Watching Danny Says is an experience akin to sitting at the bar of one of the disgusting and grimy clubs that the musicians featured got their start in, listening to the local barfly tell you about his life, with occasional interjections and clarifications from his friends sitting nearby.

Except, in this case, the barfly is one of the most influential people in the history of rock and roll, his life story includes anecdotes about Jim Morrison hating him, and his friends are people like Iggy Pop.

Danny Says documents the life and career of Danny Fields, a man who you may not have heard of, but whose stamp on music and pop culture are so undeniably ubiquitous that he has surely had an effect on your life. Between The Doors, Iggy and the Stooges, MC5, The Velvet Underground, Nico, Andy Warhol, and The Ramones, the musicians and artists that Fields worked with and called his friends have left an unquestionable legacy on music and pop culture that is difficult to even begin to quantify.

The impact of these artists on our world, put in context of Fields' impact on their careers is what makes this film such an interesting watch. This isn't because of the grandiosity of it all, however. In fact, it's that these stories are told so casually. Some of the most important moments in rock and roll are relayed like they're just about a group of friends' most debaucherous years, and that's exactly what they are.

If there's something to criticize about the film overall, it is definitely in how one-sided it is in its hero worship, not only of Fields, but also the "glory days" of rock and roll. The most glaring example of this is the disturbingly casual mention that Fields was the one to introduce Iggy Pop to cocaine--a moment that is played for laughs, but I found myself more horrified by than anything.





At no point is the viewer asked to question the decisions of Fields or the musicians he influenced, despite the consequences of their actions. Maybe that's how it should be though. The film is asking us as the viewer to allow ourselves to be transported into Fields' world, and in that world, there weren't questions of consequences. In these early days of punk rock, life was meant to be lived as it happened, and questions about tomorrow could be answered when it arrived.

Danny Says is largely lacking in a third act. We see Fields' early life and the beginnings of his career in music, followed by a long period dwelling on his time at the height of power within the industry, culminating in his work with the Ramones (whose song, 'Danny Says' is about Fields, and where the film takes its title from). However, instead of taking the natural step and following this with his the latter years of Fields' career and his life after leaving the music industry, the film leaves the viewer wondering.

This lack of a complete arc is my biggest issue with the film, and it definitely left me wanting for more. However, this doesn't necessarily undercut the strength of the rest of the film in such a way that it makes the film any less enjoyable to watch. In fact, it actually speaks to how well executed the film is in its strengths. The stories told were so intimate and revealing that it left me wanting more. I wanted to live in Danny Fields' world even longer than I was given the opportunity to.

Maybe it's better not to ask these questions, though. In the case of Danny Says, it's better to just live vicariously through the stories as they are thrown at you, and not worry about what is going to happen next, or when it will come to a screeching end.