Film Reviews: August 2004
Note: Reviews are in no particular order

Dash Rip Rock: "The Band, The Myth, The Legend" (DVD)
(Indie release)

This film follows the 1995 exploits of the Dash Rip Rock, a.k.a. "world's greatest bar band", through touring, pre-show and post-show shenanigans and early videos of the band. While there weren't enough complete live performances for my taste, the film does capture the unique humor of the band perfectly! The hilarious and infections interactions between Bill and Hoaky almost steal the show, making the "rockumentary" part of this DVD more entertaining than most bands' self-created films about themselves. Dash Rip Rock has created a rarity amongst musicians who film themselves - an unpretentious film in which they don't take themselves too seriously. But, then again, that's part of what makes Dash Rip Rock unique.

In addition to THE BAND, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND documentary, there are also more recent post-Hoaky appearances of the band including: DRR live on the Louisiana Jukebox, a music video for "Eventually Evangeline" and an interview with the band on "What's the Story?"

Regarding Dash Rip Rock, MTV once said, "Only by seeing them live can you get the true Dash Rip Rock experience." While DASH RIP ROCK: THE BAND, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND attempts to capture this experience, the DRR experience is really something that must be seen in person. But this film comes pretty damn close. This DVD is a "must have" for hardcore Dash-holes and just might make a few converts out of those who wonder what all the fuss is about…

Review by Ronnie

"Screen Door Jesus" (set for theatrical release in September of 2004)
(FCM Production)

When the image of Jesus appears on Mrs. Harper's screen door in the little East Texas town of Bethlehem all hell breaks loose, challenging some residents to question their faith while validating the fervent belief of others. That is the premise of the film SCREEN DOOR JESUS. SDJ is both a drama and a dark comedy, which perfectly captures both the religious dichotomy and hypocrisy that occurs in small-town Texas. While there are no "lead actors", rather a collection of the experiences of several characters, the film successfully interweaves these individual storylines into an interesting tale of faith and redemption.

Within the myriad of storylines you have: a sheriff who is torn between lust and religion; the town mayor whose infidelity is about to be exposed by an opportunist bar girl; a security guard who sees the hypocrisy of a church group's stand on homosexuality; a banker whose son questions the actions of the father on religious grounds; roughnecks who try and covertly drill under the town for oil in a get rich scheme; a family who is divided between faith healing and modern medicine; and of course Mrs. Harper, who finds out that the religious "relic" on the front of her house turns into more of a curse than a blessing. The soundtrack of SDJ is interesting in itself, including contributions by Back Porch Mary, Johnny Reno, The Utah Mafia and Renee Woodward. While rock music used in the soundtracks of most movies is usually just incidental at best, music lovers will definitely want to check out other releases by these artists.

I love the movies use of humor to get the point across about religious hypocrisy. When the banker tries to explain the meaning of a Sunday sermon at the dinner table, he states, "Every good parable has more than one meaning." To which the son retorts, "I reckon there ain't no use in trying to do right cause you can't know anyway!" My favorite line of the film is when Mother Harper explains to the TV cameras, "They say seeing is believing…but I reckon that believing is seeing."

Religion is in the eyes of each individual and many times they see what they want to. That is the point that SCREEN DOOR JESUS tries to convey…and succeeds in doing so.

While this film hasn't been released yet, they are planning a theatrical release for Screen Door Jesus in September in several targeted markets. Due to the nature of the film (it deals with themes of race and religion), many distributors found it too controversial to handle and too difficult to market.

Review by Ronnie