Joe Frank: Somewhere Out There (2018) Poster

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Didn't enjoy it as much as i wanted to
bendi3618 August 2019
I'm a huge joe frank fan. I drive around in melbourne australia with a joe frank bumper sticker hoping one day someone will say hey i love joe frank too and we will spend the next few hours in a pub talking about our favourite stories.

I had high hopes for this. I saw it playing out two different ways: An introductory doco for those with no knowledge of joe. Or a detailed biography of joe's life. The film was a mix of both, a luke warmish introduction with those close to him disclosing little facets of his life here and there. I didn't feel like I knew anything more about Joe after watching it. It was more about how his wife and friends felt about him.

His peers such as david cross and ira glass paying tribute was good. The best parts of the film were when they just played joe snippets. I much preferred the radiolab tribute to him, was a better balance and let segments of Joe's work play out longer. I would have been happy for a 2 hour celebration of his work, adding actors and scenery to accompany the audio.

This was always going to be a difficult project, how to represent a man and his works that transcend visual medium. I do want to add that even though my review isn't painting a stellar picture I'm still grateful for the feature.
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For a long-time Frank fan, worth waiting for. For a non-fan ... ?
thatwoodb31 October 2019
This movie was put together with some arresting visuals used under audio clips from Frank's shows-- not that this is the best way to enjoy Frank's art, but what other choices did the director have if he wanted to include portions of his subject's work in his film? (The best way to take in Frank is in a room alone with the lights out.)

For a decades-long fan like me, it was enjoyable to hear and see Frank's collaborators and friends talk about what it was like to know and work with him. But it wasn't really what you'd call a deep dive into Joe Frank's life or psyche, and I didn't learn much that I hadn't already read or heard from Frank himself through his show over the years, apart from the circumstances that led to his leaving KCRW. That revelation was a bit of a shock. Oh, and the interview done with one of JF's collaborators did buttress my hypothesis about his death in 2012.

If you're not a fan, would this be worth seeing? Hmm, not sure. It's hard for me to be objective about that. But I suspect a better way to familiarize yourself with him is to first listen to one of his shows. If you like it, listen to another (his old shows are in rotation at WNYC, to name just one station, and are also available for purchase at his website). Then, if you become obsessed with him, or simply curious about how someone could come up with these ideas, watch the movie.

Or maybe it would work just as well in reverse.
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