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HARMONTOWN – 5 Stars from

On 19, Mar 2014 | In Press & News | By SBI

Harmontown is a documentary film that follows television writer and producer Dan Harmon as he takes his live podcast, also named Harmontown, on tour around the country. Recently fired from the show he created, Community, Harmon’s tour offers an opportunity to get away from that negativity and allow him to connect with his fanbase (or alternately learn if he even has one). As the tour goes from city to city, we learn more about Dan Harmon and his compatriots, podcast co-stars Jeff B. Davis, Spencer Crittenden and Harmon’s girlfriend, Erin McGathy. It is an eye-opening, soul-wrenching experience, in the best way possible.

I knew very little about Neil Berkeley’s documentary feature film when I sat down to watch it at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival, save the above basics I gleaned from the synopsis. I vaguely knew about Dan Harmon, mainly due to reading some gossip about the whole Chevy Chase spat regarding Community and Harmon’s subsequent firing, but I didn’t know about the podcast, and I haven’t actually seen an episode of Community (not out of spite or anything, and not meant as an insult; there are tons of popular TV shows I’ve never seen). I have seen Heat Vison and Jack, but never connected that specifically with Harmon (same thing with The Sarah Silverman Show). Basically, I came into the film pretty ignorant of all things Dan Harmon.

But now I think I know quite a bit, thanks to the emotional whirlwind that is Harmontown. It was a strange, extremely moving experience for me. There were moments of pure joy, where you couldn’t pry the smile off my face. Alternately, moments that angered me. I felt sad, happy, angry, depressed, amused; I think I might’ve almost teared up at one point. When the film ended and I walked out of the theater, I felt as emotionally exhausted as I’ve ever felt in my life. It was absolutely draining.

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