By Mark Bell | September 13, 2014

Michael Cardoza’s Mega-Lo-Mania is a documentary about hip hop artist Random’s nerdcore alter-ego MegaRan and his touring soul/funk band The Lo Classics. A primer on all things MegaRan, the film gives you some nice background from which to expand your fandom, if you already were a fan, and a quality introduction if you’re new to the artist. It’s not necessarily an exhaustive portrait, but the elements are there to be a quality promotional piece and a peek behind the curtain.

Which, ultimately, is the way I chose to look at the film. It’s not one of those music documentaries, like Ondi Timoner’s Dig!, that tells a greater story with narrative highs and lows; it’s fine as introduction to MegaRan and friends, but not something I’d put on a Top Ten Music Documentary list. It does its job as promotion, but doesn’t dig too deep. You get more than a little music to whet your appetite, allowing you to get into some rap and chiptune fun.

I do have some quibbles, however. For one, I’m still unsure whether I’m supposed to be referring to Random as “MegaRan” or “Mega Ran”; the film seems committed to the former, but I see examples all over the web of the latter (including on the artist’s official website) and… which is it? I’m trusting the film to know that answer, and sticking with “MegaRan,” but if the film is wrong, that’s a big thing to flub. It doesn’t affect the content, sure, but it is something you’d expect the doc to get right.

Folks that know my reviews will also know I’m pretty consistent with my criticism of running times that exist in No Man’s Land (too long to be a short, too short to be a feature; Mega-Lo-Mania runs in the mid-thirties), but I’m relaxing that a bit here. Mainly because, as a promotional piece, or a fan-aimed production, its running time does not necessarily inhibit it in a way it would a traditionally distributed film. I don’t know that being programmed at film festivals, for example, is a goal with something like this (if it is, the film needs a 15 minute cut). If it’s just for the fans, and something that will likely be self-distributed, then the audience is already there, so why not? Different distribution considerations, simply.

Overall, Mega-Lo-Mania introduced me to an artist I was previously unfamiliar with, and made me curious enough to seek out the music on my own. As a promotional piece, that right there means the documentary was a success. I don’t think this is a film that needs repeat viewings, however; you pretty much get what it has to offer on the first run through.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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