Cinema Review: Call Me Lucky | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, August 4th, 2020  

Call Me Lucky

Studio: MPI Media Group
Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait

Aug 31, 2015 Web Exclusive
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Rarely have comedy and tragedy appeared so utterly opposed, and yet miraculously become so seamlessly teamed, as in Bobcat Goldthwait’s new documentary, Call Me Lucky. The director and comedian’s latest effort focuses on his mentor and fellow standup Barry Crimmins, who has made hordes of devotees laugh and advocated for throngs of abuse survivors in equal measure. Goldthwait deftly balances those disparate aspects of his subject’s life, capturing both Crimmins' bitingly funny onstage routines and his courageous accounts of contending with sexual abuse in equal measure.

Goldthwait’s skills as an interviewer shine when succeeds in coaxing Crimmins’ sister to tearfully open up about the hardships that their brother endured. And the director’s questioning prowess is also apparent when he compels fellow comedians and friends to describe Crimmins, leading them to affectionately dub him a cross between Noam Chomsky and Bluto. Goldthwait’s eye for details is also laudable—be it shots of Crimmins chopping wood near his gorgeous upstate abode, or meticulously unearthed snippets of archival footage that span Crimmins’ career.

But Call Me Lucky’s strongest attribute of all is its capturing of the obvious kinship between the director and his subject. Goldthwaits choice to slowly, patiently unveil the trauma that was inflicted on Crimmins, his sidestepping of melodrama, and his unflinching documenting of his friend returning to the basement where he was raped as a boy to confront his demons, all make this documentary harrowing and uncompromisingly unique. But the director impresses all the more with his well-timed levity, be it interviews with affectionate friends who praise Crimmins bravery, kindness and talent, or his subject’s angry monologues about vying for fellow suffers of abuse and his refusal to succumb to victimhood. Call Me Lucky is by turns hilarious, heartbreaking, and ultimately inspiring. It is not only a delicately-crafted documentary, but also essential viewing for abuse survivors and their loved ones, the latter of which nearly all of us can count ourselves among. It succeeds in what the medium does best at the best of times—documenting a compelling story in a funny, touching and accessible fashion, which will ultimately offer viewers closure or the motivation they need to affect change and betterment akin to the protagonist they just watched.

Lastly, viewers should be sure to stay tuned throughout the end credits, which are shown along with extra hilarious interviews and, finally, an inspired cartoon of The Pope responding to Crimmins blasphemous Tweets. Crimmins proves to be a courageous activist, gifted artist and gentle friend throughout the film, and Goldthwait films him with the skill, love and dedication that his dear mentor deserves.

Author rating: 9/10

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