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By Felix Vasquez Jr. | February 1, 2007

Somewhat in the area of “Downtown Locals,” the crew at “American Bar” believes that the human condition is perhaps one of the most riveting subjects for a film, and watching one of the most common communities in America filled with colorful locals, can in fact result in a wonderful documentary about the real American, and real America. “American Bar” doesn’t accomplish this concept. It’s the example of a crew with an idea, but no direction. Even documentaries focusing on a certain area have a point to it, and demonstrate something about America that we can basically take with us after watching.

“American Bar” is the example of what uses the camcorder can have. And it proves anyone with a camcorder can film random footage and call it a documentary. “American Bar” reminded me of something I’d see on Cable Access here in New York. The channels are often filled with endless poorly filmed programming of parties, and church sermons, and with bad sound and picture, none of it is ever as interesting as the owners think. “American Bar” is something anyone can do. Take a camcorder, go into a popular bar, talk to a bunch of drunk people and listen to them talk for hours. Meanwhile, edit it to make it seem cogent and coherent.

But really it’s an hour of bar locals babbling on and on. We have the camera man standing behind his camcorder, in a poorly lit pub, walking around and talking to drunk patrons, while migraine inducing music blares in the background; there were times where I had my television on low, and I still found the film deafening to sit through. What’s the point? There is none. “American Bar” ends as an utterly crude one hour home video that really has no resemblance to any sort of documentary. There’s no rhyme or reason, no message, no insight, no structure, and no real focus to it.

The concept probably seemed entertaining on page. Go into a bar, ask questions, and possibly get something out of it. But without a blue print, “American Bar” is nothing more than a glorified home video best fit for Youtube.

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