#Blessed Image

#Blessed

By Enrique Acosta | July 27, 2019

I was shocked at how much I liked #Blessed. The delusional performer, unaware of their lack of ability or talent is an old trope by now.  It is well worn comic territory. But, Rich Costales and Kailee McGee find a way to breathe new life into a tired cliché.

#Blessed is about Dallas Mapleshade. Dallas is an aspiring singer/actor/dancer/author/miracle maker/charitarian/life coach struggling to make a living in Manhattan.  Convinced of her own talent, and certain that stardom is just around the corner, she hires a documentary filmmaker to…well…document her inevitable ascension.  But does the filmmaker have her best interest at heart? (cue dramatic music)

Shot as a documentary the satire in #Blessed cuts a little too close to the bone. The characters feel very real, at least to someone who grew up in Los Angeles and spent a lot of time with people like the lead character. And for a while, I actually believed Dallas was a real person. Not just because of the subtle performance of Kailee McGee, but also the extensive net presence they gave the lead character. Websites, music videos, and even a campaign by Dallas Mapleshade to stop people from watching this “documentary.”

“…an aspiring singer/actor/dancer/author/miracle maker/charitarian/life coach struggling to make a living in Manhattan.”

It is kind of a bizzaro mash-up of a Christopher Guest Film and Fame viewed through a funhouse mirror. Instead of populating their mockumentary with a cast of colorful characters in outrageous situations, they have very authentic but self-delusional characters. Instead of talented, beautiful young people that have to be convinced to follow their dreams, they have not so talented normal looking people who maybe should consider finding a new dream.  It’s a more realistic and at times heartbreaking version of familiar stories.

Throughout #Blessed, we see Dallas struggle with the cognitive dissonance between what she thinks her life should be and what it actually is. A situation made more complicated and heartbreaking by the machinations of her documentary director. From early on, you understand that he’s very much like her. That he desperately wants to make something that will shoot him to Ken Burns like fame. And he thinks he’s found it in the sad, hopeful, and painfully untalented Dallas Mapleshade. It’s actually a tremendous feat to have a character we rarely see or hear, be so integral to the plot. Most of his character development is just where he points the camera, but the weird thing is it works.

“…the satire in #Blessed cuts a little too close to the bone…”

But I don’t want this to be a lovefest. #Blessed has several cringe-worthy moments. There are long stretches that are just too hard to watch. As I said before the satire cuts a little too close to the bone, and centering your movie on an unlikable performer of dubious talent is going to have its pitfalls.

But despite that, or maybe because of it, I found myself welling up towards the end. I don’t want to spoil it, but those painful moments lead somewhere. They lead to a beautiful moment of emotional vulnerability and catharsis. In a world of cheap melodrama, and empty sentimentality, what a rare and wonderful thing, it is to have a moment like that. A moment well earned a beautifully delivered.

#Blessed (2019) Directed by Rich Costalas. Written by Rich Costalas and Kaliee McGee. Starring Kaliee McGee, Rich Costalas, Sasika Maarleveld, Gabe Miner

8 out of 10 jazz hands

PULL QUOTES

… he desperately wants to make something that will shoot him to Ken Burns like fame

… we see Dallas struggle with the cognitive dissonance between what she thinks her life should be and what it actually is

… a bizzaro mash up of a Christopher Guest Film and Fame viewed through a fun house mirror

… certain that stardom is just around the corner, she hires a documentary filmmaker to…well…document her inevitable ascension.

 

#Blessed (2019)

Directed: Rich Costalas

Written: Kaliee McGee, Rich Costalas

Starring: Kaliee McGee, Rich Costalas, Sasika Maarleveld, Gabe Miner, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

#Blessed Image

"…"...Rich Costales and Kailee McGee find a way to breathe new life into a tired cliché.""

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