Sunday, July 17, 2011

In Review: Teenage Paparazzo

Teenage Paparazzo is a documentary film created by and starring Entourage actor Adrian Grenier. One could see how the topic of paparazzi would be so interesting to Adrian as he plays a huge star in his TV show and he is one on his own time as well.  He got the brain child for this after getting his photo snapped by 13 year old Austin Visschedyk who was packing a pap style camera and proclaimed himself to be a pap. This film was started to see what the world of paparazzi was really like and the 13 year old kid was Adrian's way in.

Throughout the course of the film you learn how the paparazzi live, how they get their tips and then at one point Adrian goes undercover as a paparazzi and is in a photo scrum trying to get a shot of Brook Shields (mayhem over Brook Shields? Yeah, it was filmed years back).

The movie wasn't about the normal paparazzi though, it was about Austin. A kid. A kid who is home-schooled (it was never said whether he was home-school so he could be a paparazzi or if it was because that's how it had always been) and is out til all hours nightly trying to get photos of celebrities. There is one clip in the movie where Austin explains why he is good to go at 2 in the morning in West Hollywood with the drunk homeless people around...he has pepper spray. He also has thousands of dollars of camera equipment and is an easy target because he is small and weighs about 90 pounds. So there is that danger and the other one with him jumping in front of people's cars trying to get pictures of them. Just because the kid is apparently still alive doesn't mean that he was 'safe'...Charlie Sheen is still alive and I wouldn't say what he does is legit either.

His mother was shown in the film and she looked like a complete idiot. I am not sure if she was or they just portrayed her that way, editing is a tricky thing. Adrian has short convo with her about why she lets Austin run around at night and she says something about trusting him (um lady, he is 13 not are not 'of age' for a reason). She pissed me off more than anyone else in this movie, even Austin and his little ego which was the size of Texas by the time the whole thing was over.

What shocked me the most was after hunting people down on a daily basis Austin tells Adrian that he too would like to be famous. My thought, "Is this kid for real?" I never had that ambition, and after about 1 month or writing this bad boy I had no desire to be anyone of recognizable distinction. By the end of the movie he had been on TV and was offered a reality TV show. So, wish come true? Probably not. You see him at the end of the film when he was 16 and he is not the cute little blond kid anymore.

I do think it was a very interesting film and a good watch for those of you who are interested in celebrity culture. There were multiple interviews with people who have written books and teach about parasocial relationships and the worlds obsession with fame and celebrity.

In the question and answer period following the film Adrian said that this film would change how people see celebrities and how the entire tabloid industry functions. He also said that he would like the film to be a part of school curriculum just like Catcher in the Rye is on reading lists. In LA maybe, but the rest of the world...not so much.

Verdict: 3.9 Stars


Side note: In the Q&A, Adrian was asked about his current relationship with Austin as it was kind of left open ended in the film. Adrian said that he was supposed to have lunch with Austin last week and the kid didn't show up. I don't know him, so I am not sure if he looked pissed when he said it...but if I would call it like I see it - he was not impressed.

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