The town of Athens, Georgia exists mainly to provide services to the local university. It also serves as the setting for a whole movement of small, independent rock bands -- which is the subject of this documentary. Cheap local rents and plentiful audiences create a venue for the fulfillment of many a creative dream in this unlikely location, as most of the musicians featured here (whose style is based on U.S. and European punk styles of the 1970s) have no desire to become big hits and only want a chance to perform before a live audience. An additional segment focuses on the accomplishments of the highly eccentric "Reverend" Howard Finster, whose artwork for the Talking Heads album Little Creatures won a national "Album Cover of the Year" award. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide
GreenCine Says: "It's been pretty simple so far, vacation in Athens is calling me," sang R.E.M. in their song "Letter Never Sent" (Reckoning, 1984), and they weren't referring to Greece, but their Georgia hometown, a college burg that spawned a host of other equally talented, though in some cases, less famous bands. Many of them are featured in Tony Gayton's loving little rock doc, Athens GA: Inside/Out. Richard Harrington in the Washington Post wrote then: "Gayton's film reflects the energy and the self-made spirit of Athens. And in these days of assembly-line rock bands, that counts for a little more than something." The film includes Michael Stipe, Mike Mills and Co., more famously known as R.E.M., The B-52s (some of whom are pictured at right), as well as the late, lamented post-punkers Pylon, Love Tractor, The Bar-B-Q Killers and others. It's a grassroots film about a grassroots community of musicians, a regional movement with surprising complexity and variety. In some ways Athens Inside/Out is a time capsule piece, and yet it hasn't dated much at all.