Thursday, June 13, 2013
One of my friends here in Pasadena has been mentioning on Facebook for some time that her cousin made a movie. I started paying attention about two weeks ago when her cousin came to town for the premiere and she began documenting their movie related adventures on Facebook and Instagram.
Loving documentaries and anything that will teach me something new, I decided to give the movie a try. Admittedly, the decision to see this movie (despite the connection to someone I know) was made on a whim. As in., I went to get coffee next door to the theater this film is playing at and said "Hey, I think Bea's cousin's movie is playing next door. Maybe we should go see it!" And it was playing, in ten minutes. The decision to insert this movie into an otherwise sleepy afternoon was a GREAT one! It was fun, informative, engaging, incredibly well paced, and busting at the seams with old footage and photos.
George Plimpton's face was, as I am sure it is to most people, familiar before I saw this film. Despite this feeling of familiarity, I couldn't explain to Joe why there would be a documentary about his life. What had he done during his lifetime that warranted a movie? Well my friends, if you watch this movie you will learn the answer to this question! Plimpton is most famous for being a "participatory journalist" which means he jumped into his subjects and engaged in the topic in an effort to understand and in turn, write about that subject. He was considered part of the new journalism movement that was taking off in the 60s. For example, while writing for Sports Illustrated, he joined the Detroit Lions as their last string QB. He went through preseason camp with the team and then played in an actual game. He bombed but the result was a great piece of journalism, an amazing insider view of football from an outsider, and bestselling book! But oh, there is so much more! A few more interesting tidbits about his life: he and his wife were close friends of the Kennedys bringing them into some very important moments in American history and he was one of the founders (and longtime editor of) the Paris Review. Oh and he threw cocktail parties that involved Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, Allen Ginsberg, and Philip Roth IN THE SAME ROOM. Basically, a literally fantasy. A literary orgy, if you will. Yes, I said it.
There are so many other wonderful things about this film, far too many to tell you about. Rather than recap the entire film for you, I am going to tell you to get out there see it!! At the moment, it is only playing in select areas so if it is not playing near you, keep this on your radar or shout on the Facebook page that you want to see it in your area! Support my friend's cousin, Luke Poling, and the amazing film he has made! In the process, you get to learn about someone who lived a truly remarkable life. I promise you will enjoy it!
And if you don't trust me, trust the NY Times. Plimpton! is one of their NYT Critic's Picks!