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Thorsten Schütte’s film is a sharply edited and energetic celebration of Zappa through his public persona, allowing us to witness his shifting relationship with audiences. Utilizing potent TV interviews and many forgotten performances from his 30-year career, we are immersed into the musician’s world while experiencing two distinct facets of his complex character. At once Zappa was both a charismatic composer who reveled in the joy of performing and, in the next moment, a fiercely intelligent and brutally honest interviewee whose convictions only got stronger as his career ascended.

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Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words movie full length review - Interviews and live music from one of the most interesting musicians of the 20th Century makes for one interesting film.

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"Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in his Own Words" is a film about the musical iconoclast, composer and entrepreneur, Frank Zappa. The film is mainly Zappa in his own words and his words are almost as entertaining as his compositions. The film also has a lot of footage of him playing live. Unlike the U.S., Zappa was a celebrity in Europe. Thus, many of the interviews are from European shows. In fact, his song Bobby Brown, despite its 'lewdness' in English, was a number one hit in Norway and Sweden.

The film illuminates Zappa and shows his combative style as well as his creative talents. As a musician, he wrote everything from blues to classical to jazz to standard rock. All the while, he mocked musical styles he thinks of as trite such as disco, psychedelia and new wave. In one scene, Zappa mocks Devo music with an imitation of part of Devo's hit, Whip It. What Zappa seems to not know is that Devo would have absolutely agreed with Zappa's critique of music and pop culture. And that is why many love Zappa, his willing to challenge convention and critique everything.

He talks about free speech and freedom, he calls himself a conservative and a composer, he is proud to "have four kids" and brags that he pays his mortgage and pays taxes like any American. He has no patience for "terrible music" and people who are sell outs. There are many noteworthy quotes in the film. He hates the record industry for messing with his music and preventing him from making money off of his talent and music in generally, but one senses that if he could rid the world of music he hates, he might just do that.

I would have liked to hear him talk more about music he likes and dislikes and some of his other influences more than the one scene where he lists classical artist he likes and have influenced him such as Stravinsky and Bartók. Did he like Dylan, Miles Davis, punk rock, or rap music? Perhaps these questions weren't in the vault anywhere. But the questions are intriguing given the interviews that were in the film.

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Interviews and live music from one of the most interesting musicians of the 20th Century makes for one interesting film.

Peace, Tex Shelters