Review: The United States of Insanity (Fantastic Fest 2021)

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Title: The United States of Insanity
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Tom Putnam, Brenna Sanchez
Starring: Violent J, Shaggy 2 Dope, Howard Hertz
Runtime: 1 hr 39 mins

What It Is: Detroit’s Insane Clown Posse are a group that is as hated by those that don’t like their music as they are adored by those that do. Those fans affectionately known as “Juggalos” were registered as a gang by the U.S. government. This has made them targets for police who find it deep in their hearts to harass them. This threat to them also puts into jeopardy their “Gathering of the Juggalos” a Fay-go soaked dream weekend for anyone with a hatchet man tattoo.

What We Think: Let’s start here. It asks questions of what a “free” America is. It asks questions of what a “gang” is. It internalizes our judgements of those who follow the Juggalo lifestyle. At the end of the day it’s a reflection of how we looks upon the fantasy and reality of music and it’s messaging. Are Jugglalos a gang? For this reviewer it seems futile to make such a claim. Fanaticism, as the film states could easily fall under the designation given by the United States. These people are brothers and sisters. Mothers and fathers. Normal Americans. You can make a case for the lack of diversity (per capita) but quite frankly these are just blue collar people trying to enjoy music (even if I think it’s bad music…make no mistake I do!) What this does more than anything is prove that preconceptions are strong. There are realizations about American fragility here I didn’t assume would be or could be addressed in a documentary about two guys dressed as clowns and bathing people in cheap root beer.

Our Grade: B+, I’m no fan of these musicians. That plays absolutely no role in my thoughts on this well put together documentary. I wasn’t expecting the film to delve into the turf it did. I was expecting a shallow dive into the cesspool that is their music. Instead we got an insightful piece that delivers more than it fails. I would strongly recommend this film to those that want to experience it for themselves. I think we’ve had our preconceptions mostly wrong about whom and what a Juggalo is. About who is worthy of freedom of speech, and the extent to which our government should police “fans”. Check this one out. It’s one of 2021’s most surprising and fantastic documentaries.

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