Must see movie: The Devil And Daniel Johnston

If you consider yourself a musician of any kind then take one hour and fifty minutes out of your schedule and watch this movie. Originally released in March 2005 on Sony Pictures it The Devil and Daniel Johnstontells the amazing, sad, crazy, unbelievable story of artist and singer song-writer Daniel Johnston.

Director Jeff Feuerzeig exquisitely depicts a perfect example of brilliance and madness going hand in hand with subject Daniel Johnston. As an artist suffering from manic depression with delusions of grandeur, Daniel Johnston’s wild fluctuations, numerous downward spirals, and periodic respites are exposed in this deeply moving documentary. – sonyclassics.com

The best thing about the film is you get to discover Daniel’s music. Songs like “Story of an Artist” completely blow me away. Since I saw the film I keep heading over to Hi, How Are You? the official website of Daniel Johnston and buying music. He was seriously prolific and there are over 400 songs ready to buy straight from his old cassettes as downloads. Rotten Tomatoes gives this movie an 87%, I give it a 100% you should give it a serious viewing.

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on January 11, 2008 at 12:40 pm, filed under video and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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5 Responses to “Must see movie: The Devil And Daniel Johnston”

  1. Todd Fletcher says:

    Sorry to be a hater, but this emperor has no clothes, and it ain’t a pretty sight.

    This garbage is a very revealing comment on our times. We’re so blind and deaf that we praise this guy on the grounds that’s he’s “real and honest”.

    Honesty doesn’t make art, never has. Some of the greatest art ever made is a pack of lies – just see the Sistine Chapel for proof. That hasn’t stopped it from captivating millions, and for hundreds of years. I can stand on the street corner and yell the truth out to the world, and it may make me interesting and relevant, and even a kind of genius, but it doesn’t make me an artist. Only the fusion of artistry and imagination can make art, but to admit that we’ll need the guts to call a loser a loser. Who’s going to do that? It’ll make you unpopular.

    The praise of Johnston is the cherry on top of our decadence, which really now has to be pronounced terminal.

  2. Hi Todd… thanks for the strong reply! I’ve noticed a lot of heated comments when it comes to Johnston’s legacy and I have to say that fact alone will make him an icon. But I whole heartedly love the music he made. The new stuff? No. But the 300+ songs he did early on… totally great.

    There is so much contrived music happening today. Planned from the start the by marketing execs. Ill take honesty in art whether its backed up by talent or not!

    Is he a loser? Well that depends how you see it. Most of us are fashion victims and professional consumers. Maybe its better to not care what anyone thinks, slob out and get off the wheel.

  3. Todd Fletcher says:

    Fair enough, it is all a matter of opinion after all.

    I just found your site the other day and I’m really enjoying it. Thanks!

  4. trails says:

    Todd, in your comment you are referring to one of the core questions of the studies of art: What makes someone an artist? Yep, a hard one innit! This is the question which also refers to things like When are you entitled to be a critic? Where does art stop and entertainment start? etc. Many wise people have written about and discussed these topics. I regard it as rather strange that you discredit Daniel’s lifetime work with a fairly blindfold definition of art, namely that art has to be an intellectual winner product. Damn, this is naive. And naming the Sistine Chapel as a proof is the tip of the iceberg. Your comment seems to be rather full of fear and envy to find good what Daniel has accomplished. Yes you are right, it is all a matter of opinion after all. And it is people who make and form opinions – and it is PEOPLE who make a work of art and add a certain value to it. Art is a social construct and the Sistine Chapel is by no means still so well known for its well thought out system of beauty.

  5. shane says:

    ok… i clicked the video thinking i was going to see a trailer… then, it was like 2 hours later and i found myself at work just about to leave.

    well, first thing i noticed was that his behavior and illness was almost spot on with my friend’s symptoms when you had his breakdown and went manic. SO, i found the mental illness story a bit more interesting. Also found that his obsession with satan and becoming a messenger of god to be ironic because it made me wonder if that is what everyone thinks when this illness happens.

    Regarding his music, well – i’m not so sure if I am a fan. BUT I am a fan of his output and his sincerity and how real the music is. Could i listen to a full album? i doubt it. Would i have enjoyed seeing him perform when he was younger – definitely. There surely is a quality about Daniel that makes his story, work and life radiate in some unique fashion.

    good film :)

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