"Grating documentary mistakes movie obsession for movie love."
The festival program guide described a documentary about five of the world's most obsessed moviegoers. What I didn't expect was a film that chooses to 'point & giggle' at its sad subjects the way Cinemania clearly (and repeatedly) does.Movie buffs are a tough lot to pigeonhole. Several are just like me: maniacal movie lovers always on the lookout for a great new flick to get excited about. Others attack their hobby with a disturbingly mercenary approach that doesn't resemble 'movie love' at all. Some confused souls spend their days memorizing subway schedules; the five misfits in this documentary take movie-watching to this level. There's no love here; merely compulsive scheduling and a lack of adequate shower facilities.
If it sounds like I'm about to poke fun at five sad-sack obsessive compulsives without mercy, that's probably because Cinemania does precisely that. Each of the movie freaks is presented shuffling through their own decrepit and trash-strewn apartments while casually knocking each other for being 'the real lunatics'.
Sure, it's vital for a documentarian to present their subject with a minimum of subjectivity, but the overall sense I got from the ponderous Cinemania is simply that "boy these people sure are weird and fun to laugh at". Rarely do the subjects delve into WHY they love movies or if there's any real passion at all. This could easily be a documentary about five people obsessed with weather patterns; the subject of movies is touched upon in only a cursory fashion.
Is it meant to be sad or amusing when we hear the tale of one loon who assaulted a ticket-taker before being banned from a local museum theater? A viewer could decide for themself if Cinemania weren't so interested in playing it for giggles.I suppose much of my displeasure with Cinemania comes from the simple fact that I didn't find the 'film buffs' all that interesting. Sure they're weird and creepy and live in their own Burger King wrappers, but that doesn't necessarily make for compelling documentary filmmaking.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2003 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Tribeca Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2002 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2002 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.