It seems that fame, fortune, and the pursuit of historical significance have plagued human beings since the dawn of time. But why the craving, often to the detriment of health and family—and should we blame reality-media for creating this obsession?
Certainly, long before The Voice, American Idol and America’s Got Talent, there were the reality shows of the 1930s and ‘40s. These include: Major Bowes Amateur Hour, Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, and Alan Funt’s Candid Microphone. And while fashions may have come and gone, contemporary contestants share the same longings as their predecessors—which if anything, seem more enslaving than ever…
Enter Brian Bouyea, and his newest short movie, Famous. Bouyea approaches the million-dollar philosophical question above via a seemingly mundane conversation between two characters seated in a living room. Bouyea’s story begins when an elderly, bespectacled gentleman named Wilber Lusk (Rick Owens) parks his red mustang in front of the modest rural home of Mrs. Julia Turner (Meg Perry). Except for the red car, Lusk appears like any other briefcase toting, traveling salesman— seedily dressed, with a somewhat scarred complexion that recalls an earlier bout of acne or chicken pox. In fact, when Lusk knocks on Mrs. Turner’s door and asks her if she’d like to be famous, it seems as natural as if the late Ed McMahon, or the ever-evolving Oprah, were to appear on our front porch, bearing gifts in exchange for that one and only correct answer.
There’s absolutely no doubt that Famous has the makings of a brilliant psychological thriller, complete with David Lynch-ian sound effects, score, and an ending that I never saw coming. Having a great love for movies that ponder the great philosophical questions through the most ordinary of means, Famous definitely holds its own with the best of that genre, as well.
Unfortunately, what weakens Bouyea’s otherwise superb effort is the fact that Famous is a short film posing as a feature. What that means, is that at the movie’s central point— precisely that juncture where it needs to move at a rapid pace— it slows to a crawl. Sadly, that just can’t be done in a 23-minute flick. Yes, it can be argued that the slowed pace sets viewers up for the shocking ending, but not to the point that the cinematic clock seems to stop altogether.
All that being said, I still find Famous an excellent, intelligent, and unique endeavor, and I’m very anxious to see what the very special Brian Bouyea concocts next.
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