|The Comedy starring Tim Heidicker|
starring Tim Heidecker
currently streaming on Netflix
Been trying to watch this movie for months but couldn't pull the trigger on same day as theatrical release pay per view , couldn't get to it in the theater, etc. I consider myself a solid fan of Tim & Eric- the show and Tim Heidecker as an Artist. I'm convinced that he is, in fact, an Artist not merely an absurdist comedian, in the same way that I would argue that Larry David is an Artist and Jerry Seinfeld is a comedian. Specifically that Tim Heidecker has some kind of inexhaustible source of inspiration that he draws from and that he has a point of view that is worth exploring. Perhaps it's not easy to divine from the show, Tim & Eric, but if you've ever seen his stand-up routine or seen The Comedy, in which he stars, the picture comes into focus.
I wanted to write this review specifically to say that I think The Comedy is a genius film that bears repeat viewing, mostly for Heidecker's performance as "Swanson"- a disaffected "aging hipster" who lives a life of aimless bohemism that has artistic antecedents in the characters of British literature going back to the 18th century. Pigeon holing Heidecker's "Swanson" as being a character fixed in a specific time or place is a mistake, he is quite obviously meant to exist in a kind of timeless state. This is not an argument made by the film maker, rather it is hinted at in scenes that take place in the deserted rooms of Swanson's wealthy, comatose father.
It's easy to not like The Comedy, but I am firmly convinced that truly great Art possesses a quality that will inevitably alienate a wide portion of a large Audience. That's what great Art does- it forces people to confront their own opinions. Great Art can also be harmonious and beautiful- the two aims co-exist and achieving one aim is not preferable to achieving the other. Harmonious and beautfiul Art does not possess the alienating quality that works like The Comedy share, but both aims are worth pursuing.
Another reason that The Comedy is interesting is its mode of production. The Comedy was released by JagJaguwar- a Secretly Canadian distributed record label owned by... Chris Swanson. I'm not sure if the fact that the main character has the same name as the guy who paid for this film to get made is something more or less then a coincidence, but again- makes sense right? Name the main character (who is only named in the credits- no one calls him by his name during the entire film) after the guy who made the movie? That's interesting because it suggests that other indie record labels could do the same thing. That is certainly something I'm interested in- especially since I've partnered with Artists who people often discuss in terms of movies.
When watching The Comedy the viewer needs to understand that Heidicker did not write or direct this movie- he is an Actor, playing a Character in a film. The Character is not 'Tim Heidicker" it's a specific person: Swanson.