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Plexifilm presents
You Think You Really Know Me: The Gary Wilson Story (2008)

“The first time we heard Gary Wilson’s record, my jaw hit the floor. That record was crazy, but crazy in a good way.”
- Adrian Milan

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: June 24, 2008

Stars: Gary Wilson
Other Stars: Adrian Milan
Director: Michael Wolk

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult situations)
Run Time: 01h:13m:40s
Release Date: June 17, 2008
UPC: 082354004422
Genre: music


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B B+C+B- C

DVD Review

The story of Gary Wilson is a fascinating one that practically screams out to be the subject of a feature-length documentary. His quick rise to semi-fame on the strength of a single, extremely offbeat album, and subsequent disappearance should result in fascinating material. Director Michael Wolk set out to capture Wilson’s story, resulting in the film You Think You Really Know Me: The Gary Wilson Story. Whether this riveting subject made for a compelling documentary is a toss-up in this case, but Plexifilm has not only given us a solid DVD for it, they’ve also chosen to include the out-of-print album that shares the film’s title.

Gary Wilson is a musician who came out of nowhere in 1977 and released an album that the few who have heard it consider among their favorites of all-time. You Think You Really Know Me took the New York music scene by storm when it leaked out to industry folks, but has been forgotten over the years and difficult to find. Despite its acclaim, the album did little to make Wilson a household name. After years of trying to garner such recognition, via performances and other weirdness, Wilson faded into obscurity.

This documentary stems from the director’s search, along with the staff of Motel Records, for the elusive Wilson. After utilizing several contacts, most of whom knew the singer at some point, they manage to track him down at an adult bookstore in San Diego, where he was working as the night manager. The first half of this very short film is strong in its introduction to Wilson’s strange, yet eerily intoxicating music, but once that’s out of the way it hits a wall as the search for him seemingly goes on and on.

Once Wilson is found, it seems like director Wolk finds his way as well, and the rest of his picture is engrossing stuff. It’s compelling watching this singer reconnect with fans who, even though they only had a single album to love, still adore Wilson’s work and how it changed the way they look at music. Perhaps the most interesting thing to take out of this is how you react to today’s Gary Wilson. The aforementioned fans still seemed to buy into his strange demeanor, but for those of us experiencing his music for the first time, the differences between the “two Wilsons” is a profound one. Still, if he hadn’t changed at all through the years, this wouldn’t be much of a story, would it?

The accompanying CD is the real gem of this package, though. Fans of indie music owe it to themselves to get this, if only for the CD. Its unique blend of jazz, rock, and plenty of strange sound effects put it way ahead of its time back in 1977. Despite the presence of bands who attempt similar genre blends, Wilson’s piece still stands out as something that can never be duplicated. While the film gives us a hint of the magic of this album, you won’t get a true feel for just how special of an experience Wilson’s music is without giving the CD a complete listen, a task made possible by this excellent set.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Presented in its original full frame format, the transfer is a slightly above average one. The images are sharp enough, but their quality varies according to the shape that the footage is in. Colors are well rendered, while blacks and shadow levels are strong, with minimal dirt and grain.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is surprisingly good, with Gary Wilson’s music sounding very impressive, given its age. The rest of the mix consists of mostly dialogue, and, fortunately, it’s always crystal clear.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 6 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The extras include a collection of three short films. These last a total of nearly 28 minutes and are experimental 16mm films shot by Frank Roma, who was a member of Gary Wilson’s band, the Blind Dates.

There’s also a collection of silent 8mm short films by another of the Blind Dates, Butch Bottino. The disc also gives us the option to watch these with a “new soundtrack,” but you’re better off sticking to the original, silent versions.

The trailer for You Think You Really Know Me: The Gary Wilson Story is also included.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

If you’ve never heard of Gary Wilson before, Plexifilm’s DVD/CD release of You Think You Really Know Me: The Gary Wilson Story is the perfect opportunity to experience what you’ve been missing. This unforgettably original album is presented in its entirety, along with an often riveting documentary about Wilson’s life, past and present.

 


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