Day 115: Misfortune & Fame

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April 24, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

Remember what it was like to be a kid?  To be young and dumb and free from the constraints of knowing your limits?  To be shameless and act accordingly?  Yeah, me neither.

That’s not entirely true, just mostly.  There’s a time in everyone’s life when one is free to think, say and do just about anything and get away with it – when you’re free to ask the dumb questions or to wear underwear on your head (or none at all) and generally carry on without bearing the consequences that you might if you were just a few years older (and supposedly wiser, though I think probably just more conditioned).  That period, for most of us, is brief.  Eventually, we’re taught (often the hard way), that the world doesn’t always look favorably on the bold and boldly unusual ones – the ugly ducklings or black swans.  Kids, it seems, are uniquely dichotomous in their capacity for extreme creativity and soul-crushing cruelty.  Too many kids know what it’s like to be taunted and teased for their excursions past social norms, and it makes me wonder what would happen if there was less to reign in the strays – would we live in a world with more diverse and divergent ways of thinking?  Of living?  Until bullying goes away, and unless society magically starts (at least) tolerating differences, I’m afraid we might never find out.  Still, today’s project gives a glimpse into the hard knock life of a little black swan whose marching to the beat of his own drum and finding out the hard way what it means to break step.

Big Shot is a story about life as an internet sensation.  Armando, an 11-year-old aspiring rapper, makes a video that goes viral (perhaps for all the wrong reasons), and achieves the ill-famed immortality that the short-attention-spanned internet population can muster.  (Remember the Star Wars Kid?  Really?  Why?  It’s not 2003 anymore.)

A comedy that combines pessimistic cynicism and dark humor with good old-fashioned inspiration, resulting in a film that is fun for everyone, from the thick-rimmed ironist lurking in the dark corner of the art-house theater to the pre-teen beliebers watching on their palmtop supercomputers.

Underneath the comedy, themes such as bullying, nihilism, and isolation meet hope and independence in a simple, uplifting story about self-reliance.

My thesis is this: In a cruel and ridiculous world, what else can you do but to laugh and keep going?

I admire this film for more than the talent behind the writing, acting and production; I think it explores some really interesting themes and I’m looking forward to how they’ll play out in Armando’s life.  Even as a work of fiction, there’s sure to be a lot of truth and relevance here for anyone who, like me, sometimes wishes that the grain was a little less hard to go against.  If sometimes that includes you (and don’t tell me you’ve never wanted to go to school in your pajamas), then I hope you’ll think about backing Big Shot before April 27.


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