ANOTHER R RATED MOVIE?!? What kind of deviant teaches this class?
I need to stop cheating with my movie pics. Another documentary. Even more so, this is a documentary about a TV writer. Considering that I want this to be focused on narrative film exclusively, I really should stop watching documentaries. Maybe because I've set myself a set of rules, I really want to break them. *sigh*
This one might need a little bit of setup. It's either you know who Dan Harmon is and worship his work or you have never heard of him. I don't think there is a huge "I-hate-Dan-Harmon" fan club. (Fan club? Hate club? I don't think that's a thing.) Dan Harmon is the creator of Community, Rick and Morty, and an underground cult pilot named Heat Vision and Jack. If you want to understand his sense of humor, track down Heat Vision and Jack. It explains a lot. He is also gaining a following through his podcast named...ahem..."Harmontown." It all comes together.
The thing is that he is also a self-proclaimed self-sabotaging alcoholic who treats people terribly. Mr. Henson and I agree that we both really like his stuff, but wouldn't want to meet him. I don't know what Mr. C would think, but we know that he is the biggest Harmon fan I know. I also kind of cheated going into this documentary. I had listened to a Nerdist podcast episode with Harmon about this documentary, so I knew his thoughts on the whole matter. NOTE: If you want to get me to watch something, put it on the Nerdist podcast.
Harmon wanted this to be his Comedians of Comedy. He wanted to be funny from city to city and put out a sweet concert film with his fans. Instead, we received a hauntingly down-to-earth tale of a man who is both a saint and a sinner. He is extremely verbally abusive to his friends, especially his girlfriend Erin. He drinks like he is trying to kill himself. You can watch his life spiral from archival footage of a young guy, eager to take on Hollywood, to a cracked, destroyed parallel of Bukowski in Barfly.
But he also helps people. Like, in lifesaving ways.
Because he is constantly speaking publicly about his depression and anger issues, people tend to gravitate to him. They relate to this quasi-celebrity who holds onto his Average Joe-dom. People cry and weep and cherish the hugs he gives after a show. Perhaps it is the nature of fandom that we are seeing, but he serves a specific function.
But Dan Harmon might be the B-story in his own documentary. In many ways, this documentary is about Spencer Crittenden. Again, background is probably needed on this one. Spencer was a fan who really wanted to play Dungeons and Dragons against Dan Harmon, mainly because it made sense to him. Through kismet or fate, Harmon was looking for someone to DM (look it up) and Spencer was the only expert in the house. Since then, Crittenden has been traveling with Harmon and has become a member of the podcast.
I discovered Spencer Critenden backwards. I watched Harmon's new See-So show, HarmonQuest. I now know everything I wanted to know about this guy. Spencer is the joy of light breaking through Harmon's self-destructive lifestyle. An introvert who deals with depression himself, he gains a sense of purpose in the limelight of Dan Harmon and there is something really touching about that. For a guy who tells more blasphemous jokes than I care to admit, thank God for Dan Harmon. He is a man who seems enveloped by his own mental illness, but he found a moment to bring someone a sense of self-worth that he couldn't find himself. Dan Harmon may do horrible things, but he has value and that's something that is trapped forever on film.
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Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.