books and possessing some natural talent that could be developed. And we learn that he was an aspiring filmmaker. We see the standard young film fanatic kinda home movies--the kid could hold a camera steady and very rudimentarily frame a shot and do some editing. Nothing extraordinary, but again, maybe some talent there that could be developed. But the film kept focusing on his music, which the main character was maybe the most obsessed with, but for which he had absolutely no natural talent. Seemed funny to me, although maybe a bit too subtly executed to be as hilarious as Spinal Tap.

As it went on, however, it seemed to be less funny, and there were an increasing number of scenes that would have cost a fortune to fake. There were people I knew showing up in the film in historical shots, with Daniel inserted in what I thought was a Forrest Gump way. This was happening more and more, so finally, at the hour mark, I had to run to the computer and check the "All Music Guide" to see if maybe there really was a Daniel Johnston, and this wasn't a joke.

What had been mildly amusing and very quirky suddenly became perplexing. It's hard to believe that I'm not being put on. Now, I'm no objectivist on aesthetic value, but it's very difficult--and pretty frustrating--to see what anyone would find attractive about Daniel's music. He seems to only know a couple chords and very stereotypical chord progressions on both piano and guitar, and he can barely change from one chord to the next. His melodies are arbitrary--they're just whatever pitches happen to squeak out of his mouth as he recites his banal lyrics, which utilize "spoon-moon-June"-styled rhyme schemes. He barely understands rhythm. Yes, he's passionate about what he's doing, but so are the vast majority of people who can actually play an instrument, sing and write interesting songs. Johnston is no Syd Barrett. I'm a musician, too, and I could very literally teach anyone, and I mean anyone--learning disabilities and mental disorders or not--who has never touched a musical instrument before to do something comparable to what Daniel does within a week to a month. Why wouldn't they be considered geniuses? Why wouldn't they be well known, be offered record contracts, etc.? For that matter, why am I not considered a genius?

When it comes to Daniel's mental illness (or illnesses, maybe), the film is much more interesting to me, although I haven't known many people with a serious mental illness, so probably there's not that much very unusual about Daniel on that end, either. I did get to know Jaco Pastorius towards the end of his life, and there were some similar problems there behavior-wise (as well as similar problems for the people around him, including trying to have him institutionalized against his will). However, Jaco actually was a musical genius.

On technical terms, The Devil and Daniel Johnston isn't exactly a bad film. Director Jeff Feuerzeig probably didn't have an easy time of it, because he had to piece together a history of Daniel primarily by relying on home movies of poor quality. There are too many shots of cassette tapes and empty locations, but the film is pieced together competently and tells its story well enough. If you're at all a fan of Johnston, you should like The Devil and Daniel Johnston quite a bit.

But this is not the film that I want to see. The film that I want to see is one that explores the psychological and cultural phenomena of how someone like Johnston can come to be considered a genius, how he can come to work with so many artists who truly are gifted, especially when he continually does things to sabotage himself, and especially when not only do many other gifted artists not ever get a break, but any arbitrary person could do what Johnston does. I doubt I'll ever be able to quite figure it out.

(Edit:) Out of curiosity, I later listened to a few tracks from Daniel Johnston's albums--a couple from the early homemade tapes, and a couple from the later more heavily produced stuff. Oddly, the songs I heard, while not great in my view, showed at least some skill musically and vocally. That makes me wonder why Feuerzeig chose the songs that he did for the film, as they show Johnston as completely incompetent musically.

Genius doc, not genius music/art

By: markbgordon
My wife and I love docs of all sorts and this one did not disappoint. The story is fascinating, and thanks to Johnston's self-absorption there is plenty of material to make it such a true story. Johnston is an engaging character. His history is engrossing and his illness is tragic and curious. The trouble I have with this doc is how people perceive his product. His music is terrible. If I had seen him perform live I would swear he's making that garbage up as he goes along. I don't want to pick on him. Though I do want to pick on all those out there that saw Cobain wearing his shirt and suddenly regarded this poor troubled man as a musical genius. I have great respect for avant-garde and experimental music. I am a huge fan of Mike Patton and Morphine's The Night and many artists that challenge the listener. Johnston is not a genius but is surrounded by people who want him to be one. Everyone wants him to be Van Gogh and everyone wants credit for seeing the brilliance in his childish work. The truth is he is being exploited by his "fans" rather than supported by them. For all my criticism about his music and art I loved this film and if you get a chance see it.

Pointlessness...

By: ddunn-2
Go to iTunes and listen to the collected works of this genius. To compare him -- as was done in the film -- to Bob Dylan, is total nonsense. His early work sounds like Howard Stern. This person is no more interesting than three other people down your street, down every street, in every town.

This is much to do about nothing...

I actually sat through this lame film from end to end and then listened to every song this guy recorded, along with multiple version by real musical artists. There is NOTHING there.

Watching this movie is liking watching all of your home movies over your life, and picking out the few really clever moments, then proclaiming you have witnessed genius. In that sense, we all have some genius in us. Perhaps that is the point?!?
By: Michael Senft
The Devil and Daniel Johnston is an unflinching yet loving look at the outsider musician's life. It's also the most revealing look at genius and mental illness since Terry Zwigoff's 1994 documentary Crumb.

The right to madness and imagination.

