DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Adult
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
XCritic.com
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Special Offer

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music
Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music
Other // Unrated // January 10, 2006
List Price: $20.00 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Robert Spuhler | posted December 31, 2005 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Skip It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
Vickie Hunter and Heather Whinna, the directors and producers of Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?, are nothing if not ambitious and hardworking.

Spending time in the audience and behind the scenes at the Cornerstone Festival in Illinois, along with various band tour stops across the Midwest, the duo have put together a 90-plus-minute "exploration" of punk and indie Christian music. But despite an expansive roster of interview subjects and concert footage, Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music? never really makes a cogent point.

One the glaring omissions of Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music? is any sort of context. How does independent and punk Christian music fit into the overall music scene? Of the tens of people interviewed for the 95-minute documentary, Dan Sinker of Punk Planet magazine and famed music producer Steve Albini are the main two to try to give some perspective to the words of the Christian rockers. Without a counterweight or a balance, such as Albini's comment that "that aspect, that it is being used as a tool by the church as a larger force, that bugs people," the documentary begins to play like an infomercial after a spell.

In addition, the focus on the musicians rather than the fans means that the main question many could have about independent Christian music goes unanswered: Who is listening to this stuff? We get a sense of why the artists are involved, but a music scene is as much about the fans as it is about the bands.

There are some interesting moments in the documentary, though; bands talking about their influences can often be boring, but when it is Christian bands talking about having to throw away the music that influenced them because it was secular fascinates.

But even here, the major problem with the documentary rears its head. Several different bands talk about throwing away their secular music collections, repeating the same basic story several times. It is as if a dramatic film showed the same basic fight between a man an a woman four times to set up that there is tension in the relationship – we got it the first time. The 95-minute run time could very easily have been 75 minutes or less just by trimming all the repetitive stories.

If nothing else, Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music? is a veritable who's who of the Christian music scene, whether it be crossover favorites like MXPX and Pedro the Lion or Steve Taylor and Celestial Static. Hunter and Whinna really put in a tremendous effort in the field, talking to anyone and everyone who would stand still in front of a camera.

The DVD

Video:

Clearly shot with a prosumer digital video camera, Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music? looks like a collection of home videos. Most of the time that is acceptable, considering that documentary filmmaking does not rely on depth of field or color spectrum, but it makes for some very shadowy concert footage.

Audio:

The 2.0 stereo track is acceptable for the documentary format, though the filmmakers would have been greatly helped by using a microphone other than the one onboard the camera. It is surprisingly distortion-free, though, and does not jump wildly in volume at any point.

Extras:

There is a feature-length commentary track with Hunter and Whinna. There are large gaps in the track, and many/most of the observations are of the "I really liked her" sort. But when the two start talking about their own personal experiences making the film and their reactions to, as they put it, "the heathens arriving," the commentary picks up.

The rest of the special features are extended interview clips left out of the film. The extra clips add up to more than an hour of additional footage, and considering the tightening needed in the full feature, this seems like incredible overkill.

There is one interesting clip at the end of the set worth mentioning. The final of the nine additional segments is an interview with a Cornerstone attendee in regards to his struggle with homosexual urges. It's one of the few moments showcasing the struggle between cultures – the permissive, anything-goes world of rock music and the black-and-white morality of Christianity.

Final Thoughts

The back cover of the case for Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music? says that the filmmakers "[maintain] an impartial eye." It's certainly true that Hunter and Whinna do not make any judgments about punk and indie Christian music. But without much background on the Christian music scene or many facts, the feature devolves into extended interview clips without context. It's a noble failure, but a failure nonetheless.

Popular Reviews
1. Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Series
2. The Wonder Years: The Complete Series
3. Nightbreed: The Director's Cut
4. WKRP In Cincinnati: The Complete Series
5. F for Fake: Criterion Collection
6. Sex Tape
7. Sea Hunt: Complete Season 1
8. The Dogs of War (Limited Edition Series)
9. Snowpiercer
10. Begin Again


Special Offers
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Special Offers
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2014 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use