This self-congratulatory documentary about college rock heroes They Might Be Giants raises the question: how much do we need to know about the lives and struggles of our pop-culture heroes in order to appreciate them? The answer is not much. But Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns is an enjoyable romp nonetheless. It includes no-frills concert footage throughout which front-men John Flansburgh (the loquacious one) and John Linnell (the spindly one) perform their sophisticated, witty, often obscure and generally ridiculous ditties to an appreciative audience. While a Stop Making Sense-style concert film might have done the job for fans and newcomers alike, Gigantic also proffers from slice-of-life interviews with the two Johns. They easily impress with their brainy charms and the documentary surrounding them continually reminds us that it’s in on the joke as well. Gigantic covers lots of ground and includes readings of TMBG lyrics by comics Janine Garofalo, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Andy Richter, and Senator Paul Simon, a cartoon strip by Tony “Maakies” Millionaire featuring Drinky Crow; a snapshot tour of the John’s hometown of Lincoln, Massachusetts, and a smugly condescending portrait of some of the group’s more rabid fans. As much as John and John are likeable figures encircled by clever sound and fury, Gigantic may at best inspire newcomers to seek out the duo’s college rock music. Then again, maybe you’ve already outgrown it—so Gigantic would instead be a pleasing, quick fix trip down memory lane.
- Cowboy Pictures
- 102 min
- A.J. Schnack
- A.J. Schnack
- John Flansburgh, John Linnell, Dan Miller, Janeane Garofalo, Harry Shearer, Danny Weinkauf, Dan Hickey
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