Three weeks ago Bryan was laid up from an outpatient procedure. Since everything went well, initially, and he was happy laying in bed with some ice and percocets we had one glorious day of peace, quiet and movies. Scrolling through Amazon OnDemand we spent at least 30 minutes flagging free Prime movies to watch later until we finally settled on something to start.
Beautiful Losers is a documentary, released in 2008, that covers a group of do-it-yourself American artists, with roots in street art. They wound up coming together in the mid-90s and “inadvertently affected the art world”. These were people like Shephard Fairey (who is easily the most recognizable of the group if you didn’t follow this scene closely) and Harmony Korine, the writer of KIDS. There’s a long list of featured artists all with fairly unique styles and stories.
They talked about their development, what they do, where it comes from. There are great shots of the shows and installations they were all doing back then. Yes, a couple of them sound like “artsy” artists – the ones that kinda rub me the wrong way. But the general mood of the whole thing just left me longing to DO SOMETHING.
By the end I was crying.
It may have been the day, and the events leading up to the day, but nonetheless there it was. Bryan thought it was because I was upset because we don’t have the freedom to explore that part of ourselves. While it usually is, this time I can honestly say that wasn’t the case. It told him, “It’s all just so amazing.” The installations seemed larger than life. I was just wishing I could have seen one, in the flesh, and have that experience of being overwhelmed by it. Sigh…
So this morning, when I went to IMDB to find some details from the movie blurb, I happened across some of the old reviews. One person said they would have a hard time recommending this movie like they would Waste Land or Exit Through the Gift Shop. I couldn’t disagree more. Back in 2010, ever so original “mittenkg” had this to say:
“I rarely post negative reviews, but this film is nothing more than a platform for whiney, overprivileged and overthinking middle-class (mostly male) American hipsters rehashing how hardcore their childhoods were, and therefore they are cool people. What’s most disappointing is the art itself is often quite engaging, but the filmmaker would rather give more time to pretentious angst that (I guess) is meant to explain why they make the art: “I’m from a broken home” “I’m an outsider” “I’m a freak so eff you” “I hate my parents for being so supportive” etc etc etc.
Listening to these windbags–at least that’s how the filmmaker portrays them—makes me embarrassed to be a white middle-class American who likes art. I quit this film after 45 minutes. It’s just too painful to listen to hipsters talk about how cool they are.”
I was flabbergasted. Pretentious? Some of the these guys weren’t even making eye-contact with the camera because it felt like they were uncomfortable talking about themselves. Mostly male? Margaret Kilgallen, my new favorite, and Jo Jackson (both female) may have had two of the most featured roles in the film. And hipsters talking about how cool they are? From my perspective, these people were all just talking about what they did. Period. It sounds to me like mittenkg has a mixed-up view of the hipster concept and in the end is probably just a jealous, delusional hipster herself.
Bottom Line: Watch the film if you liked Exit Through the Gift Shop or if you love art or if you just like the spirit of adventure and do-it-yourself living. If you’re not inspired at the end I’ll be surprised.