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“Wesley Willis’s Joy Rides”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Many of you probably have never heard of Wesley Willis, but I do know there are a healthy handful of you out there that do. For those who don’t, Wesley Willis was an artist, a poet, and even a rock star. You could even say he could really whip a horse’s ass. At first glance Wesley may have seemed like nothing more then a homeless chronic schizophrenic, but for those of us who took a moment to take a look closer, we got to see an amazing human being that never let his lot in life get in the way of his dreams. Wesley Willis’s Joy Rides is a documentary, I’m sorry “It’s a Rock You Mentary,” about the life and times of the Fabian Road Warrior himself. The really nice thing about this film is that they don’t just focus on his music and the cult following that followed, but they also spent a great deal of time showcasing his artwork, which is quite outstanding. My only problem with this film is that it seemed to lack a solid structure. We just seem to hang out with Wesley, which is cool, but I would have just liked a little bit more of a narrative on his life. The documentary does have moments like this, but I think a little more insight would have brought this film to the next level.
I’ve been a fan of Wesley’s since college, and I even got to see him perform at a small venue in Columbus, Ohio. To this day, I’m so glad I didn’t let that opportunity pass me by. In the last eight years here in Los Angeles, I’ve been able to see a lot of amazing performances, by some of the biggest names in music, in a room of maybe ten people, and to this day seeing Wesley still tops a lot of those moments. I’m proud to say I was head bunted by Wesley Willis one night at Bernie’s in Columbus. This documentary may not mean that much to you if you’re new to the world of Wesley Willis, but for those of us that do remember him, this movie is a must see. Say Rah… Say Raow… And, you just made Wesley very happy wherever he might be right now. The world is a better place having had you in it big guy.


DVD Special Features:

  • Photo Album
  • Art Gallery
  • Deleted Scenes
  • “The Dead and the Dying” Short Film featuring Wesley Willis
  • Audio Conversation Clip

Not a ton of special features, but what it does have is pretty good. The art gallery is fantastic! It’s really great to be able to freeze the images on your television screen to see all the amazing details in his drawings. There’s a healthy helping of deleted scenes, and a really bad short film called “The Dead and the Dying,” featuring Wesley for all of a minute; but it’s a nice thing it have. I’m not really sure of the reason for including the eight minute audio conversation clip, but it’s there if you want to listen to it.

DVD Special Features Rating: