Tri-Cities theaters don’t see many documentaries. Last year’s Oscar winner Inside Job made it. This year, we got to see the fabulous Buck.
But for the most part, there isn’t much demand for documentaries. Most of the time if you want to see one you’ll have to catch it at a Battelle Film Club offering.
Exit Through the Gift Shop is the one they’re showing for the fall series. This one got an Oscar nomination for best documentary instead of the much-better and more important Waiting for Superman. But you could perceive that documentary as being anti-union — and it kind of was anti-teachers union — so Hollywood isn’t going to go there.
Taking its place was this one. Truthfully, Exit Through the Gift Shop is a poor substitute and as a note to the Battelle Film Club nominating committee, I would have gone with Waiting for Superman.
The focus of Exit Through the Gift Shop is Thierry Guetta. He is a dumpy, uninteresting man who blathers incessantly. Guetta is the most obnoxious documentary subject since Timothy Treadwell’s Grizzly Man. Like Treadwell, Guetta’s favorite subject is himself. And he’s boring. The movie about the street art that Guetta began filming is interesting for about half an hour.
Idolizing street artists is problematic. I will admit they’re creative. But they’re criminals. Vandals. What’s positive about that? My critics on this topic say I don’t appreciate art. I do. Just not on property that doesn’t belong to the artist. And what do those critics say if I want to paint three large Xs in polka dot patterns on the side of their homes?
Need I say more?
While it is possible to see the worth of a documentary about street art and how it can be commercialized and about how a no-talent can spin himself into a celebrity, Exit Through the Gift Shop struggles to find any meaningful life.
The first half and the info on the street artists make the film worthwhile. The rest isn’t. Art is in the eye of the beholder and the second half of the movie is about a self-absorbed, semi-talented, self-described artist is boring.
That’s from the eye of this beholder.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Rated R for mature themes, language. It plays one time — 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21 at the Battelle Auditorium in Richland.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.