Sunday, January 15, 2006

Freaks Win

Fearless Freaks and I am Trying to Break Your Heart show you the right and the wrong way to make a film about a rock band. Heart is humorless and plodding, assuming that it can be all about the music alone and we'll care. Freaks doesn't make this mistake: the music is there and not there at the same time beause the film-maker-guy lets it be about Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd and how weird and funny and what great people they are. I know the band and the fellas a lot better after watching it--after Heart, I felt like all I learned is that rock n' roll can be boring.

And Wayne Coyne. Jeez. I'm not convinced he has much to do with what makes the music great, but he's, I dunno, he's Wayne Coyne. He has cool hair and I like the suit he wears. His affable, busy-body spirit reminds me so much of various friends I've known through the years. I wish I had that energy. I spent half the movie just scrunching up my face and wondering "what the h*** is that guy thinking?" I mean, how many "rockumentaries" would devote 15 minutes or so to things like the back yard sci-fi movie the band leader is making in his back yard, or to grainy 1970's film of him and his buddies playing football in their tight 70's jeans and KISS haircuts? Not many.

Another interesting comparison to Heart is that in that movie, part of the drama is when they kick out a band member for . . . it's not real clear--talking too much, I think. In Fearless Freaks, the reverse happens: we see Steven Drozd literally in the darkest moments of a heroin addiction and then his bandmates bring him out of it. The message is clear: The Flaming Lips can save your life.

I have to admit that it might be a movie primarily for people who are already fans of the "Flips," but still, it is a nice example of what a rock documentary can be when it treats the people like people and not icons.

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