• Fix – The Ministry Movie



    Released by: Blairwood Entertainment
    Released on: April 10, 2012.
    Director: Douglas Freel
    Cast: Al Jourgensen, Paul Barker, Trent Reznor, Maynard Keenan, Jonathan Davis, Jello Biafra
    Year: 2011
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    The Movie:

    After a few festival dates throughout the country, Douglas Freel’s long awaited documentary Fix – The Ministry Movie arrives on DVD courtesy of Blairwood Entertainment. Much of the movie just sort of follows frontman Al Jourgensen around but by featuring input from Jello Biafra, Jonathan Davis, Trent Reznor, Maynard James Keenan, Lemmy, Nivek Ogre, King Buzzo, Nivek Ogre, Dave Nararro, David Yow and plenty of Ministry band members past and present, the focus of the documentary is as much on Al’s odd paranoid personality as it is on Ministry’s impact on music.

    It’s definitely going to help to have at least a rough idea of who Jourgensen is and why Ministry matters to so many people, as it sort of hits the ground running. We don’t get the typical history lessons that so many music documentaries provide, instead we’re let backstage to get what equates to an inside look at how Jourgensen has kept the band going despite serious drug issues and constant line-up changes over the years. We witness first hand Al’s love of heroin (he shoots up on camera without any hesitation) and we see him interacting with groupies. We see him high, sticking his cock in a roasted chicken just before record executives are let into the room, and we see him low, ranting about death threats and wearing a bullet proof vest onto the stage fearing for his life.

    Input from the various interviewees gives us some interesting insight into what it’s like to work with him. David Yow talks about a tour that Jesus Lizard did with Ministry in which he wound up completely naked on stage during their set (with clips to back it up) while Biafra and Reznor talk about the lengths to which Jourgensen’s drug use has gone. Lemmy sort of laughs a lot of it off and just sort of appears to be Lemmy, while the rest all share some stories about their interactions and/or collaborations with one of the most enigmatic frontmen in modern music.

    We also learn about the effects of the band’s ‘big time’ years on Al’s psyche by way of some interviews with a few of the studio executives who were involved on the albums in which the band broke, namely Psalm 69 – after which they started drawing much bigger crowds and Jourgensen started having to live up to much bigger expectations. You get the impression as the movie plays out that a lot of his ‘drug god’ persona is part of the show, but as to how much of what we see here is true or not… it’s hard to say. The camera’s don’t shy away and given the fact that Jourgensen has done time for possession more than once, more of it is likely true than not, but there are definitely times where it feels like Al is having one over on the viewer. At one point Jourgensen sued director Douglas Freel for not giving him approval over the final cut, but this has been dropped and obviously the DVD now exists (and conveniently enough, just in time for Ministry’s reunion tour and new album, Relapse).

    Ultimately Fix is a pretty interesting film, an interesting look at what years on the road can and will do and how people choose to deal with it or not deal with it as the case may be. The movie is often times as inaccessible as its subject, jumping around without any sort of coherent timeline (the bulk of the footage seems to have been shot between 1996 and 2000) but it all sort of works in spite of itself, much like Jourgensen himself. Newer interview clips sliced into the film offer nothing in terms of ‘where are they now’ material, it simply serves to let us know that these guys are still around, some more productive than others.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Shot on various different video cameras in black and white and in color, Fix is pretty erratic looking on DVD but overall it looks fine. Some compression artifacts pop up but the image is clean when it should be and appropriately gritty and rough looking when the filmmakers want it to be.

    Audio, by way of an English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix, sounds good across the board so long as you keep in mind that some of this stuff was just simply shot back stage and on the tour bus on the fly. Some scenes are a bit muffled for that reason but generally the interviews are clean and clear and the music sounds just as harsh as it is supposed to. No complaints here, really.

    The extras on the DVD itself include a collection of extended and deleted clips from the various interviews that make up much of the movie. More with Lemmy, Buzzo, Davis, Barker and Al himself can be found here and if you dug the feature, take the time to sift through the bonus material as it’s in a similar vein. Inside the keepcase, aside from the DVD, is an eleven track soundtrack CD album from Paul Barker (which is pretty rad) and a fold out poster that replicates the cover art of the DVD and the slipcase that it fits inside of.

    The Final Word:

    Just how self aware Jourgensen really is here will likely remain a mystery but Fix – The Ministry Movie is still quite an impressive and fascinating picture, as chaotic and indecipherable as it can sometimes be. Part cautionary tale, part mondo film it’s as interesting as it is unsettling and, yes, even depressing. It isn’t going to provide anyone with the ‘biography’ style storytelling that most music documentaries offer, someone else can make that movie, but anyone interested in the band will want to see it regardless.



























    Comments 11 Comments
    1. Paul Casey's Avatar
      Paul Casey -
      Interesting. I'm not into Ministry post-Psalm 69, but I'd probably check this out. Been bopping around to Twitch quite a bit recently.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Most of the footage is 96 era, so it's close to the Psalm 69 era. Even if you're only a fan of the earlier stuff, this is still definitely worth seeing. Not only does Fabio pop up in it (ha!) but it's just a really interesting look into what's left of Al's psyche.
    1. paul h.'s Avatar
      paul h. -
      I can't wait to see this.
    1. Roderick's Avatar
      Roderick -
      The new album is super shitty.

      But I have this coming in the mail anyway. Looking forward to the bonus Paul Barker CD.
    1. Paul Casey's Avatar
      Paul Casey -
      Cool. Thanks, Ian. I'm gonna add this to my list, "You're like a really big hit of acid just waiting to be taken." I love the David Yow pic, by the way.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I kinda wish that I hadn't watched this. The mystique around Ministry back in the late 80's/early 90s' was intimidating to say the least. No internet gossip, access to a lot of the band's personal lives....they were just a crazy-ass junkie band who made crazy-ass music. Jourgensen comes across as a bit of a dolt in this, and not just because he's a junkie, just because he doesn't seem like a very interesting person. I'm glad that I saw them in their prime, but I should've left the legacy alone.
    1. Roderick's Avatar
      Roderick -
    1. Roderick's Avatar
      Roderick -
      Al is coming out with another Ministry "last album": From Beer To Enternity
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Oh, fer chrissake. Even the titles are getting stupid.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Ha, but never mind THAT....

      http://www.slicingupeyeballs.com/201...-hit-run-meth/
    1. Roderick's Avatar
      Roderick -