Saturday offers up the opportunity to see 12 hours worth of movies, if you'd like. And don't think some of your fellow Madisonians aren't going to come close. You might spot them bellied up at the bar at Nick's or sprawled out on a bench near campus, recharging their batteries for another chance to see something hilarious, bizarre, shocking or beautiful.
The weather is supposed to be incredible today, ideal for walking several blocks between venues downtown and catching some warm sun on your face before ducking back into the darkness.
Breaking and Entering
Wisconsin Union Theater, Saturday, April 2, 11 am
Some reactions noted during this documentary about the pursuit of various Guinness world records:
That's a mighty big hula hoop/ball of twine/popcorn ball.
A joggling rivalry?!?!?
Reassuring that a few subjects can strike a balance between obsession and some semblance of normal life.
Pity others can't.
What a long-suffering wife/brother/mother/father this record-breaker has.
Remarkable how the Guinness Book of World Records can distort the lives of people who crave acknowledgement/greater self-esteem/immortality/redress of childhood grievances.
Astonishing how the book's proliferation of categories has rendered so many record-holders anonymous and their accomplishments so fleeting and inconsequential.
From about 20 short interwoven profiles, director Benjamin Fingerhut has crafted an entertaining portrait of the human condition. - David Medaris
A Screaming Man
Orpheum main theater, Saturday, April 2, 1:15 pm
African strife and globalization's discontents loom over this assured domestic drama by the Chadian director and screenwriter Mahamat-Saleh Haroun. A luxury hotel's aging swimming-pool attendant (Youssouf Djaoro) deals with staff cuts even as he faces the toll that armed conflict is taking on his family. - Kenneth Burns
Louder Than a Bomb
Wisconsin Union Theater, Saturday, April 2, 1:30 pm
In the tradition of Spellbound, this documentary focuses on a few appealing kids who are preparing for a competition - here, a rock-'em sock-'em poetry slam for Chicago high schools. We see troubled teens find their voice, shy teens come out of their shells, and privileged teens discover a whole new side of life. The hopped-up filmmaking matches the subject matter, jumping along to the poetic rhythms. And the poetry itself - well, let's just say that slam's spiritual forefathers, Beat writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, are smiling in hipster heaven. Here's a sample from a force-of-nature hippie visionary named Adam: "Death may be breathless but poetry's deathless so breath be our savior eternal!" - Dean Robbins
And Everything Is Going Fine
Monona Terrace, Saturday (5:30 pm) & Sunday (6 pm), April 2 & 3
A heartbreaking documentary about Spalding Gray's staggering genius, this is essentially his posthumous final monologue. Director Steven Soderbergh draws on archival footage and his own filmed conversations with Gray as his subject recounts - in that exquisite Rhode Island diction - the signature episodes of his life, from youth to theater, film, renown and tragic decline, stopping shy of his 2004 suicide. The resulting narrative displays Gray's astonishing ability to recover detailed memories and interpolate them into his monologues on the fly. I came away mourning his death anew, wishing Gray was still alive to organize chaos into monologue. - David Medaris
Wrestling for Jesus: The Tale of T-Money
Bartell Theatre, Saturday, April 2, 5:45 pm
They live in South Carolina, and their wrestling promotion is devoted to spreading the word of God's love. When they're not staging matches in masks and spandex, they're praying and preaching and inviting the saved up to the ring for an altar call.
It's miraculously juicy material, and I can imagine a documentary that commits the fatal mistake of condescending to these people. To his great credit, Madison-based director Nathan Clarke never does. After the sensational opening acts, Clarke focuses perhaps a little too much on the promotion's organizer, whose problems are sad but ordinary. But I understand the choice, and the scenes pay off in a delirious grand finale. - Kenneth Burns
Color Me Obsessed: A Film About the Replacements
Chazen Museum of Art, Saturday, April 2, 6:45 pm
The subtitle of Color Me Obsessed is "the potentially true story of the last best band, the Replacements." Not long into the two-hour documentary, you begin to realize why it's only potentially true: There are no interviews with any of the band members themselves. Indeed, not a note of Replacements music is heard in the film. It's much more a portrait of the band's committed fans, who remain obsessed with not just the music but what the Replacements' loud, sloppy, infectious, often apathetic approach to making it represented.
A two-hour parade of interviews with middle-aged record store owners, promoters, bartenders and fans is daunting, but Gen-Xers from the Midwest, particularly anyone who may have carefully included "Bastards of Young" or "I Will Dare" on a mix tape, will spend the time nodding their heads in agreement. We learn the story of the Minneapolis Police cameo on Stink and which bar Paul Westerberg is referring to in "Here Comes a Regular."
But we also learn about the influential, poignant role the Replacements played in the lives of misfits and self-identified losers who struggled to find their place in Ronald Reagan's early-1980s America. "On top of it all, you had these baby boomers getting in your face saying nothing you'll ever see is going to be as good as the Beatles," says rock critic Jim DeRogatis. "And you're like, 'Fuck you. I just saw the Replacements!'" - Jason Joyce
A Somewhat Gentle Man
- Rotten Tomatoes
- The American Spectator: Movie Takes: A Somewhat Gentle Man
- boston.com: Actor with forgettable face fits 'Gentle Man' mold
Color Me Obsessed
- City Pages: Replacements documentary 'Color Me Obsessed': music-free is okay with me
- CNet TV: Making of Color Me Obsessed
- RogerEbert.com: Louder Than a Bomb review
- Huffington Post: Embracing autism