If the cast of Saturday Night Live set out to make a feature-length skit that aspired to be the This is Spinal Tap of the Woodstock generation, they might come up with something similar to Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend. This fairly clever and rather historically accurate (as satires go) ultra-indie Mocumentary traces the remarkable story of “mouth-guitar” legend Darnell Dawkins (played by Ross Patterson, who also wrote the script).
The story goes that Dawkins was a childhood friend of Jimi Hendrix (played by comedian R. Ernie Silva), who ended up filling in for the legendary guitarist at Woodstock after Hendrix missed his flight. Sadly, Dawkins’ disapproving father suppressed much of the filmed footage of Darnell’s performance career from public release – until now. The confusing thing is that, while Dawkins is described as a “Mouth Guitar” legend, he does not actually play the instrument with his mouth (as Hendrix famously did) but, rather, he made the sounds of the guitar with his mouth. So, no guitar playing is actually involved, and “mouth guitar” is somewhat like air guitar, in a way. While it’s probably funnier to not be entirely clear on this until you see the film, I think I am okay with this degree of a spoiler, since it’s easy to figure out pretty early on, and it makes the film’s tagline, “He only spoke with his mouth” seem worth a few extra laughs.
Considering the slim budget on which the film appears to have been made, the filmmakers pulled together a cast with a remarkable number of recognizable faces, including Ray Wise (Laura Palmer’s Dad from Twin Peaks) as Darnell’s Dad, Christine Lakin as Wilhemina, Darnell’s muse, William R. Mapother (Lost, who is also Tom Cruise’s Cousin!), Michael Raymond-James (Rene from True Blood), Curtis Armstrong (Booger from Revenge of The Nerds) and Veteran B Movie Actor Richard Riehle.
Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend, which could be compared to a bare bones budget version Walk Hard, is not a genius film or anything, but it’s pretty funny (funnier than Walk Hard, to be honest) and especially endearing if you’ve seen the Woodstock concert film and know your stuff when it comes to classic sixties acts such as Hendrix, The Jefferson Airplane and other bands of that time. It’s a film that would be fun to watch with a small group of like-minded friends at a house party where you are perhaps drinking and smoking a bit too much and just want to be silly. I enjoyed it.
The disc can be purchased for under $12 on Amazon.com and it’s worth that price just to have it around the house so you can whip it out when your friends who like this kind of film are over and say, “Hey, check out this crazy thing!” Also there’s lots of nudity (read: naked chicks) in it, if that’s something that interests you. Run Time: 87 Minutes.
The Worley Gig Gives Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend 3 out of 5 Stars