Latin Conference & Awards

Green Day, 'Broadway Idiot': Film Review

"Broadway Idiot"
Director: Doug Hamilton
Producer: Ira Pittelman
Featuring: Billie Joe Armstrong, Michael Mayer, Mike Dirnt, Tre Cool
Distributor: Film Buff
Release date: Oct. 10 (CBGB Film Festival), Oct. 11 (New York, on-demand), Oct. 15 (eight one-nighters), Oct. 18 (additional cities)
Running Time: 81 Minutes

Catharsis has rarely been captured better than in director Doug Hamilton's shots of an awestruck Billie Joe Armstrong in the few seconds after he hears an ensemble of actors perform songs from Green Day's "American Idiot." It's an early scene in "Broadway Idiot," a chronicling of the path of musical "American Idiot" from a Berkeley, Calif., rehearsal stage to Broadway in 2010 -- and the one that alerts viewers the film will be a rock'n'roller's journey as much as it is about the theater.

Thankfully, Armstrong wears his heart on his sleeve and never shies from expressing the emotions that come when an artist from one discipline attempts to venture into another. For the actors, producers and musical talent, it's about the creation of a show; for Armstrong, it's about community and camaraderie.

"Broadway Idiot" provides a backstage view of every step of the process -- from the audition to decide if it even has a chance at being a show, to the tryout in Green Day's Berkeley hometown, to Broadway, to Armstrong ultimately joining the cast. Hamilton's direction and Rob Tinworth's editing heighten the intensity at every turn -- it's not until Armstrong sits in the audience with his musical directors to dissect the construction of the songs that the tension is released.

Hamilton smartly integrates some superb concert footage of the band on its American Idiot tour -- a great reminder of how powerful that record is and how well it connected with fans. It provides a sharp contrast to how different the Broadway experience is. When Armstrong is in the cast, he has to learn the rules and decorum of the stage. The funny thing is, if he and his bandmates had conformed in the past, there would've never been an album to use for the show.