Thanks to a free screening sponsored by the Los Angeles Film Festival, I saw The Fearless Freaks Friday night under the stars. (Sure, it was in the courtyard of a glorified mall, but hey! there was free popcorn, ice cream, and seat cushions.) I've been on a bit of a music documentary kick lately, so it was interesting to compare this portrait of The Flaming Lips, a band I much admire, to other recent offerings: DIG!, Some Kind of Monster, and Malfunkshun. Sadly, The Fearless Freaks suffered in comparison. Even if you have a compelling subject like The Flaming Lips, it does not let you off the hook from having a narrative arc. Even the most dramatic scene of Steven Drozd prepping his heroin rig on-camera came practically out of nowhere. Band members came and went with barely a mention of reasons for their departure, and while Wayne Coyne is lovely to listen to, a documentary for the ages needs more gravitas.
Other reviews: The New York Times, The Village Voice, Seattle PI, PopMatters