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I Want to Destroy America

3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

I want to Destroy America is a documentary about the street musician Hisao Shinagawa a Japanese singer/songwriter who has refused to give up on his elusive dream of success and stardom regardless of personal cost and the solitary reality of his life. For 42 years he has cast himself as the Japanese Bob Dylan. Moving from Tokyo to America in 1974 following in the footsteps of his hero Woody Guthrie he befriended Johnny Cash and Townes Van Zandt after hitchhiking to Nashville. Now at 60 he plays his music on the streets of Los Angeles while living in near poverty still hoping to find an audience in a manner that is admirable bittersweet and ultimately heartbreaking. The Atomic Music of Shinagawa!

DVD Special Features:Chapter Selections, Trailer, Still Gallery, Biographies, Soundtracks, Outtakes.

Review

The story of this self-proclaimed 'Japanese Bob Dylan' is an engaging exploration of one man's desire to make peace with his past while struggling to cope with his uncertain future. -- from The New Mexican

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Hisao Shinagawa
  • Directors: Peter I. Chang, Mitch Cullin (Producer)
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Pathfinder Home Ent.
  • DVD Release Date: June 3, 2008
  • Run Time: 66 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001659HDY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #421,625 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "I Want to Destroy America" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By N. Huang on June 5, 2008
Format: DVD
After attempting a few times, I found it difficult to write a review without sounding like a word for word repeat of Hazel Motes's excellent review above. It really is spot on.

I'd just like to add that director Peter I. Chang deserves a nod for interweaving interviews, stock footage, photos, and musical performances in a manner that really pulls you into Shinagawa's world. Even though the scope of the subject's journey is rather large - spanning Tokyo to Los Angeles, folk to reggae, MTV fame to poverty - the film is rather intimate, more like a conversation with Shinagawa. It is at times funny, sad, over the top, introspective, but always a real treat. I definitely recommend checking it out.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Blair Kennen on July 29, 2008
Format: DVD
Small films about people few of us have heard of can sometimes offer great rewards. I WANT TO DESTROY AMERICA is one such film, and this intimate & touching glimpse into the bizarre world of the musician Hisao Shinagawa was a joy from start to finish. Mr. Shinagawa is not without talent and drive, and lives with a stated belief of being "great" that places him in the Legend-In-My-Own-Mind category. And that's partly what is fascinating about his story: Living in obscurity with a grand delusion can also be strangely life affirming. Highly recommended look at a very unusual character.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hazel Motes on May 18, 2008
Format: DVD
I'm so glad this film is finally getting a DVD release. I was fortunate enough to see it when it showed at the Atlanta Underground Festival (under its original title of Life In A G-Chord), and I was very moved by the story...especially since I had no idea who Hisao Shinagawa was or is. Now I do, and I suspect that that kind of introduction was the filmmaker's intention for creating this very touching, sometimes strangely off-beat film.

Besides Shinagawa's brushes with stars (he was friends with Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt, and David Byrne) and stardom (making music videoes for MTV, signed to a major record label before getting aburptly dropped), the heart of the film is how this now aging Japanese immigrant struggles to survive in poverty. He plays his guitar on the streets of Los Angeles, singing in a style that is somewhere between Tom Waits on a bad day and Bob Dylan on a bender. Yet it is his commitment to his craft which is most inspiring, made even more so when it is learned that the beat-up guitar he plays once belonged to Townes Van Zandt. The back story, though, is where the meat of the film lies, revealing much about what has shaped Hisao, including the impact of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the American rock & folk music influencing the youth culture of 60s Japan, and the relationship with his mother who is now ill. But when all is said and done, this is the story of a someone who has given himself no other choices in life except to create, and the impression it leaves is one of a man who really is only performing for himself, with little care or regard for those who might stop to listen. It is fascinating stuff, if not a bit sad on occasion.
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