Tuesday, June 26, 2012

'Me @ the Zoo' and Me

Anyone catch the Chris Crocker documentary, "Me @ the Zoo," on HBO last night? I'm still trying to decide what I thought. Glad I watched it. Felt like they scrimped a bit on setting things up, though: how he came to live with his paternal grandparents and how concerns about his safety led him to not attend public high school were handled in two sentences , and making sense of where he is now (doing porn) was barely examined. Still, his meteoric rise to infamy is his story -- so understandably was the bulk of the film -- and that was pretty fascinating to watch. Had no idea about a lot of the stuff he had done, including a reality TV show pilot (that didn't get picked up) and recording a single, nor did I realize what an impact he had on so many people (who then endlessly mimicked him online). After spending 90 minutes with him, though, it became clear why he was never able parlay his infamy into anything beyond what it was -- because he was exactly what he should have been: A viral video sensation. (That's not a put-down, most people do not even warrant that.) "Me @ the Zoo" struck me as a poor man's "Tarnation," whose protagonist, Jonathan Caouette, I could have watched forever. Their lives are not a competition, of course, but a documentary is only as compelling as its subject, so it made sense that there was so much filler in this one while "Tarnation" begged for a sequel. One other thing: Even on meth, Chris' mom was still no match for "the pumpkin song"!!!!

P.S. Did anyone else think the "balloon boy" -- what, analogy? -- thing didn't work, either?

1 comment:

Robin Taylor said...

I was initially shocked at the ending because I took it as Grandma tipping Chris' hand... everything, including this documentary, is an attempt at fame and nothing more. The only 'real' Chris we saw was in those in-between scenes when he was taking care of his mother, swinging on the swing or not cognizant of the camera. Your feelings about the superficiality of the movie hold true with that in consideration. It's a 90 minute you tube video. No connection. No deeper understanding. Just outrageous antics for attention. Unfortunate since I actually saw something in Chris that evoked some emotional response that made me want to know him more not just the you tube personality.