FINALLY! Not only a documentary film about one of my favorite dirty comedian/heavy metal acts of all time, but a particularly good one! This wasn’t the product of some amateur cruster in their studio pad or their mother’s basement stitching together something all half-assed; no, this was done in a very sophisticated and professional manner. As if that wasn’t astonishing enough, the director of the film is an attractive young woman named April Jones. Whuuut? A WOMAN doing a documentary about the Mentors?
I was mildly incredulous at first, but then thought about what the fire-eating, eccentric, and iconoclastic U.S. Army Colonel David Hackworth said when asked this question about his 1989 book About Face:
Interviewer: Colonel Hackworth, your new book "About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior" is co-written by Julie Sherman, a woman. Why?
Hackworth: Well, I had a lot of people over the 18 years of rumination and I thought about writing this book -- a lot of authors came to me to write it with me or for me, and I waited for the right one. And Julie Sherman came along, and after looking at her work and talking to her, I concluded that what I really needed was a woman's feel, a woman's touch. War is about men, and men take life, but the horrible result about war is it takes the life -- young men in the main -- and it's the sons, the daughters, the husbands of women. Women give life. And I felt that if we could discuss war and discuss it with that man's passion from my own experience, but with a sensitivity and the depth and feeling of a woman, we could tell the complete story. (The emphasis is mine – MB)
While I have no idea whether or not such sentiments influenced the band’s choice for who they wanted to tell their story, I’d like to think that they did.
The film starts and ends with comments from…El Duce’s mother. Yes, as much as it strains credibility, El Duce was born (as opposed to hatched, or the opposite of immaculate conception, with Satan being the sperm-dad, as his detractors would like to think), and was an innocent little boy at one time in his life, albeit very briefly. It then goes into the genesis of the band and its overall history, with El Duce being the central tragicomic figure.
Outside of their unique brand of humor and musicianship, most, if not all accounts of them aren’t that much different than many other acts out there. From my experiences of dealing with musicians, they’re often a combination of Brainiac over-achievers and idiot savants. Geeks and goons. Nerds and Neanderthals. Valedictorians and Vagrants. People with graduate degrees who speak several languages and are equally at home playing a musical instrument or planning the next deep-space NASA mission, and people who dropped out in 4th grade, whose heads are empty enough to be fully worthy of a deep-space NASA mission, right here on Earth; to them, calendars, clocks and watches may as well be Etruscan and Mayan artifacts. Anything that keeps time is much like the black monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, “its origin and purpose still a total mystery.”
The film also depicts something that I already knew, in that the band members, in addition to being talented musicians, were (and still are) highly-intelligent dudes. No matter how one’s head is screwed on, one must always admire the artiste at work. Unless he was totally wasted, El Duce usually had the upper hand, and his handling of assholes inspires me to this day! There’s so much more to say, but no matter how one feels about certain things, I highly recommend this film for reasons too numerous to mention, except for one:
FREEDOM RULES!!!! IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, DON’T WATCH IT!!! DON’T LISTEN TO IT!!!! MANY PEOPLE HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES SO THAT PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND I CAN DO THINGS LIKE THIS!!!
So far, my only criticism about the film is the title. It should have been called "YEASH" or "YEESH", which is the Mentors equivalent of "Golly". Maybe that's another project; instead of lexicon, we could have a sexicon, based upon the dick-tionary!