Everyone’s done it. You’ve done it in your car, at your desk, in hallways, at the mall, at parties, even in the privacy of your own bedroom. It does not matter how young or how old you are, no one is exempt. You may choose to use a tool of sorts, perhaps a tennis racket, or a golf club, a novelty pen, or a wooden spoon. Many of you probably resort to using your bare hands.
I am talking of course about that most favorite exercise of frustrated rock stars everywhere — playing the “air guitar.”
No matter your walk of life, everyone has engaged in this activity. Now, what if you had the opportunity to take that absent minded activity to the stage? What if you could “perform” for hundreds, maybe thousands? No way, much too silly to consider, right? Think again. For over a decade, thousands of fans and dozens of performers have descended upon Oulu, Finland to do just that.
Air guitar is that phenomenon by which the non-musician (well, sometimes musicians take part too) will become one with the music he or she is listening to and will pretend to play along with said music.
It could be as simple as strumming at your steering wheel on the way to work, or it could turn into a full-fledged aerobic workout as you take to the sky, jumping and twirling and truly joining forces with your favorite artist. It is fun, exciting, and something that everyone has done at some point. Alexandra Lipsitz’s film, Air Guitar Nation, shows you that this absent minded activity that we all do is a serious competition for many.
The documentary shows the rise of organized competition in the United States with the intent of sending a representative to the World Championship in Finland. It is a wonder that it took so long to gain the attention of the US. The Championship was began in 1996 by a couple of Finnish college students looking to spread a message of peace, the idea being if you are playing air guitar, you cannot hold a gun (which I guess is true, unless you choose your rifle as a stand in for a guitar).
Two performers take center stage, David ‘C-Diddy’ Jung and Dan ‘Bjorn Turoques’ Crane. It starts with the East Coast championship at The Pussycat Club in New York City. It was an event whose turnout surprised promoters as they had turn away hundreds having quickly reached capacity. This results in C-Diddy coming out on top, followed closely by Bjorn. The journey then moves to the West Coast where they send their best against C-Diddy, with yet another win by C-Diddy. The trip ultimately leads to Finland, where… nope, not gonna say. I will, however, say that there was actually a little bit of genuine excitement built up during the entire Finland sequence.
This look inside the world of air guitar is supremely silly — despite those who claim that it is performance art or some such nonsense. Sure, those involved take it seriously, and I am sure that if I were a competitor, I would take it seriously as well.
All things told, this is fun. That is what Air Guitar Nation boils down to. Watching the competitors throw down on stage is like watching a train wreck, you just cannot look away. I dare you to watch this and not be entertained.
Audio/Video:. The tech aspects of the disk are pretty good. Obviously, they do not match up with the latest Hollywood blockbuster, but that isn’t what we are looking for. The footage is clear, the audio is clear, and there are no artifacts or digital defects.
Extras: The original trailer and 37 minutes of deleted scenes make up the bonus materials. The deleted scenes amount to performances and profiles of a number of non-featured players. They are fun to watch, but would have only served as padding in the feature proper.
Bottom line: Fun, that’s what this is. I also learned that I would not want to be in the competition. Not necessarily worth adding to your collection, but a rental would definitely be in line.