Posts Tagged ‘Matt Berninger’


The film was directed by Tom Berninger, Matt Berninger’s brother, who loves metal and considers indie music “pretentious bullshit.”


BELOW, read a review from PITCHFORK:
The opening film at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival was, ostensibly, “that movie about the National”. In actuality, the documentary, Mistaken for Strangers, isn’t exactly focused on the National. The band serves more as a backdrop for what may be the funniest, most meta music movie since Spinal Tap. The true leading man is National frontman Matt Berninger’s younger brother, Tom, the film’s director and subject.
Tom is a familiar character: a metalhead partier/slacker, who’s still living at home in Cincinnati and figuring things out. He’s not in awe of the National; at one point, he comments to drummer Bryan Devendorf that he seems “metal” while the other members of the band are so “coffeehouse.” Matt invites Tom to join the band’s High Violet tour as a roadie, where he gets this idea to film a documentary about the band while he’s traveling the world with them.

It’s easy to see how this will go. Tom becomes more and more invested in filming every waking hour instead of the menial tasks assigned to him. He eventually leaves the tour on not-great terms, the documentary half-baked. It’s later completed once Matt and his wife invite Tom to move into their Brooklyn home and reside in their daughter’s playroom.

Matt, whose patience throughout is admirable, loses it at a few key moments, including one scene in which he questions why cereal and milk have been spilled on the floor of a hotel bathroom. He’s serious, but it’s the stuff of buddy comedies, something characters in a Judd Apatow movie would bicker over. Scenes like this one could not have been written to be more comedic. But it doesn’t feel like Tom is playing a role, despite the fact that he’s exactly what one would expect of a rock star’s brother living in his shadow.
Mistaken for Strangers flips the narrative of the National, a band considered underdogs for years during their slow build toward success with each subsequent album. In this film, Matt is framed as the Golden Boy. From Tom’s perspective, Matt has always been his cool older brother, the type of guy who’s good at everything he tries.

Seeing the film in the context of Tribeca’s opening night, it’s as though the plotline is still in motion. This is an underdog story, so to witness Tom Berninger being introduced by Robert DeNiro at a big, famous film festival is a happy ending.

The film does not wallow in the typical brand of rock-doc inner-band turmoil. There’s not as much footage of the National in the studio recording upcoming album Trouble Will Find Me as fans might want, but there is insight into how this band functions.

At one point, one of the Dessner brothers describes Matt’s role in the band as being more demanding than the others– the weight of entertaining vs. simply performing is on him every night. Matt is, no doubt, a frontman who’s enjoyable to watch, not just to hear, but his off-stage presence is much more low-key. He’s portrayed as a generally likeable guy, as are the Dessner and Devendorf brothers, who play along amicably with Tom’s disorganized interviews that all eventually devolve into a conversation about his brother.
Those who don’t understand the moving parts that accompany a year-long international tour may find the perspective of the movie insightful, but they’re just as likely to learn about the documentary filmmaking process as they are about the music business. At its core, Mistaken for Strangers is a documentary about making a documentary, and second to that, a deeply relatable film exploring sibling dynamics.


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According to NME:

Matt Berninger was rightfully upset when Ohio University Students For Romney used ‘The National’s Fake Empire’   in a Romney video ad. The National have supported President Obama for years, and continue to do so (and even receive hate mail for doing so). The video has since been made “private.”

Matt posted a comment on the video saying:

“Our music was used without our permission in this ad. The song you’re using was written about the same backward, con game policies Romney is proposing. We encourage all students to educate themselves about the differences between the inclusive, pro-social, compassionate, forward-thinking policies of President Obama and the self-serving politics of the neo-conservative movement and Mitt Romney. Every single person involved in the creation of the music you’re using is voting for President Obama.”

On a related note, Romney supports a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage, while The National are playing Freedom to Love Now!, a pro-LGBT concert, on October 30 and tickets are still available HERE.

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Watch Matt sing the Pixies’ classic below:

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Aaron Dessner said the band has received  “hate mail on Facebook” for supporting Obama. Regardless, The National’s support for Obama has not wavered.

Matt Berninger said:

“This is more important than a rock band. I know we’ve gotten responses from people (who) don’t like the fact that we’ve taken a position on it, and I don’t actually think artists or musicians necessarily have a responsibility to do that. But in our case, the five of us … talked about it and we were like, ‘Yeah, it’s worth it, for sure.’”

read the entire Berninger interview at The Lantern

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listen below:


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Matt Berninger and Aaron and Bryce Dessner have contributed to a new children’s iPad story app called Dragon Brush.

The story, which is based on a traditional Chinese folktale, was narrated by Matt. The music was done by Aaron & Bryce. The illustrations were done by John Solimine of Spike Press, who has done the artwork for many of The National’s posters.

Matt Berninger said in a press release: “The story has all my favorite things: waterfalls, magical dragons, and the sound of my own voice.”

preview it below



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Matt Berninger is not confident about his band’s shot at an Oscar.

The National has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Think You Can Wait” (included in the film Win Win), but Matt thinks that they will “probably lose to a Muppets song [and] there’s no shame in that”.

He told Rolling Stone: “If we are in fact nominated that would be a blast, but none of us are crossing our fingers on that. Win Win was just a really fun project to work on. Tom McCarthy asked us to write a song for the end of the film. The whole thing was just a really good experience. So yeah, if it gets any more recognition, that would be just icing.”

About the new album, he says: “We’re just kind of building a bunch of little sketches of ideas, just kind of stocking them up. It’s a long, slow process, and that process has begun. But as far as any sort of idea as to when that process will end, we have no idea. Not for quite some time.”

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