Saturday, August 19, 2006

Movie: Devil and Daniel Johnston

Daniel Johnston is a singer/fine artist who I think can be referred to as a cult figure. He has certain mental problems, which comes through in his drawings and songs. I first became a fan of his when I heard him on the radio a couple years back, singing his songs about Casper the friendly ghost. Those were some crazy, really cool, wacky songs.

Some people call Johnston a genius, but I think that's a stretch. I think he is extremely gifted, wonderfully creative, and a unique talent. At the same time, he is a seriously disturbed individual, but that's part of what makes him so good.

I just got back from seeing this documentary about him, The Devil and Daniel Johnston. It was good, although I'm not sure if people who aren't fans of his music would find it too interesting. His music wasn't presented all that well in the film, but his life and his struggles with his illness(debilitating manic depression) were interesting and well documented. I felt really sorry for him and his struggles, in the end this was a depressing movie. It reminded me of the documentary of Robert Crumb, called Crumb. Both Crumb and Johnston are depressing people, and there's something about their personalities that is frightening, not the funny kind of scary, but a dark and extremely sad kind of scary. I will not be paying money to take a ride inside these two peoples' minds. I think I will be taking the teacup ride, thank you very much.

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