The Ringmaster Image

The Ringmaster

By Alan Ng | August 9, 2019

Zach was desperate to salvage the doc. And to inject a little life into Larry’s story, he began to meddle in a reluctant Larry’s life. Zach volunteers him to take part in a town celebration, sell his rings at the local auto racetrack, and ultimately launch as the official onion rings of the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders. What could go wrong?

What I love in the documentary happens at roughly the half-way point, when Zach’s film crew turns the tables on him and decides to make that documentary about Zach. There is where directors Molly Dworsky and Dave Newberg step in. Everyone involved, including Zach, embraces the documentary about a documentary. The Ringmaster is the result of this serious course correction.

 

“…one of the most meta documentaries within a documentary that I’ve ever seen.”

Like watching fish in a fish tank, you could spend hours just studying Zach and Larry in this dance of futility. The two are also surrounded by an equally fascinating cast of characters including Zach’s mother and Larry’s sister, who is sort of his caretaker. It’s a wonder that a film with this much love and support behind it, could ever fail. Now the doc becomes a well-intentioned story of Zach’s “best-laid plans” and let’s not forget the original subject, Larry. His journey to Vegas is best left for the film, but I’ll describe it as “sweet and tragic.”

What I love about The Ringmaster is its honesty and fascinating character study of Zachary Capp and Larry Lang. We discover that Capp is a genuinely sincere person and wanted the best for Lang. Fortunately, he’s nowhere as crazy as Albert Brooks’ Real Life. Zach created amazing opportunities for Larry’s onion rings getting them in front of bands like KISS and the ultimate NFL deal. Most people would appreciate the opportunity, but Larry isn’t most people.

To me there’s one enormous flaw in The Ringmaster. So just how great are these onion rings? We see countless pictures of them and listen to numerous testimony to its greatness. Why are they so damn good? Are they thick or skinny rings? What’s in the batter? What sets them apart from the millions of other rings in the nation? Tell me! I want to know!!! I’m so hungry!

The Ringmaster (2019)

Directed and Written by Molly Dworsky and Dave Newberg

Starring Zachary Capp, Larry Lang, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

The Ringmaster Image

"…sweet and tragic."

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