My review & pictures of Green Day at “Broadway Idiot” World Premiere at 2013 SXSW Film Festival

On Friday, March 15, 2013 I attended the gala World Premiere of Broadway Idiot at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. The sold-out screening was held at the historic Paramount Theatre. The documentary was a selection in the 24 Beats Per Second section.

In general, rock docs are recommended more to those familiar with the artists and their music. Triple Emmy and Peabody Award-winning director Doug Hamilton's Broadway Idiot, chronicling the long, arduous task of transforming Green Day's American Idiot album into a musical theater production, is just the opposite. This is a story with broad appeal. And for fans of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, Tré Cool, and Jason White, it's a must-see.

Green Day first came through my radio station early in 1994 just after the release of their third album Dookie, which spawned three number one hits on the Billboard Modern Rock charts: Longview, Basket Case, and When I Come Around. I was an on-air DJ and we were the biggest radio station in the country's fourth largest market, so all the major rock acts stopped in for interviews. Billie Joe was a little kid with green hair and a punk attitude -- but I spied some genius beneath the scraggly veneer, a quiet intelligence and charm that he kept in public check. That brilliance is evident onscreen from opening to closing credits of Broadway Idiot.

I'm always a bit hesitant to recommend music documentaries to a wide audience as, in most cases, fans of that particular artist or music are the ones who get the most out of seeing the film. In the case of Broadway Idiot, though, even if one is not familiar with the music, the movie should resonate with viewers who appreciate quality staging, vocalizations, songs, and musical theater style. Broadway Idiot is a lesson in what it takes to bring a production to Broadway as much as it is a celebration of this iconic American rock band's music. (They used to be called punk -- "rock" was almost offensive to some -- but time has certainly changed that.)

Director Doug Hamilton was brought onstage by SXSW Film Festival Producer Janet Pierson to introduce the film. In a very pleasant surprise (as in, "And the crowd goes wild!"), they were joined by Green Day members Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tré Cool. After the screening, Hamilton returned to the stage for a fun and enlightening Q&A session.

I gave Broadway Idiot five stars and a place on my 2013 SXSW Film Festival Top 5 Documentaries.

Here are some pictures I shot during the intro and Q&A:

INTRO GALLERY (23 photos) (with Green Day)

Q&A GALLERY (64 photos on 4 pages)

Twitter @broadwayidiot

Broadway Idiot - SXSW 2013 Accepted Film from SXSW on Vimeo.


Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at

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  • Author: Larry Richman
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