Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled - 2012

"The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled" - 2012
Dir. by Ryan Polito - 1 hr. 30 min. (?)

Official Trailer

by Clayton Hollifield

Perhaps the faintest praise you can damn a project with is to dub it "for fans only."  "The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled," I dub thee.  There's a lot of reasons for that, perhaps the biggest being that it took me two sittings to get through the film, and then I forgot to write about it for another week after that.  Clearly, that meant that I was not particularly compelled by the material, even if it was good enough to get through.  And it was that.  But your enjoyment is going to be determined by how much you love Doug Benson almost entirely.

"The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled" is a documentary of a tour headlined by Doug Benson, supported by Graham Elwood.  It's a mix of travelogue (sort of) and performance material, and Doug smoking weed out of apples.  There's not really a point to any of it, nothing important happens other than that they get through the tour, and no one stuck around to smoke with Doug in Des Moines.  But that's about the worst thing that happens in the film.  This is a very low stakes movie.

On the positive side, this film exists.  Benson and Co. set out to document a tour through the heartland of the United States, and they were able to accomplish that (and apparently fund it through the concerts).  The crowds seemed to be into the shows, and that's always good.  Beyond that, there's not a lot to tie the material together.  There's a fundamental issue with comedians that their personalities aren't usually radically different from their stage personae.  There's no layers to peel back, because the peeling of layers usually occurs on-stage.  So, the footage of Benson and Elwood travelling aren't really relevatory, because they're just less refined versions of what you see on-stage.  This isn't like with musicians, who frequently craft an image of themselves that isn't perfectly in line with their actual personalities.

But also, nothing really happens in the movie.  There's no focus on the locations being of interest (which is probably exactly how you'd view an endless parade of cities you were performing in), there's nothing to overcome (or if there was, it wasn't included).  There aren't even a ton of interesting personalities in the film, and you'd expect some of that.  There's just performance, travel, and Doug seasoning apples with his own herbal blend of spices.  That's super cool if you're a big Doug Benson fan.  I'm enough of a fan to have watched a stand-up special of his, and "Super High Me," and now this.  "The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled" is definitely the weakest of the batch, but it's still watchable.  Yes, it's pointless and directionless, but that's at least part of the appeal of Benson himself.

So if you're a fan, dig in.  If not, try "Super High Me" first.

2 / 5 - Streaming

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