Air Guitar Nation
The idea of an entire movie
about air guitar – people pretending to play an instrument because they do
not have the actual talent to play a real guitar – seems rather absurd. Yet,
Air Guitar Nation, while certainly slight and sometimes absolutely
ridiculous, actually does make for very compelling viewing.
Perhaps that is because the
filmmakers don't take it too seriously. (And how could they?)
Perhaps it is because the entrants of the International Air Guitar
Championships take it entirely too seriously. Maybe it's just because
with all of their foibles, they genuinely are personable guys.
Guitar Nation is much more entertaining than it really has any right to
Maybe it is simply that
with the release of so many serious and life-altering documentaries like
Sicko and No End In Sight, we need a chance to reflect on good
old-fashioned American eccentricity and star lust. (Concurrent with
Air Guitar Nation's video release is the theatrical release The King
of Kong, a similarly tongue-in-cheek but fascinating look at nerd
culture – people obsessed with the old arcade game Donkey Kong.)
Maybe it is that in some
primal way, we all can relate a bit. Who hasn't been moved by the
music to rock out with wild abandon? Air guitar – the miming of rock
star moves in time to the music for the one or two people out there not
familiar with the concept – is strangely freeing, a form of dance
Of course, we did it in our
bedroom in front of the mirror. These guys are doing it on stage in
front of a crowd of thousands. We thought it was a goof. They
think it's a form of performance art.
While I am not sure that
the film has swayed me on its viability as a competition (no matter what, it
seems like a non-talent sport, like eating competitions, lip-synching and
miniature golf) I can appreciate the passion and hard work that these people
pour into what other people would consider a trifle.
Air Guitar Nation
follows the first two American entrants in the International Air Guitar
Championships in Finland. Yes, it turns out there actually is such a
thing. Who knew? Apparently there is a small but growing cult
that takes it very seriously. (One of the guys says, with a
completely straight face, "To err is human. To air guitar, divine.")
These two entrants are
David Jung, who goes by the stage name "C. Diddy," an actor/comedian who
sees the whole thing as a bit of a goof, a good way to get some face time
and have fun while learning to be on stage and play out his rock star
His main competition is Dan
Crane, a.k.a. "Björn
Türoque" (Born To Rock – get it? Okay, it's not that great a gag...)
Each contestant has their own stage name and persona. What is most
interesting is that while these people are way too into what they are doing,
for the most part they appear to be with-it, funny guys. Okay, Björn
Türoque did seem a little bit delusional, as well as a tiny bit of a sore
loser, but most of the other contestants had a refreshing lack of
I actually was disappointed that one of the female contestants – with
the in-your-face nickname "Nikki Tits" and a funny point of view playing off
the whole sex-drugs-rock'n'roll lifestyle – didn't get more face time, but
I guess she couldn't bring it when it came to the game...
Air Guitar Nation is
to serious documentaries what reality TV is to the news. It's goofy,
light, funny and celebrates the inner nerd in all of us. (I could
easily see this becoming a series on VH1.) It may be a bit of a guilty
pleasure, but at least it is a pleasure. That's all it ever aimed for.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: September 1, 2007.