John Mellencamp: It’s About You

| June 6, 2012

Following John Mellencamp’s 2009 tour with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, this documentary collects a variety of footage of Mellencamp both on and off stage in an attempt to show his audience the committed businessman behind the artist.

Honsetly, I couldn’t name a John Mellencamp song to save my life.  Watching this documentary, it’s not that he’s a bad singer or musician – I actually liked what I heard here, but he is a little folksy for my taste.  Somewhere between country and gospel.  Actually, the only song I recognized from before seeing the film was “Small Town,” which I personally despise largely due to the fact that it was my senior class song, and I found the implication of that insulting – I wasn’t born in a small town, I don’t plan on dying in one.

Bottom line, if you like Mellencamp’s work, you will very likely enjoy this documentary.  My indifference towards him as an artist created a similarly indifferent reaction to the film.  First, I wouldn’t really consider this to be a documentary.  To me, a documentary is like any other film, in that it has to create a narrative.  It’s About You is not a biography of Mellencamp’s life or even a profile of him as an artist.  It’s actually little more than crude, behind the scenes footage of Mellencamp in various recording studios juxtaposed with seemingly random footage of people dancing.  It’s more like a concert experience or a very long music video than a documentary.  The one documentary element is hearing Mellencamp’s voice throughout the piece as a sort of narration.  I say “sort of” because it’s not a traditional narration style so much as the readings of excerpts from some sort of production journal.  I assume Mellencamp was asked to write down his thoughts during the process and they wanted to splice it into the film in post-production.  Closer inspection of the DVD case will reveal that it’s not even Mellencamp reading his own words, but rather the film’s co-director Kurt Markus.

I really have no idea why this would be released on Blu-ray and not just DVD.  The entire film looks like it was shot with an old film camera rather than any sort of high-definition digital camera.  It’s not a bad look for the content of the film, but asking an audience to pay extra for a Blu-ray copy of a sub-standard definition film feels rather strange.

No special features on the DVD.  Just some previews for other features coming soon from MPI Home Video.

Available on Blu-ray and DVD from MPI Home Video on June 5

About the Author:

Joe Ketchum Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
Filed in: Film, Video and DVD

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