my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   The Great Buster
Director:   Peter Bogdanovich
Year:   2018
Genre:   Documentary
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   01.29.24

Other Movies Seen By This Director (7)
- Directed by John Ford
- The Last Picture Show
- Nickelodeon
- Paper Moon
- Saint Jack
- Targets
- They All Laughed

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
01.29.24Internet Bogdanovich's doc on Buster Keaton, which also proved to be his last directorial effort. My feelings on Bogdanovich have somewhat changed over the years from a place of pure admiration (heck, this journal is inspired by him) to a more complicated gray area of strengths and weaknesses. This doc exposes both ends of that spectrum for me. on one hand, you have that background of the critic bringing out smart insightful showcases of Keaton's best work, but on the other hand you have stuff like the usual suspects (Orson Welles, Louise Stratton, Cybill Shepherd) making appearances and starting your doc with archival footage of yourself that reminds me of his ego. It's all good though... you watch the movie to see what the deal is with Buster Keaton and I feel that you get what you want out of it. I think for me an interesting thing here is the structure of the film where Bogdanovich speeds through the typical life arc doc structure, then goes back to spend the last 40% of the film talking about his best movies. You wind up ending the movie on a positive note rather than a somber one which is great.

I thought I knew an alright amount about Keaton. In the early netflix days I rented anything they had in stock at the time. I took a film history class in college where we watched Chaplin's The Gold Rush and Keaton's Sherlock Jr. together and I was struck by how much better Keaton's stuff had aged over Chaplin. But the years between Steamboat Bill Jr. and his cameo in Sunset Blvd were blank for me, as was anything he did afterward. So I was happy to learn that his life story was not just that MGM ruined him and he drank too much but that he had a real third act with tv and commercials and whatnot. So I learned a bunch about him which is great.

All in all a decent doc if you're interested in why film snobs say silent movies were superior or whatever.