Davis Wimberly | Jupiter Beach, Florida | 01/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A lean and pithy documentary from filmmakers Vickie Hunter and Heather Whinna, Why Should the Devil Have all the Good Music? presents a musical landscape of dedicated listeners and sometimes questioning rock stars played out on the backdrop of the Christian music scene. The camera lets the varied subjects unfold stories of redemption, salvation, and persecution in a loose and comfortable manner reminiscent of Ross McElwee or Errol Morris. For those familiar with the Christian rock scene, this movie will provide a lasting document to the power and faith of a striving music movement overlooked by mainstream media. For those unfamiliar with the Christian rock scene, what you will find is an objective view of the new rise of Christian rock. Filmed mostly at the Cornerstone Music Festival in Illinois, fans and followers of Christian rock, young and old, trace its path, both in the world and for themselves, from a sad mock-up of "dangerous" rock music to a viable and beautiful art-form of its own. Publisher Dan Sinker and recording engineer Steve Albini weigh in on the same rise from the stand point of the world of secular, or regular, music with points on the sometimes pandering sometimes powerful message conveyed therein."
Good thing I viewed all the special features!!
lighten_up_already2 | Kirkland, WA USA | 08/08/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Hey, I've been into Christian Rock for over 25 years. I bought my first Larry Norman album somewhere around 1978, and I saw bands like Sweet Comfort and DeGarmo & Key back when they'd just released their first LPs.
Here's my take on this documentary...
First, it's a "amateur professionial" production. It's an hour and a half of camcorder footage shot at a single Christian Rock festival (Cornerstone 2003?) edited into a "stream of thought" type experience with no narration, and "one mic interviews" where the subjects are answering questions, but you don't know the questions because the interviewer is off camera and doesn't have a microphone. Some call this "lean" or "edgy" but I call it cheap. However, good editing can really help and this footage, though seeming random and unfocused, is actually edited together rather well.
Second, it's not about Christian Rock in general, but about "indy" Christian Rock. If you're really into that scene, then you might just love this because there are a lot of interviews and concert footage. However, if you're not an "insider" already, there's isn't much context set for you, so you have to mentally put bits and pieces together as you watch.
Third, the people behind the documentary are apparently not Christians. At least one of the main creators, who narrated much of the commentary track, said she wasn't a Christian during the commentary. That actually made it more interesting to me because the creators really did attempt to remain objective and report what they saw. In fact, they actually seemed as if they were trying to understand the "indy" Christian rockers and their fan base without judging them. However, it was only possible to know that if you watch and listen to the commentary track, which I enjoyed much more than the documentary itself. A little context goes a long way.
Finally, I was going to give the documentary one star because they took Larry Norman's famous coined phrase "Why Should the Devil Have all the Good Music" as the title, and they played the legendary song by the same title as the closing credits, and they showed footage of Larry Norman playing at the festival, but they didn't have any interview footage of Larry Norman! Thankfully they put the interview footage of Larry in the additional scenes section and they explained during the commentary track why they didn't put the Larry Norman interview footage in the main documentary.
So, if I had to watch this all over again I would first watch the commentary track, then the documentary itself, and then the special features. Then it makes sense.
Sort of interesting to watch once.
eric melzer | montana | 10/05/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Too bad I ordered this twice by accident. Once, when it first came out, and once a couple weeks ago. Yep, it's that forgettable. Although when I started watching my new copy, I realized why I tossed the first copy aside and never thought about it again. While this video might be somewhat informative to those curious about Christian music, I believe it gives much too narrow of a scope. It covers a small sector of a (now dated) indie and punk scene, and the interviews are mostly at the cornerstone festival in Illinois. That alone isn't so much a problem; I've been to the cornerstone festival several times, and there is a much greater variety of music than what is covered in the DVD.
At the end of the documentary, you are left not really sure why you watched it and if you learned anything at all. A lot of people talked and gave opinions, but it was as if someone with a consumer grade camcorder went around and interviewed a few bands and random festival attendees and just spliced it together. There is virtually no history or useful facts given and I really can't see anyone, Christian or not, really appreciating this documentary. I'm sure the creators were well intentioned though, and there isn't much available about the Christian Indie scene, so it still might be worth buying... but definitely not twice."