Music 2 u and 4 your ears
Gigantic: The Tale of Two Johns
Review by Ross Anthony

I screened this documentary film in a small room hosting a total of not more than 7 people (including myself). Not surprisingly, many reviewers are not familiar with TMBG. I, on the other hand, am not only familiar, but a CD buying fan. I pulled out my collection and primed myself up for the screening in the days prior. This fact will no doubt bias me, unless dear reader, you are also a fan -- in which case my bias in appropriate.

For those of you unfamiliar: TMBG (They Might Be Giants) is a grassroots quirky alternative band comprised of two good friends both with great musical, lyrical, melodic and ironic senses. They're songs are smart, stupid, awkwardly awesome, genius in a brazen tradition-breaking way. They are the cool dorks. The thinking music lovers' musicians. Even the category of "Alternative" is a reach for their odd style. Guitars, synths, tape, accordions, wind instruments - it's not fair, these guys are just having too much fun!

Beginning a little slow and stale, the production kicks into gear when John F shows off the famous "Dial a song" answering machine, which apparently he'd, purchased for 2 dollars. Then picks up momentum with a clip from the tonight Show: TMBG is backed by Doc Severinsen and band. A truly magical moment in that odd sort of way. Many clips from their early MTV videos are included, to keep the pace hoppin' along. And of course, nuggets of twisted yet sincere wisdom from the modest talents will satisfy rock-solid fans and even make new ones. "People ask us what our songs are about. We sort of feel obligated to come up with some sort of explanation." (I paraphrase).

Anyway, though shot on imperfect videotape, and rough at the outset, this documentary proves to be otherwise entirely engaging. You'll find yourself donning that wonderful half-smile John L. comfortably dons while singing. The film ends with that unfortunately all too rare feeling of... "We still want more!"

  • Gigantic: The Tale of Two Johns. Copyright © 2003.
  • Starring John Flansburgh, John Linnell, Dan miller, Danny Weinkauf, Dan Hickey, etc.
  • Directed by AJ Schnack.
  • Edited by Alisa Lipsitt and Jason Kool (A & J).
  • Produced by Shirly Moyers at Plexifilm/Bonfire/Cowboy.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

chili4 special olympians
power5 ra hforh radiop

Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:09:59 PDT