21 March 2006 | EricAllenBell
Blurs the lines between art and life...
Please, let's not get into a battle of the films here. "Bondage" and "Danny Roane" are two separate pieces of work. They were each made for different reasons and both deserve to be judged on their own merits.
There is an art form to getting a reaction from an audience, especially one that is controversial - meaning that it possibly has people confused, upset, enraged, etc. Oscar Wilde once said (in the preface to "A Portrait of Dorian Gray") that all criticism is in fact a form of autobiography.
I saw "Danny Roane: First Time Director" while at South By Southwest. The audience had a strong reaction to the film. And just like anything else in the world or in this country, their reaction was not all the same.
Liking or disliking someone's artistic expression is only one form, in a vast array of forms, in which one can evaluate a piece of work. If we are to remove "like" or "dislike" as the simple-minded binary means in which we look at this film, there is a lot there that cannot be denied. Undeniability is one of the hardest things to achieve in any art form.
Andy Dick, whether consciously or not (although I suspect consciously) blurs the lines between fiction and reality - an art within itself. He shows the audience the baffling and overwhelming power of not only alcoholism per se, but what happens to a person when they are in the grips of a spiritual crisis.
Everyone thought it was funny when we read in the press that Chris Penn got drunk at the Sky Bar and got into a fight with a midget, throwing him into the pool and getting tossed out himself. Now he is dead at 40.
There is something tragically haunting about Andy Dick's film. It is hard to watch, I agree. But I wouldn't dismiss it so quickly for that reason. If you look at his resume, Andy Dick has made a zillion movies and television appearances. His has a certain mastery over his craft, which is to say that he knows what he is doing. You may or may not "like" it, but clearly a lot of insight into his personal, real life struggles went into creating the film.
Regardless of your opinion of it, this is a movie that cannot be dismissed or ignored - just like Andy Dick himself. There are people who will like it for the wrong reasons, and there are people who will dislike it for the wrong reasons. But either way, there is no denying it. This movie, or this phenomenon rather (as Andy blurred the lines between the movie and real life afterward) clearly demonstrates that there is intelligence in the meltdown - a general dissatisfaction. And when one is courageous enough to face the dissatisfaction, intelligence is no longer restrained.