March 3, 2007

Punks On Acid!

Fearless Freaks, a documentary about Oklahoma City’s finest rock band, The Flaming Lips, is a serious film about professional pranksters.

Eric Waggoner writing in Detroit’s alt weekly, Metrotimes, in May of 2005 says:

Let me be direct: I’m a fan of the Flaming Lips, though not a rabid one. I’ve just spent four days revisiting Fearless Freaks, Bradley Beesley’s documentary which world-premiered last March at the South By Southwest conference. I’ve watched it straight through, I’ve paused, rewound, fast-forwarded and slow-mo’ed. I’ve thought about this a lot, and I mean no hyperbole when I say that Fearless Freaks may be, in its way, the best music documentary ever made.

Some great rock films capture an event or a zeitgeist — Woodstock, Gimme Shelter — and some function as a sort of visual adjunct to a band’s music: Think The Last Waltz or I Am Trying to Break Your Heart. But I’m hard pressed to cite a film that captures the history and the personality of a band more honestly, or more movingly, than Fearless Freaks.

High praise, and from my viewing of the film last night, I’d say worthy praise. The film itself is incredibly well put together, but the subject is what makes it work. Wayne Coyne is an eccentric artist, a.k.a. freak. The people around him are freaks. And they’re all freely freaking in Oklahoma, which adds to the wierdness and intrigue around the band. The film also does a great job of revealing the human side of the protagonists, with their native humbleness and personal infallibility offered up for all to see.

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Music