If you had told me immediately following the first time I saw American Idiot, that I'd not only see the show more than a half dozen times between Broadway and two National Tours, but I'd also sit through a documentary film about the making of it, I'd have said you were crazy. But here we are. I have pretty much chronicled my journey from skeptic to fan on this blog. And now having seen Broadway Idiot, which chronicles a similar journey for Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong, I am even more of a fan.
|Pitching American Idiot|
One of the truly great aspects of this film is that Green Day fans (and music fans in general) will also have plenty to enjoy. The concert footage interspersed with its stage counterpart is always thrilling, easily, but not heavy-handedly, showing that the distance between the two art forms is not miles apart, but pretty close together. And as someone not too familiar with the whole rock concert genre, I found the devotion and fervor of the Green Day fans to be not only understandable, but inspiring. And fans on both fronts should really enjoy watching the cast perform on the Grammy Awards, just after finding out they are going to Broadway, and will, I think, especially appreciate watching the process of the joint Green Day-Broadway Cast recording of "21 Guns." I loved, too, and think band fans may be shocked to watch a very young Armstrong warble out show tunes at a talent show.
|Recording "21 Guns"|
If I had to complain about anything, it would be the lack of problems depicted in the film. It fairly glosses over the fact that up until Broadway rehearsals we saw a different "Tunny" than Stark Sands, with a blink-and-you-missed-it explanation that "we just wanted to be sure to assemble the best cast we could for Broadway. And I'm not sure how this otherwise honest-feeling film completely failed to mention that the show continually struggled to gain a large audience from week to week. Still, the film isn't really about the business of Broadway, but it is about the artistic triumph.
|Green Day and the cast of American Idiot|
There is one moment in the film that is my favorite of all: we witness the exact moment when Billie Joe Armstrong is bitten by the Broadway bug. From that moment on, the look in his eye is completely different. He is a man transformed. I always wondered what I looked like at that exact moment in my life. No I have an idea.