Dave's Review: Air Guitar Nation ROCKS!
by Dave Minkus
March 16, 2007
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have out first Oscar contender of the year. Ok, done laughing yet? I'll wait until you're finished. I mean every word of that sentence and I don't say it lightly. Air Guitar Nation is truly an ode to the spirit of rock for those with the least talent imaginable.
The film opens at the east coast qualifying round and the MC announces that whoever wins will be going to Los Angeles to compete for the US title as the air guitar champion. The winner from there will go to the world championship in Oulu, Finland. To quote the MC, "When I think air guitar, I think of Finland." Air Guitar Nation follows the stories of two young men with dreams of air guitar glory: David "C-Diddy" Jung (whose costume includes a Hello Kitty backpack used as a breastplate) and Dan "Bjorn Turoque" Crane. When of these men's road should have ended at the east coast qualifier, his story really becomes a remarkable look at a man doing whatever it takes to chase a dream.
What really makes Air Guitar Nation work is just how entertaining and personable C-Diddy and Bjorn are. It was very interesting to hear both men talk about the personas they made and just how different they were from their real personality. Even better is the fact that most of the other "musicians" were entertaining and fun to watch. The one glaring exception would be the guy who decided to perform nude and use his junk as a whammy bar.
Let's face it, though. All the frenetic, infectious energy in the world isn't going to help you if the music sucks. The music here completely delivers and rocks - even Boston. I'm going to offer a little criticism about the marketing on this film that is meant to help spread the word on this gem. The nature of the film and the use of four songs that appear in Guitar Hero make cross-promotion with game-maker Red Octane a no-brainer and I think could still help. That's right kiddies, this is what we used to do in our rooms before Guitar Hero.
The point of a documentary is to present facts on film and tell a story that compels you to action. Air Guitar Nation does this in an unorthodox way that will compel you to unusual action. This film will compel you to ROCK! After watching this, I had the need to really get into some metal/rock and do some comparatively pathetic air guitar. Pretty much anybody younger than 40 will identify with the feeling, and that's where we get to the Oscar talk. If the majority of the Academy's voting members were actually 40 or under, it would be a sure-thing nomination for Best Documentary. I just hope that the actual Academy members will have the open mind necessary to recognize the greatness of this film.