Gigantic (A Tale Of Two Johns)

AJ Schnack

Gigantic (A Tale Of Two Johns)AJ Schnack
Gigantic is the story of They Might Be Giants, and for all of the film's unique storytelling devices, it simply follows the career arc of John Flansburgh and John Linnell. Even though we don't get any deep insight into the personal lives of these two Brooklynites, outside of their intense caffeine addiction, their story as a band is certainly interesting and groundbreaking. Tracing their beginnings as '70s high school acquaintances to a performance art duo in the '80s playing NYC's East Village, Gigantic exposes their individual perspective on art and music, which have been refined over the past 30 years but hasn't really changed. From their Dial-a-Song phone service, which still operates today, to becoming the first indie band to have a video played on MTV in the '80s to their major label letdown at Elektra to the multitudes of cross-media work in print, internet and TV, the Johns have blazed their own innovative trail. As a songwriting duo, they fit in the classic mould, with Linnell as the true songwriting genius and Flansburgh as the showman and extrovert. We even find Linnell referring to the band as "the shitty Beatles." Their fans are diehard but unlike most aging rockers, indie or otherwise, they continue to connect with college kids with their pop hooks and existential angst. The director, Schnack, approaches the film as a fan, building the story in a very Giants-like fashion. We get fan celebrities performing dramatic readings of their lyrics, like Andy Richter, Harry Shearer and Janeane Garofalo, along with insightful interviews with musical collaborators and fans like Frank Black and the hilarious Syd Straw. We also find the band working their way through the talk shows. In the end They Might Be Giants have been making great music for so long, their fans are now in positions of
power, like the producer of the TV show Malcolm In The Middle who approached them to write a theme song for which they eventually won a Grammy. In 1986 their video played alongside Whitney Houston on MTV and in 2002 they won a Grammy going up against Faith Hill. Their story is one of outsider success within the music industry and it is not a story that is likely to be replicated soon. Although this might not be the film that will bring you onside with their legion of followers, this DVD is absolutely essential for any They Might Be Giants fan. In addition to the great film there is over two hours of extras, including some of their best videos, additional concert footage and TV and radio appearances including a performance of "Birdhouse" in 1990 with Doc Severinsen and the NBC Orchestra on The Tonight Show. Plus: extended interviews, deleted scenes, commentary. (Plexifilm/Sonic Unyon)
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