TV-PG, um...for the f-word a bunch of times. Sure, it's all condensed into the last ten-to-fifteen minutes of the movie. The majority of the movie is completely innocuous. But the last fifteen minutes introduces Kevin Pollack and Drew Carey. Where they go, the f-word follows closely, sniffing out rebellion like a bloodhound! It's fine for the most part. But TV-PG...probably not with the f-word being thrown around willy-nilly.
DIRECTOR: C.J. Wallis
[to the tune of "We're Not Going to Take It"] I don't want to write this. No, I don't want to write this. I don't want to write this...anymore? [end lazy song parody.] I don't know why I thought that this was going to be amazing. I saw the preview for it and said, "Yes! This is what I need in my life." Basically, this documentary is about the lowest stakes scandal that ever existed. I don't feel at all smarter for having seen this. If anything, I have crammed my already trivia-addled mind with more useless trivia. I know more about The Price is Right than any person really has a right to know. Why did I think that this was going to be some hard-hitting documentary. I really wanted to watch a movie about how some savant beat the system and destroyed daytime game shows as we know them.
SPOILER ALERT: I am going to tell you everything you need to know to save you 72 minutes. I realize 72 minutes isn't a lot. But I will tell you what it should be. This movie...should be about one minute. If you add opening and closing credits, four minutes. Yes, I'm saying that this movie should be three minutes of credits and one minute of content. Do you know why? Because the only thing you learn from this movie is that if you watch The Price is Right a lot, you will realize that they repeat products. If you want to beat The Price is Right, just watch The Price is Right a lot. Run end credits. Remember to spay and neuter your pets. I have been getting real spoiled when it comes to my documentaries. I was on a hot streak. First, I watched Icarus. To me, that was a documentary about how doping should be illegal. That movie ended up with people escaping Vladimir Putin and a hit squad being put out. Then I watched Three Identical Strangers. That movie was supposed to be about three twins who reunited despite all odds. That movie ended up with a secret eugenics experiment being revealed and me questioning what moral right does science have to anything. I thought, for some reason, that a documentary about a single contestant on The Price is Right was going to expose the Kennedy assassination. But no. This movie is literally just about how a guy watched The Price is Right every day and memorized the prices. Because he knew the prices, he did moderately well on The Price is Right...once. Due to the element of chance with the giant wheel, he didn't even get into a position to win anything all that big. However, he continued visiting The Price is Right and helped another guy win big when he yelled real loud.
I told myself that 72 minutes could handle any topic. Any film that was 72 minutes was watchable. I can't completely retract that statement. I actually ended up watching about 40 minutes with some interest. But in those 40 minutes, I was watching with the glee knowing that the other shoe was going to fall. I was waiting for the bottom to fall out and this guy to wreck The Price is Right. I don't know what it is about my personality that made me want to watch The Price is Right to collapse under its own hubris. It entertained me, as it did everyone else my age, when I was sick on my grandmother's couch instead of being at school. It's the perfect white-noise show. Bob Barker was a talking point. I don't know who would be that interested in making sure that dogs couldn't procreate. I get the logic behind it, but it also seems weird that he made that part of his entire persona. To each his own. But this movie doesn't really have the weight to carry itself. The entire movie kind of feels like a BuzzFeed video. It has just enough information to invite the viewer in, but it has nowhere to really go with it. As such, the movie needed to add some padding. I'm kind of jumping the gun here. Basically, the thing that the movie supposes that we know is that there was a big scandal on The Price is Right when Drew Carey picked up the show. There was this one guy who guessed perfectly on a Showcase Showdown to the dollar. It's this astronomical number that he got. Either that hadn't really happened before or it only happened once before. Regardless, it couldn't have been outside the rules because the art department had something ready for it. I know. The Price is Right is taped. But that art was so retro and vintage that I refuse to believe that a contemporary artist was like, "Here. This is what represents the most insane thing to happen on this show." Anyway, Theodore, the guy this documentary is about, claims that he guessed in the ballpark and shouted it out. The guy massaged that number into something specific and he won. That's really the extent of it. The odd thing is...that's part of the rules. If you guess exactly, you win both prizes. Thy wrote a rule so people aimed for that. Now, I'm not saying that it's weird that Theodore pretty much guessed the number. He didn't even win. But there are a billion episodes of The Price is Right. The odds are that someone would EVENTUALLY do that.
Geez, I really don't want to write this. It's just sluggish and oppressive. But that's what you got to do with writing. Fun fact: I think my first celebrity interaction besides Bill Lambeer sitting in front of me at Jungle 2 Jungle and meeting Nichelle Nichols / George Takei at a book signing was Drew Carey. It was the halcyon days of AOL and I emailed Drew Carey out of the blue. I was a big Drew Carey Show fan and I had secretly been reading Dirty Jokes and Beer. Yeah, I was a cool kid. Anyway, he wrote back and I thought that he was the nicest guy ever. But I don't know what to think about Drew Carey. Drew Carey in this doc does not come off as...charming?! For all of the filler, C.J. Wallis, the director, focused a lot on how both Bob Barker and his producer were the good guys of television. They are apparently as nice as you would think that they would be. They did the show because they loved the show. There's even a line in the movie that Bob was on the side of the contestant. He wanted to see people win. I mean, it makes sense. People tune in when major prizes are being won...I guess. Drew Carey doesn't really have that disposition. He actually kind of seems like a grump about the whole thing. Drew Carey has a weird personality. A vulgar comedian, he's actually remarkably funny. He seems down to Earth. But Drew Carey's fifteen minutes are up. A lot of that generation have had to transition their careers. Again, I don't work in entertainment. It seems like a difficult job to maintain. But the juxtaposition between positive, good-natured Bob Barker and f-bomb grumpus Drew Carey seemed to be more off-putting than I would have cared for. I think a lot of that has to do with the context of the interviews. Bob Barker and everyone else interviewed for this documentary seem to be there to service the show. I think that the Drew Carey interview was a video podcast with Kevin Pollack. One thing about tone is to know your audience. A video podcast might have a more cynical element to the whole thing. Drew Carey made the news in a negative light and seemed to be mad about the whole thing. I can't say that I blame him. There was probably no way that he would have known that the podcast footage would make him look like a jerk in the documentary.
This documentary...is kind of lame? There's nothing in the documentary that is so mind-boggling that makes the boringness of cataloging Prices is Right prizes becomes interesting. There's a line in the sand that the film doesn't cross. I don't mind a boring topic. I've seen films about boring topics. I love films about boring topics. Heck, I still adore Trekkies. But Perfect Bid isn't a film about how one man's love for The Price is Right changed how things are done. I guess it is, but in the lamest way possible. There had to be another level. Right now, Theodore (and I'm sorry to say this) comes off as simply a fan who is really into the show. I needed something next level to save this movie from itself. It really doesn't have that next level.
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.