Devil and Daniel Johnson, The
I just got done watching an amazing random documentary about Daniel Johnston, a manic-depressive genius singer/songwriter/artist. This documentary reveals him in a portrait of madness, creativity and love.

There are three major stories that encapsulate who this man was. In the first story he performs a concert in front of thousands of people after spending years in a mental institute. After the show he gets in his fathers plane to go home. He is reading a comic about Casper the Friendly Ghost when he asks his dad if they can jump out of the plane. Of course his dad says no because they have no parachutes(as if that was the only reason). Daniel then reaches over and pulls the keys out of the plane and throws them out the window. The plane crashes in the forest and Daniel can be seen to this day standing next to the completely destroyed plane...smiling in the police photos as if he had just done something amazing. In the squad car on the way to the mental institute he sees a sign on a church that reads, "God promises a safe landing but not an easy voyage."

Another great story...after he had run away from his family and followed the carnival he made his first demo tape. He would make a bunch of these tapes actually but the thing is, he didn't know how to copy his tapes. So for every cassette he gave he had to rerecord his album. So every album he did was just a little different. Nothing was ever the same. He would just play and play record and record and play and play before just giving them all away and doing it all over again.

Daniel believed he was in a secret war with Satan. Another time when he ran away he was in a random West VA town at 7 in the morning. Daniel was walking through a neighborhood being very loud. An old woman came to her window and asked him to shut up. Daniel ran up the stairs of her apartment and started banging on her door. The old woman got so scared she jumped out of her two story apartment and broke both her legs. Daniel says he cast the demons out of her and like the swine in the bible they jumped from the window.

Daniel was an extremely interesting man as you might already be able to tell. The things you watch on the documentary border the unbelievable. The greatest thing about the documentary is that Daniel recorded almost every aspect of his life on a little camera or on a voice recorder. It's amazing when you think about it and it makes for an amazing movie.

It's obvious this man's mind was on a different level than the average person. His soul was tormented by things we could never see. A priest once said, "I know Daniel Johnston is going to heaven because he has already lived in hell."
An amazing life story that will put inspire, frighten, and put a lot in perspective.
Reviewed by: shea