Looking for a Thrill is the end result of a very simple question – 'when did you realize this is what you wanted to do with your life?' Posed to one hundred and twelve different musicians by the filmmakers, the movie is a lengthy but interesting collection of stories and anecdotes about how these musicians came to be who they are, and why.
The reasons, or moments as the case may be, are as varied as those who are interviewed, and it is this diversity that makes the movie interesting. They've assembled an interesting and eclectic assortment of talent in front of the camera (though most of them tend to be of the 'indie rock' variety for lack of a less cliché term) and each and everyone one of them have a different and unique story to tell. Some interviewees are pretty well as established and influential such as Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, Mike Watt of the Minutemen, Jon Spencer of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and Yo La Tengo. There are also some more obscure acts in here as well, such as Calexica, The Urinals, and The Mekons, as well as a few middle tier bands like The Boredoms, Cake, and The Jesus Lizard and Ian MacKaye from Minor Threat and then later from Fugazi.
Like I said, the stories are as varied as the people who tell them – Bjork reminisces about how car alarms sounded like music to her, Thurston Moore remembers going out to see Suicide play at a bar in NYC. The project was put together as a celebration of sorts for the tenth anniversary of Thrill Jockey records, and it's obvious that the record company pulled a few strings to get these people in front of the camera for what could have turned out to be a boring project. Thankfully, it didn't turn out that way at all. Through some very clever and unique editing, great interview sets and locations, and some really oddball storytelling, the cast and crew of Looking For A Thrill paint a very interesting and very broad picture of how different people can find the same kind of inspiration from all manner of different things at different times and in different places.
Bettina Richards, the owner of the record company, is also one of the interviewees and she expresses what she wanted to accomplish when starting Thrill Jockey and how she wanted to differentiate her label from the hundreds of other small independent record labels out there. It seems fitting to have her included in here with all of the musicians, and her interview is no less interesting than the others in this set.
Proceeds from this release go to Greenpeace.
The fullframe image was captured on a digital video camera and edited and tweaked in Final Cut Pro. The end result is a surprisingly sold and stable picture with very nice colors and solid, dark black levels. Some mild edge enhancement does appear on the picture in a couple of scenes, but it never dominates the image or cause too many problems so as to take away from one's enjoyment of the movie. There are some fairly heavy compression artifacts noticeable throughout the feature though, probably due to the fact that this project is insanely long and that it clocks in at roughly five hours in length!
Well, the film is almost completely dialogue based so you don't need much in the way of a fancy surround sound mix to take care of things here. With that in mind, the Dolby Digital 2.0 track sounds clean and clear without and problems. There isn't any hiss or distortion and the levels are well balanced. In short, you can hear everyone and what they have to say, which is all that really and truly matters on this film.
There aren't a lot of extra features on this DVD once you get past the menu screen. The packaging does come with an insert though that tells you which of the artists is interviewed in which chapter. There are some liner notes and credits in the 'about' section off of the main menu that detail some of the people involved in the project.
Looking For A Thrill is, as it states, literally 'an anthology of inspiration.' With so much material packed into this package the video quality does take a bit of a hit but this still remains a truly unique and exceptionally cool little project that music fans of any taste will probably enjoy. Recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.