Broadway Idiot is a documentary chronicling the adaptation of Green Day’s 2004 concept album American Idiot into a Broadway musical about rock music uniting disillusioned teens.
The doco opens with a pearl of wisdom from the band’s frontman Billie Joe Armstrong; “there’s some people that like to do things the safe way, and that’s just never been part of my vocabulary.” As little sense as this statement makes, it points us towards one of the driving forces of this documentary, which is to show Billie Joe as a badass rock star. In fact, this seems to be the only point of Broadway Idiot for the first half hour, but by the time we have sufficiently understood the extent to which Billie Joe is a rock star we are allowed to see the story of the musical unfolding a little more, and at this point Broadway Idiot becomes a lot more watchable. The project grows, becomes more of an active collaboration between Green Day and the musical’s director, Michael Mayer, and finally hits Broadway, becoming a reasonable success. Billie Joe even softens toward the end, becoming a cast member in the musical and seeming to really enjoy being a part of the production.
Broadway Idiot seems very much aimed at existing fans of Green Day, but as a story of a Broadway show developing from scratch it does alright. For viewers who are not familiar with the band, or who just aren’t really fans, myself included, it’s not a total loss, as long as you can accept early on that Billie Joe is a badass rock star.
Broadway Idiot is available now on DVD.