directed by A.J. Schnack
by Walter Chaw A.J. Schnack's Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns has a title perfect for a withering exposé on the seedy underworld of prostitution and pornography but is instead a breezily enjoyable documentary on quirk-rock pioneers they might be giants. Its title referring to the name of the band and its two frontmen (John Flansburgh and John Linell), the piece succeeds as an introduction for the neophyte and a detailed retrospective for the long-time fan (some of whom are featured to great comic effect), even as it slightly overstays its welcome for the former. With a nice selection of interviews from admiring musicians and journalists and well-paced concert and media clips (the best a performance on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" backed by Doc and the boys), Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns, although it skirts the edge of idolatry, benefits greatly from the down-to-earth, self-deprecating attitude of the Johns themselves. Transcending the bare dictums of the rock travelogue, the picture gains a certain amount of gravity in a few off-hand remarks and a haunting in-store performance in New York City dated 11:30pm, September 10, 2001--about ten-and-a-half hours removed from zero-hour. By the end of the picture, they might be giants begins to take on the shape and personality of the kind of subversively satirical, often brilliant counterculture commentary of, say, Monty Python. While a contrary viewpoint would have been welcome, Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns is, occasionally, more than modestly successful--a little like the band itself.
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