Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|American Cannibal - The Documentary|
Actors: Bob Thompson, George Gray, Gil S. Ripley, Dave Roberts, Kevin Blatt
Directors: Perry Grebin, Michael Nigro
Genres: Television, Documentary
American Cannibal has been chosen by MTV as Best Documentary of 2007. AMERICAN CANNIBAL takes the reality television craze to the next provocative level as two out of work television writers desperately try to get their b... more »
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Fact or Fiction? You Decide
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 01/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In "Network," his frighteningly prescient satire from 1976, writer Paddy Chayefsky only half-jokingly envisioned a day, in the not-too-distant future, when some innovative producer, knowing exactly the kind of programming the viewing public wanted to see, would create a series in which each week a different person would be assassinated on live TV - all to boffo ratings. Well, thirty-some-odd-years later, that day may have finally arrived, at least if "American Cannibal: The Road to Reality" is to be believed. This is a documentary that appears on the surface to be "straight" but which, one can only hope (and one frankly suspects), is actually a put-on. And if the movie ISN'T a put-on, then society may be more far gone than even the most pessimistic social critics have hitherto allowed themselves to imagine.
Nowhere in the movie do the filmmakers tip their hat as to whether this is a "real" documentary or simply a cleverly disguised facsimile of one. Each viewer is left to make that determination for himself. The film certainly SEEMS real as directors Perry Grebin and Michael Nigro initially set out to follow two struggling writers, Gil Ripley and Dave Roberts, as they pitch their ideas for "reality shows" to various producers on both coasts. Almost as a joke, one of the writers throws out the concept of a "Survivor"-type scenario in which a group of people are placed on an island where they are deprived of all food and, for all practical purposes, starved to death. And, oh yes, that island is the one place on the planet where cannibalism is reportedly still legal (one of the more far-fetched propositions that suggests that this may perhaps be tongue-in-cheek). It is this pitch that ultimately gets "green-lighted" by a producer, and much of the movie is devoted to showing just how a show like "The Ultimate Ultimate Challenge" travels the route from concept to completion (though, of course, in this case, the series never quite made it to the final stages).
A great deal of debate has arisen over whether those who made "American Cannibal" are documenting true events or whether they are just very effectively jerking our collective chain. Regardless of which of those two possibilities is the "truth," the movie makes some valid points about just how far viewers may be willing to go in their pursuit of entertainment. The movie also makes us question whether Ripley and Roberts - and those like them - are actually "pimps" or "whores" in their stop-at-nothing quest for the almighty buck. Grebin and Nigro interview many key players in the world of entertainment, and unless they are all in on the joke or are great actors in their own right, one begins to wonder if maybe this whole thing might just possibly be on the up-and-up after all. And if it isn't - if it really is all just an elaborate put-on - then the filmmakers may, in fact, be using their movie to dramatize just how fine the line is separating the world of fiction from the world of fact, even on so-called "Reality TV." In other words, their own movie may be both the "ultimate" reality show product and a stinging indictment of reality entertainment at one and the same time. Is this truly a case of the medium being the message?
Either way, the movie is fun to watch and provides, at the very least, an acerbic insider's glimpse into how ideas are pitched and hit shows are born.
"American Cannibal" will fascinate some and frustrate others, but regardless of your response to it, you will have to admit that this is that rare movie where "truth" is pretty much left to the eye-of-the-beholder.
Just don't take it personally if you ultimately find that you've been made the target of some colossal joke."
DC Girl | Boston MA | 12/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Didn't know what I was getting into with this movie(like the contestants in the show). Really enjoyed it. Great for a peak into the dim, dark world of "reality" TV. Cynical humor. Underrated. So much better than so much out there."
Susan Parets | 10/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is amazing what people will do for fame and fortune. Perry Grebin, the director and producer, did an excellent job. I'm looking foward to other movies he will be producing and directing."