“Call Me Lucky” is a delightfully complex story about one of America’s most brilliant, yet under-exposed, social commentary comedians, Barry Crimmins. Barry wants only two things in life – to take down the American government and overthrow the Catholic church.
We have a presidential election coming up. And I think the big problem, of course, is that someone will win. – Barry Crimmins
In this Bobcat Goldthwait (“Police Academy”) directed documentary, a patchwork of acclaimed comedians share their varied stories and thoughts on the transformative life of explosively brilliant stand-up comic turned political satirist and peace activist, Barry Crimmins.
Goldthwait immediately sets the complex yet quirky tone of the dynamic comic-umentary, showing the uniquely atypical traits that build the infectiously interesting and famously infamous Crimmins. The engaging presentation chronicles the various stages of Crimmins’ life, from his early days as a ferociously rabid bar room comic, to his induction of notable young comedians into the world of comedy, to his retreat from the limelight in exchange for a pursuit of pure living and peace activism. Goldthwait is joined by a number of other famous comedians, either directly or indirectly influenced by Crimmins, in paining a textured narrative of child abuse, hidden rage and transformation.
Select clips of Crimmins early performances were unearthed and woven into the interview and flashback format to breathe life into this under-exposed yet surprisingly influential comedian. The narrative ably switches from interviews with Crimmins’ comic comrades, to historical correlatives presented by Crimmin’s himself, to amusing segments littered with a raw whimsy. The collective footage effectively paints a portrait of a solitary hyper-intelligent and socially aware comedic commentator, standing apart from the often pointlessly obscene, misogynistic, homophobic and value-devoid routines common amongst his peers. “Call Me Lucky” gives the audience a sense that whether using comedy or peaceful forms of protest, Crimmins has always been in-tuned to the surrounding social injustices; continually using his platform to bring awareness and call for change.
The cue of acclaimed comic interviews is headed by Director Bobcat Goldthwait and Tom Kenny, who through the film, we find out were showcased by Crimmins as high schoolers, and ultimately towed to the more sizable comedic market of Boston. The depth of Crimmins’ inspiration is evidenced both in comedy and public service, making for a more insightful and magnetic experience. The stories vary from the animated and absurd-ish to the more emotionally taxing subject of abuse, evenly balanced not to overwhelm the audience one way or another. Goldthwait does an impeccable job of translating Crimmins thought provoking comedic stylings to the film experience, pleasantly challenging the audience throughout the movie.
Although purposed to provoke thought, “Call Me Lucky” stays true to the root of the story; comedy. There is no shortage of quick witted-quips, uniquely animated acid-soaked recollections, and outright ‘LOL’ worthy moments heartily littered throughout the film. “Call Me Lucky” tidily champions a multitude of aspects in 106 minutes leaving a sense of provoked thoughts and reward in its wake. It’s no luck the film has snagged numerous awards on the festival circuit, including the Audience Choice Award at both the 2015 Chicago Critics Film Festival and 2015 Boston Independent Film Festival.
Watch the Official Trailer for “Call Me Lucky” below.
Cast: Barry Crimmins, Jack Gallagher, Martin Olson, Steve Sweeney, David Cross, Patton Oswalt, Steven Wright, Marc Maron, Margaret Cho, Tom Kenny, Ginny Crimmins, Bobcat Goldthwait, Dana Gould, Cindy Sheehan, Jonathan Katz and Billy Bragg.
Debuting at Sundance Film Festival (competing) on January 28, 2015 and in theaters on August 7, 2015, “Call Me Lucky” is a Documentary produced by Clinton Trucks, Charlie Fonville; Executive producers, Bobcat Goldthwait, Greg Newman; Co-producers, Bradley Stonesifer, Barry Crimmins.
In the documentary film category, I give “Call Me Lucky” 3.5 out of 5 Bobcat Goldthwaits.
- Documentary Score
"Call Me Lucky" is a surprisingly magnetic cinematic tapestry woven with raw emotion and presented with a comedic bent. Goldthwait delivers a brilliantly unique and charming story of under-exposed social comedy pioneer of the late '70s and '80s, Barry Crimmins. I can comfortably say that this well-executed and uniquely captivating 106 minute documentary, is among the best documentaries that I have seen this year.
To learn more about the film, go to www.callmeluckymovie.com.