"Why not make air guitar an Olympic event? I'd watch it!"
SCREENED AT THE 2006 SXSW FILM FESTIVAL: Lately I've seen a lot of great documentaries about good, geeky things. From live-action role-playing and crossword puzzles to video games and movie obsession ... there's just something about oddness and enthusiasm that lends itself to good storytelling. Alexandra Lipsitz's "Air Guitar Nation" is another perfect example; it takes a really goofy subject (competitive air guitar!) and turns it into a documentary full of warmth, wit, enthusiasm, and vigor.Air guitar.
You've all done it at one time or another, whether you're a fan of Queen or Zeppelin or Green Day. Everyone's wailed on an imaginary guitar at one time or another. And if you're sitting there saying "not me," then I bet you played some air guitar when you got drunk at your cousin's wedding that one time. Yes, even you. (Me, I could air guitar the theme from Sanford & Son. I'm crazy like that.)
But to devote a whole movie to the air guitar? Surely this is just a silly diversion and nothing worthy of your 80-some minutes. Actually ... nope. Air Guitar competitions are held all over the world, dontcha know, and there's even a world championship held in Finland every year. And while I wouldn't go so far as to say the participants "take the event seriously," the guys and gals seem to be having a whole lot of fun -- and sometimes "because it's fun" is just good enough.
Although the world competition has been running for several years, it seems that the U.S. is a latecomer to the Air Guitar sensation. Captured here in an irreverent and joyful documentary is the story of America's first real challenger to the Global Air Guitar throne. His name is C. Diddy, and he's a damn good air guitarist.
Focusing on the competition, from New York clubs all the way up the ladder, Air Guitar Nation squeezes a whole lot of character from its simple little story, and it does so with a slick pacing and tongue-in-cheek smirk. The finest moments come near the end, as the competition heats up and the air guitarists from other nations are forced to contend with some new American adversaries -- but basically we're dealing with a bunch of grown-up kids who really love their rock & roll music.I wouldn't exactly call Air Guitar Nation the next important documentary, but as a colorful look at an admittedly goofy activity, the flick's a pleasant little winner.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Tribeca Film Festival For more in the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Florida Film Festival For more in the 2007 Florida Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Deep Focus Film Festival For more in the 2007 Deep Focus Film Festival series, click here.