The unexpected deaths of a few eaters notwithstanding, Scarf Face is a highly amusing documentary that cleverly subverts the self-importance displayed by its subjects. But even if one shares the opinion that gorging on dangerous amounts of food somehow qualifies as a sport, the film is a fascinating look at what makes these people tick.
The film’s biggest knock is its inability to speak to everyone as succinctly as it spoke to me. To call it a comedy special is a disservice that sets an expectation for the ‘knee-slapping observations’ to unfold (we will leave the title of ‘Best Comedy Special’ to Michael Che for the year), and viewers with such an expectation are destined to be a bit perplexed by the introspective piece they no doubt got instead. Inside is a film about being inside. It is a film about the people inside who will watch it. And it is a film about the ones inside our heads clamoring for an opportunity to make a joke when no one is laughing in the background.
It’s a film just as unafraid to show Kilmer moo-ing with delight at the sight of cows as it is to show Kilmer’s depression induced by the commercialisation of his profession. He laments in the height of his career that the things he loved about the work, the actual acting, was such a fractional component of what he actually had the pleasure of doing. The legacy of Kilmer’s work suddenly takes new shape as we watch the moments of brilliance (his final scene in Tombstone remaining a true treasure for any aspiring actor) hidden under the minutiae of making Kilmer into a star. Val shows a man fighting to love his work, to love his life, and being pulled from that love in ways all too relatable.
All that being said, the credits roll on the perfect image of Lett, a hearty bit healthier and far more grateful for his life. The secret sauce in the story of Richard Lett is undoubtedly Lett himself, and seeing his journey, no matter how unsubtle at times it may be, imbues the audience with a deep sense of satisfaction and hope. I have no earthly clue what Lett has been doing since the final moments of the film, but I leave this review knowing in my heart that he is happier, and while he is far from a perfect man, I know he has offered the world in his orbit a bit of happiness as well. I leave looking forward to the future work of documentarian Roy Tighe, his camera man Graeme Morgan, and the other crew members who saddled with them for an expansive journey about redemption and self discovery. It’s a story I’m proud to have been a part of as a viewer, and one that I encourage you to seek out in the near future.
Overall Elstree 1976, didn’t deliver and part of me takes responsibility for that as I expected more.
This is a different documentary, I’m not really sure what the purpose is. Showing backstage filming from a movie that’s 18 years old is odd in it’s self cause the only reason to show it is to show how far Jim Carrey took the role.