Dave's Rating:


… horrifyingly fascinating …

Who's in It: Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Kris Kristofferson

The Basics: Documentary about a notoriously talented and even more effed-up singer-songwriter.

What's the Deal? Don't go around sniffing glue, kids. You'll wind up being one of the greatest songwriters of the late 20th century. Not that they're truly related or anything, but isn't it weird how really phenomenal artists are the ones doing things like throwing themselves out of fourth-floor windows and drunkenly breaking their hips after falling out of trucks? Then they black out a lot, play Russian roulette with real guns, develop a fear of supermarkets and wind up shopping for groceries with their kids at the 7-11, living on frozen dinners and sticking pins in their own heads for no apparent reason?

How You Might Know Him: He wrote "Pancho and Lefty" and a bunch of other songs that famous musicians like Willie and Emmylou went off and had big hits with. And if you're from Texas, you just know who he is anyway, because he came from a big, rich family that had a county named after it.

Why This Movie Is Great, Apart From the Horrifyingly Fascinating Drug and Alcohol Abuse: You'll see why those famous musicians loved his music so much and what it means to be a "songwriter's songwriter," because there's a lot of performance footage. Van Zandt kept home movies and videos of everything.

The Sad Part: His body just gave out in the late 1990s, and he died at 52. Naturally, he was also married several times and fathered several kids, all of whom are seen here struggling with the memory of their lost dad.

Craziest Moment: You get to see a high-school yearbook from Van Zandt's senior year that has a photo of him with a glue-soaked sock in his mouth. Sniffing glue was cute back in the '60s.


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