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Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain


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๐ŸŽ™️ EPISODE 363: 08.06.21 *Review starts @ ~ 27:23

I only see documentary films in the theaters, folks. That's right, you're boy went out to glamorous Cherry Hill, New Jersey, to see the from the grave A.I.-voice stylings of robot Anthony Bourdain. (I was able to catch one instance of this garbage, for sure, in the movie, and whatever, it's... whatever. I don't really have a strong opinion on this one or the other; I don't think you should let it influence your opinion of THIS movie, either way honestly.) (Oh, look here's another set of parentheses, cool... Also, I can't get bogged down in the specifics of THIS very specific detail of his relationship with Asia Agento; the movie covers Bourdain's time with her, but doesn't get into the weeds where a lot of dark parts of the world wide web like to dabble; I'm not on the fence here, though. This was 100% the right decision. There's no winning if you go down that road all the way. You're effectively only making the movie about that one thing if you do.)

Where was I? This is a damn good movie. I'm reviewing this on the podcast for inaugural "Doc Triple Shot," a gimmick where I review three documentaries for the price of one pod ep. LoL they're free! Come on, now. But, inadvertently, I'll be damned if there isn't a direct theme here:


The unknown artist struggling to simply exist and live in a world where he's also allowed to make something creatively, to be relevant, despite the crushing suck of everyday (American Movie). The unwitting TV personality, the cynic who found success in mainstream media and became a certain kind of celebrity, beloved in a rare and authentic way, who ultimately succumbs in some part due to the nature of that relevance via suicide (You are here). And a small meditation on the weirdness of American life: "A dense fog in the San Fernando Valley cancels a meeting of UFO hunters and causes an unexpected tragedy in the nearby mountains" (Calabasas 1/26/20).

It's about America. And maybe it's hard, as an American – maybe now, maybe always – to not make it about America, but in this case, the parallels are hard to ignore. I was rewatching early episodes of No Reservations recently, a few months ago, before I was even aware this doc was coming out, and I was struck by Anthony Bourdain's presence. He was impossibly influenced by the bullshit aura of Hunter S. Thompson and those of that ilk, and yet his awareness of aping that style or trope somehow trumped his genuine admiration. IDK, it's hard to articulate. He was the cynic's cynic who slowly became more woke in perhaps the least annoying way ever. I think this is why I didn't care about the A.I. voice shit: A) he didn't seem precious about his image and I don't think he would have gave a shit, and B) at the heart of what made him special was his writing, which feels really underrated to me (and as a writer of his own voiceover narration, it feels doubly apt).

The film jumps right into the writing and success of his first book, the thing which sprung into the spotlight. It barely addresses his upbringing at all. It isn't about that. I appreciated it for not submitting the obligatory backstory. Sure, otherwise its not exactly breaking new ground – it's a collection, a curation (more accurately, and no simple task) of his vast TV and behind-the-scenes footage, and the requisite talking head interviews – but its deftly focused, incredibly engaging and full of heart.

✏️ POSTED: 08.06.21

CHRONOLOGICALLY
EPISODE 363B - (YOU ARE HERE) - EPISODE 364A ⫸

๐š‚๐šž๐š™๐š™๐š˜๐š›๐š ๐š–๐šŽ ๐šŠ๐š—๐š ๐š๐š‘๐š’๐šœ ๐š ๐šŽ๐š‹๐šœ๐š’๐š๐šŽ/๐š™๐š˜๐š๐šŒ๐šŠ๐šœ๐š ๐š˜๐š— ๐™ฟ๐šŠ๐š๐š›๐šŽ๐š˜๐š— ๐š๐š˜๐š› ๐šŠ๐šœ ๐š•๐š˜๐š  ๐šŠ๐šœ $๐Ÿท ๐šŠ ๐š–๐š˜๐š—๐š๐š‘!

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