By: come2whereimfrom
Surely this is the most moving piece of film about not just a musician but also a portrait of someone who suffers, copes and lives with depression. Cut together with home movies, family photos, concert footage and interviews old and new it tells the extraordinary life of this very talented but tortured artist. There has always been a link between madness and creativity; artists are slightly different, outsiders, free thinkers, they must be a bit mad to make the work they do. But the story of Daniel is one of actual mania, real madness, deep depression and an immense body of work from, films to music to paintings and sketches. It tells it like it is, it shows him at all times falling apart, going in and out of mental hospitals and still working prolifically. The interviews with his parents are very moving as they at times are reduced to tears and lost for words. Seeing Daniel now how he is as apposed to how he was is also a lump in the throat moment. He sits hunched over his piano, staring into space, banging out song after song and smoking cigarette after cigarette it is heartbreakingly fascinating. But putting his mental health to one side for the moment lets focus on the work, Daniel has amassed literally thousands of tapes full of songs and spoken word, he used to make so many films and has an equally large collection of drawings and art. This amount of work is what makes this documentary so good. You can tell the whole story when it has been so well documented like this from the very beginning right up to the present day every part of Daniels journey is either on tape or film whether it was documented by himself or the likes of MTV. So this portrayal is fascinating, heart-warming and sad but it shows the real genius behind Daniels music that has not only sold records on its own merit but has been covered by over 150 of the worlds top recording artists. If you don't know about Daniel Johnston isn't it about time you found out?
By: Rene Rodriguez
A heartbreaking, yet strangely uplifting and inspirational, exploration of the fine line between genius and madness, and how sometimes, one becomes impossible to discern from the other.

A great movie

By: nmllover2003
I've never heard Daniel Johnston's name before seeing a trailer for this movie. My curiosity was piqued and I have to say, this movie was an incredible "accidental" find on my part. The story of his life, the way the movie was produced, are really touching and really makes one realize the artistic talent of this man and the impact of a mental illness (and it's treatment) can have on his life and his art. I am now a Daniel Johnston fan, as I think his music is fantastic - he isn't the best singer, but the songwriting is phenomenal. It is good to see some of the artists whom he has worked with and who have performed his songs. Because of his talent, I hope this movie helps build more fans of his songs and art and help his career skyrocket, as it should.

Gifted but troubled artist makes a comeback with the aid of loving parents and good psychiatric care

By: roland-104
Biodoc about Daniel Johnston, a multitalented man, a compulsively prolific cartoon artist, song writer and performer, whose bipolar disorder and drug abuse led to episodes of severe mental illness and destructive behaviors, beginning in his early 20s, in the 1980s, problems that stifled his career for many years, until consistent psychiatric care and kindly parental oversight effected a more stable course for him more recently. Now approaching age 45, Johnston has made a comeback of sorts, reaching a level of artistic self control and productivity that has swept him toward unprecedented recognition.

This film charts Johnston's life and family, ingeniously assimilating materials made by Johnston himself as a kid and young adult - super 8 and video footage; cassette audiotapes; still photos ? as well as contemporary video interviews and stills. By mid-adolescence he was holed up in the basement of his family's home, staying up all hours, writing songs, drawing, making tapes almost nonstop. By his mid-20s he had run away to Austin, Texas, and made a splash on the pop music scene there. But within a year or two, abetted by lots of marijuana and LSD, he began a series of horrendous manic and depressive episodes that scuttled his career, even as he was beginning to receive recognition locally and on a national level.

For much of the next 15 years Johnston was hospitalized frequently after extremely dangerous manic episodes (he seriously injured one acquaintance with a lead pipe, and later interfered with control of his father's small aircraft, leading to a crash landing that, luckily, both survived), zoned out on medications, and vegetating at the family home in Waller, Texas. But in the past few years his course has stabilized.

He's obese, the result of his mood stabilizing medications and inactivity no doubt, and he's no longer the flamboyant, zany free spirit that titillated and frightened so many of his followers in the past. But the film shows us that he is now in better control of his drawing and singing performances than he ever was years earlier. He has been helped immensely by his parents, Bill and Mabel, now in their early 80s, his agent and owner of a small recording company, Jeff Tartakov, and an Austin music journalist, Louis Black, all of whom have worked hard to help sustain and enhance Johnston's reputation as a creative artist.

Their loyal efforts have been well rewarded. The film demonstrates the success of a show of Johnston's more recent drawings at Gallery Zero One in Los Angeles, where over 90% of the works were sold to a single collector before the exhibition even opened. In 2003 Johnston sang before an audience in Sweden that obviously worshiped him. Cartoonist Matt Groening is a fan of Johnston's. Tom Waits and Beck, among many others, have covered his songs. And just a few weeks ago (subsequent to the film) the Whitney Museum in Manhattan announced that Johnston's works would be included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial.

From a psychiatric perspective, a good case can be made that Johnston does suffer from bipolar disorder. But he was compulsively creating art years before his first episode of mood disorder. Like Vincent Van Gogh and some other compulsive artists, Johnston may also have Asperger's Syndrome.

This film is very well crafted until near the end. Actually it seems as if the filmmakers really didn't know how or when to end it. There are a half dozen moments in the last 20 minutes when they could have done so. See more, including examples of Johnston's art work, at these websites: www.museumoflove.com and www.rejectedunknown.com/feature.htm. My grade: B+ 8/10.
By: David Edelstein
I found the documentary surprisingly diverting as a case study.
Torrent Link (magnet) | Hellsing: The Dawn English Subbed | 07.04.1819:18 Uhr VA - The Future of Chillhouse Vol 1 House320 kbit/s 0 / 01.257 Hits VID P2P DDL 0 Kommentare