Air Guitar Nation
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Sometime in the ‘90s, in a small town in Finland, a group of guys decided to hold the first-ever Air Guitar World Championships. At first, it was just for fun—just a joke—but the crowds showed up in droves, and the event grew each year. It wasn’t until 2002 that word of the World Championships reached the US. A couple of air guitar enthusiasts saw an article in the paper and decided that if there was an Air Guitar World Championship, the US should definitely be there. So in 2003, the first American Air Guitar Championships were held—first with an east coast qualifying round in a bar above a strip club in New York, then a west coast qualifying rounds followed by the finals at the Roxy in LA.

Air Guitar Nation follows the American Air Guitar Champion hopefuls on their journey. It begins with the New York competition, where, surprisingly, so many people showed up to watch, that hundreds were turned away. The film follows eastern champ C-Diddy (actor David Jung), who wowed the crowds with both his technique and his humor, performing in a red robe, with a Hello Kitty backpack as a breastplate, on his journey to the American finals in LA. It also follows New York runner-up Bjorn Turoque (musician Dan Crane), who refused to take second place to C-Diddy—and who convinced Carson Daly to send him to LA to try again.

Then, once the American qualifying rounds are over, the filmmakers head to Finland, to document the days leading up to the 2003 Air Guitar World Championship.

Air Guitar Nation is the funniest documentary I’ve seen in years. Right from the beginning, I was hooked—and I was thoroughly entertained through the entire film. The story of the championship is incredible—it’s a huge annual event that draws thousands of people, but it started out as nothing more than a joke. And the participants are fascinating. Some take the event so seriously—and at their pre-championship training camp, they talk about air guitar as “the last pure art form.” Others, like C-Diddy, see it as a chance to be someone else for a while—a chance to play around and have a little fun and maybe even win something along the way.

Viewers will be both amazed by the seriousness of the event and amused by those involved. And the constant rock soundtrack only adds to the fun. There’s no way you can watch this documentary without laughing—or without rocking out just a little bit. If you always thought that documentaries were supposed to be boring, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by Air Guitar Nation. It’ll change the way you look at documentaries—and air guitar playing—forever.

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