Documentary Almost As Cool as Its Subject
With their aggressive attitude, dangerous antics, and revolutionizing music, it doesn’t get much cooler than the Stooges. The documentary Gimme Danger: the Story of the Stooges caters to the story of the unappreciated Stooges, the drug-induced madmen who laid down tracks that never gained national recognition until years later. For those who know the story of the Stooges, a few surprises will come, if any, and it will be more like a walk down memory lane. If you don’t know a single thing about the Stooges – 1) are you new? and 2) watch the documentary.
The documentary Gimme Danger: the Story of the Stooges, available on Amazon Prime, opens in 1973 when the band was pretty much at its end, illustrating how little the world thought of the band at the time. Then heads back to the band’s origins, where they grew up, and wraps itself up nicely with where the band is today and their influence on the rock world. It highlights the big aspects of the band, and my opinion, a tame version of its gritty history. Their drug abuse is mentioned, unprofessionalism, and some of the pain they took from flying beer bottles or stage dives right into the ground. However, that’s all you get, mostly mentions of their mishaps, leaving out the dirtier stories familiar to most Stooges fans.
Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, the dude behind Coffee and Cigarettes, you can feel his love for this band within Gimme Danger: the Story of the Stooges. That could be why some of the harsher stories are left out. As soon as the credits roll, you are left with a new appreciation for the band, especially if you knew nothing about them. Their legacy and the people now deceased are honored in respectful ways. For that, the movie does a beautiful job of revealing the roots of the Stooges. In the dirt, where society placed them, yet these are the roots that grew the monster tree called rock ‘n’ roll.
As much as Gimme Danger: the Story of the Stooges is about love for the Stooges, it’s about friendship. Later in the documentary, you watch how Mike Watt (of the Minutemen) and J Mascis (of Dinosaur Jr) get together to start playing Stooges’ songs. This sparks interests in the original Stooges getting back together. Eventually, they would play Coachella, and you can actually catch them touring today. THEN, the film reminds you, through Iggy Pop reminiscing, that the Stooges started as a friendship, as a band of young misfits in Michigan who wanted to play music together. You catch feels, for sure.
Gimme Danger: the Story of the Stooges ends with Iggy Pop in front of the camera, dismissing the various groups that society has tried to pin him in stating, (paraphrase) “I don’t wanna to be glam … I don’t wanna be punk.” All he wants “is to be.” And while I understand what he means, I couldn’t help but think what could be more punk than rejecting what the world is trying to name you and just be yourself.
And that’s where I will end this post on Gimme Danger: the Story of the Stooges, a film that didn’t waste my time. If you know the Stooges, it’s cool and makes you fall back in love with a band that probably started your punk rock journey. If you don’t know a single thing, check out Gimme Danger: the Story of the Stooges. Cause what are you – new?