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We Jam Econo - The Story of the Minutemen
We Jam Econo - The Story of the Minutemen
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 31min

WE JAM ECONO - THE STORY OF THE MINUTEMEN is the acclaimed feature-length documentary on the too-brief life of one of the most revered, intriguing, and inspired American bands ever. At the heart of their story is the immea...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Pop, Rock & Roll, Other Music, Documentary
Studio: Plexifilm
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 06/27/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 31min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French

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Movie Reviews

A fine effort, eclipsed only by the brilliance of its subjec
Paul Romano | San Francisco | 09/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I really like these DVDs, and highly recommend them to both fans of the Minutemen and those curious about these acknowledged pathbreakers in punk/indie music.

To be sure, a number of the criticisms noted by other reviewers are on the mark. For example, there are possibly too many commenters; a large number pop up for one relatively un-illuminating comment (e.g., how great a drummer Hurley is, how funny a dancer Boon was, etc.). It would have been nice to have more sustained commentary from fewer commenters, but that's not a major fault.

And I'll agree that this isn't a highly polished effort, like the Clash documentary WESTWAY TO THE WORLD, or the Pistols documentary THE FILTH & THE FURY, but then I somehow don't think that would be appropriate for the Minutemen. These were working men, not art students. Fashion wasn't real big on their list of concerns; passion was.

And it's true; D.Boon's death is not dwelt upon at length. I think it would have been at a minimum redundant to do so, and possibly in bad taste. I think the filmmakers handle it with a deft and light touch that does not in any diminish the impact. For anyone who knows the band, of course, D.Boon's death hangs over the preceeding years of the story anyway. You dread getting to that inevitable part of the story. The filmmakers do not invite you to wallow in emotions; they allow you to breathe. I appreciate not being treated like a Spielberg fan.

I cannot fathom the reviewer who felt that Mike Watt was unemotional; I had the distinct impression that he was on the verge of tears at least three times in the segments that appear in the main documentary. My heart went out to him and George all over again, just the way it did when I first heard about D.Boon's death all those years ago.

Overall, I think the documentary succeeds in its basic aims - to tell the story of the band, to try to get across what made them so special out of all the bands in the American punk milieu, to explore the personal, social, & historical contexts out of which the band members (esp. Boon & Watt) emerged, and to show the extraordinary power of the band live.

You come away from the documentary (which is only the main draw to this generous package) understanding how these guys were able to achieve so much, including writing one of the greatest love songs I've ever heard, albeit not a romantic or erotic one ("History Lesson Pt. 2"). You will appreciate anew their extraordinary musicianship, their work ethic, and their down-to-earth approachability. I vividly remember chatting with them after an incendiary gig they played with Husker Du, Meat Puppets, Saccharine Trust, & Swa in San Jose in '84 - they were truly interested in talking to their fans).

The extras are great - the 3 videos are great to have, and the footage of the 3 live shows is just precious beyond words. I saw the Minutemen live 5 or 6 times from 1980 to 1984 and they were always at least good. They poured everything they had out on the stage - I think it was something like a moral obligation for them to do that for their audiences.

Buy this and be reminded of what can be achieved by 3 lowly 'corndogs', and how simple it can be to be decent, human, humane, dedicated, and fearless. I miss them. RIP D.Boon, and long life and best wishes, Mike & George."
You're Not Eskimo: Better Than Dylan
danger ex machina | Philadelphia, PA | 01/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Mister Director, this is better than Dylan to me. What, with all these brats buzzing around like insects in their Misfits and Clash t-shirts straight from Hot Topic (forget that they've never even listened to 'em), somebody has to wisen em up. Sit down and listen to Papa Mike for a while, kid. Punk was (and IS) never about clothes. Watt serves as the anchor for the film, mostly from the driver's seat of his van, waxing off on everything from clay wheels to Richard Meltzer along the way. George Hurley is a given, but everyone from Chuck Dukowski to Spot to Thurston Moore to the members of The Urinals/100 Flowers add their own take on the Minutemen story to the mix. And a fine pot of gumbo it is. But wait, there's more! The three videos are worth the price of admission alone. See Ronnie Raygun drop his payload on our boys in "This Ain't No Picnic". Check out D. Boon munching on a pineapple as the "King of the Hill" while a crowd literally fights for his table scraps. The coup-de-gracie is the wholesale destruction visited upon SST's old office in "Ack Ack Ack Ack", 3 Stooges style. The entire Bard interview intercut throughout the film is presented in its entirety, complete with a snarky interviewer and the band goofing off between takes. Something like twenty deleted scenes, and three full shows on the second disc round out a rare five star package that's actually worth the three hours at my crummy job to pay for it. Like Watt says, you can't help when you're born...some before, some during, some after. But you can let some of those after people borrow "We Jam Econo" or that Screamers DVD Target put out, and maybe, just maybe, a few of em will start their own band, paint their own picture, or write their own book. No sense complaining if you aren't willing to do something else instead, y'know."
The Best
George T. Parsons | Nevada City, CA | 06/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Certainly one of the best music films ever made with the incomparable central figure of D. Boon and his best friend, bandmate and bassist Mike Watt, and incredible drummer George Hurley. It does justice to these guys and that's saying A LOT. It's also a great glimpse into unadorned punk history."
Deserves To Be Seen
djrikv | Chicago, IL | 06/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This film gives an insight into the interwoven lives of Mike Watt and D. Boon more than an overlook into the band itself. "We Jam Econo" offers plenty for the fan as well as the fanatic. Mike Watt's personal tales of D. and George Hurley make for some of the finer moments of the film. The extras on the second disc are worth buying alone. Three full concerts featuring sixty-two tracks!!! One of the 'concerts' is an acoustic performance in which The Minutemen perform a handful of songs from the "Double Nickels" album, including probably the most moving version of "History Lesson, Pt. 2" ever recorded. The camera work and interview sound is a little shaky at times, but over all this film deserves to be seen by anyone interested in learning about a band that made no concessions. Now, go start your own band!!!"