Running time: 126 min.
Director: Jeff Feuerzeig
Synopsis: There's a moment in Jeff Feuerzeig's rockumentary Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King in which Jad Fair--one half of the brother team that made up the avant-garde indie rock band Half Japanese--casually states that his only goal as a musician is to write the most popular song in the world. The statement gushes forth without irony or pretension, only admirable confidence and naiveté. Most of mainstream America probably hasn't a clue who Half Japanese is, and Feuerzeig's main agenda here is to enlighten all of us who let the band slip through the cracks of rock history. He does a pretty fine job. Along with performances by the band (whose lo-fi sound champions the Velvet Underground and whose goofy approach recalls the earnestly infantile Jonathan Richman), the film features interviews with the numerous lineups that have played with the Fair brothers, as well as gushing critics who seem like they've waited a lifetime to preach about Half Japanese ("Given the choice between Sgt. Pepper and Charmed Life [considered Half Japanese's masterpiece], it's a no-brainer: I'd take Charmed Life," blurts out one critic). Perhaps the finest hour belongs to Penn Jillette (one half of the comedy troupe Penn and Teller), who tells long, hilarious stories about taking all of the money he made on Miami Vice and starting a record label (50 Skidillion Watts Records) just to release out-of-print Half Japanese albums.