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Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words (7/10)

Runtime 90 minutes

Not for children.

Listening to the music in this film, it is hard to believe that Frank Zappa could be known for his music and be called “a provocative 20th century musical genius,” because the only thing represented in this film as his music is eminently unmemorable.

But the movie is mostly Zappa telling his story himself, mostly through archival interviews. Like Hemingway, Zappa’s life is a lot more interesting than his music. If Zappa stands for anything, though, he stands for fighting censorship in any form. In fact at one point in this film he declares that he is a conservative. And, actually, he was a conservative. He fought government control and mindless censorship by the government, or anybody else for that matter.

He also had problems with the media, saying, “The more abstract and weird the media makes me look, the harder it is for me to get my message across.”

Director Thorstein Schütte has gathered innumerable interviews and performances done through three decades, many from long forgotten vaults of TV stations around the world, and put them together for this documentary.

Even if you don’t like his music, and I don’t, this is a fascinating story of a man who released 62 albums but was mostly known for his intense independence from the record industry in which he was involved.

You don’t have to like Zappa’s music, or even know anything about it, to get something out of this informative film which includes caustic comments about virtually everything, government, religion, the music industry, American culture, and more.