The Devil and Daniel Johnston

The Devil and Daniel Johnston

DVD - 2006
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The turbulent life of a genius musician battling manic depression. A favorite with artists such as Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Beck, and many others, view the singer-songwriter-artist through his art and interviews, and in the eyes of his fans.

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lukasevansherman
Jul 16, 2014

For quiet a few, madness and artistic creation are still peas in a pod. This is mostly rubbish of course, so it is striking to come across an artist that is genuinely teetering on (and sometimes crashing over)the brink of madness. Such is the case with Daniel Johnston, a longtime cult fave and hipster touchstone. Far from being a garden variety eccentric, the Southern born and bred Johnston had some heavyweight mental problems and was in and out of institutions. This didn't stop him from creating lo-fi, Beatlesque songs (often about love or super heroes) and oddball art. This funny, insightful, poignant documentary tracks Johnston's picaresque journey, from his humble W. Virginia beginnings to his rise to cult favorite (Cobain, B.H. Surfers, Sonic Youth) to his battles with mental illness. Even if you have no interest in his music, Johnston is a truly fascinating figure (almost Quixotic!) and the film is never less than compelling, sometimes unbelievable, both for its portrait of a truly singular artist and its unflinching depiction of mental illness. It's an exhilarating and ultimately triumphant movie, unlike so many crappy Hollywood movies along the same lines (Shine, Benny & Joon). Yeah!

l
lyleminn
Jan 09, 2013

It's a great movie about a disabled mind and his use of music. Scary and heartwrenching tale with amazing music that sound like a lot of bands did in the 90's in fact some even covered his music and kurt cobain wore his t-shirt.

j
Jingting
Dec 13, 2011

This is THE worst movie ever. Period. And Siskel & Roper give it a thumbs up?!? Boggles the mind.

v
vickiz
Jul 04, 2010

This is an engrossing, heartwrenching profile of the troubled musical genius - sometimes harrowing, sometimes hilarious, ultimately inspiring.

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