Big Time | Chicago Reader

Big Time

This 1988 concert film captures singer-songwriter Tom Waits in all his idiosyncratic glory—for better and for worse. The tunes are culled from his remarkable trio of late-80s albums (Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs, and Frank's Wild Years), and the performances are superb, with Waits at his most expressive. The band, one of his best, includes guitarist Marc Ribot and accordionist Willy Schwarz. But the theatrical interludes, adapted from the singer's 1986 stage musical Frank's Wild Years, push camp into the realm of the absurd. Chris Blum directed. 87 min.

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