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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words 2016 * * * * Stars


"I'm famous but most people don't even know what I do". So says Frank Zappa, a musical enigma, a maybe genius, and the doo-wop rock-and-roller from the 60s/70s. Hey I know what you did Frank. In my late twenties your tunes took charge on my CD player like clockwork (boy did I wear out that Apostrophe (') album).  

With tons of interviews from Zappa himself and well-restored archive footage from three decades plus, Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words is a documentary without convention and it's all the better for it. Yeah it's told chronologically but the flick submits to newfangled free-form. After all, the late Frank Zappa had a little jazz in him (and jazz fusion/pop as well).

Zappa died in 1993 leaving a wall of sound legacy and a catalog of over 100 studio albums (I'm not kidding). "His Own Words" comes out twenty-three years later, putting Frank in almost every frame while avoiding the remnants of him being self-serving, grandstanding, and vanity-stricken. "His Own Words" contains more than fifty percent of its clips involving sound outs with Zappa and his tyranny for political and euphonious oppression. The guy had a supposed IQ of 172 and well, I could listen to him talk all day long.  

Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words is helmed by Thorsten Schutte. Schutte directs without rules as he lets Zappa let 'er rip by literally shutting down his interviewers. Thorsten's film floats by on a curvilinear gimmick, the gimmick that allows its subject (Frank of course) to gnaw on scenery and be a rather haughty specimen. "His Own Words" is probably my new favorite docu because you hear from the proverbial horse's mouth as opposed to everyone around him. I mean only Zappa can do Zappa. Natch. 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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