Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns

"Very Good"

Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns Review


Do It Yourself is more than a modern colloquialism to describe the practice of rebellion that makes independent-minded artists popular in a certain gritty sector of consumers. It now even has an affectionate and all-too-common acronym, DIY, used in synopsis across the entertainment industry, be it film or music. But the reality is that once a filmmaker or musician gets hyped, you often realize they may not necessarily have come from starving Nowhere (hey there, J. Lo!), but someone with pull gave them an secretive push to get them necessary exposure.

Before you can get yourself too embroiled with these cynicisms against publicity forces, along comes a band with a distinct sound, look, and darkly humorous attitude that is really in it to make music that interests them; if others enjoy it as well, all the better. Such appears to be the case with the alternative group They Might Be Giants, who had their 20th anniversary this past year, which is possibly overly covered in A.J. Schnack's feature length directorial debut Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns.

The dynamic Johns the title refers to are band members Flansburgh and Linnell, the former an outgoing showman obviously appreciative of every fan's praise, the latter the quieter introvert with impeccable pitch. Particularly unusual about this pair is not only their obsession with coffee instead of the stereotypical booze associated with the rock community, but also that they never come across as trying to look good because Schnack's camera is on them. Their combination of personalities, the sharp wit, and reminiscing about 20 years of change in New York's music environs are poignant, funny, and consistently entertaining.

However, at the length of 102 minutes, despite the engaging presence of the central figures, Gigantic lags with its saturation of industry people who state how much they love the Johns, and the influential presence the band has had on alternative music. Not that any of the extraneous individuals are ever boring to listen to, but there are so many of them that what is said ends up feeling repetitious.

This complimentary footage was probably difficult to let go of, especially when seeing the band's success (or lack thereof) in the market because of record company changeovers. But the fact that Flansburgh and Linnell have turned down offers because they feared not being able to compose or play the way they wished sheds more light on their independent spirit than several peers gloating over how wonderful they are. And how about running a Dial-a-Song, an answering machine-based song service, for free? Or being the first band to release a full-length MP3-only album on the Internet? These and other shenanigans aren't just publicity stunts, they are the signs of people who take their work more seriously than any measure of fame that has come with it.

There is a final oxymoronic elegance, which seems to only fit the band better, that a film entitled Gigantic is about two very normal guys doing what they enjoy, getting paid for it, and yet not succumbing to any need to keep up with the glamorous side of the rock world that they've found a special niche in. That Schnack is obviously a fan, and yet keeps his eye on them simple and reflective, deserves praise and attention.

They might be overly caffeinated.



Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns

Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Sunday 10th March 2002

Distributed by: Cowboy Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Fresh: 37 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: A.J. Schnack

Producer:

Starring: as Himself, as Himself

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.