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Beautiful Losers (2008)

Shepard Fairey , Ed Templeton , Aaron Rose  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Shepard Fairey, Ed Templeton, Harmony Korine
  • Directors: Aaron Rose
  • Producers: Jared Moshe, Jon Barlow, Richard Lim, Ravi Anne
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Oscilloscope Labs
  • DVD Release Date: December 8, 2009
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002PX446G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,355 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Beautiful Losers" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Beautiful Losers, an endearing film about a tight-knit group of artistic friends borne loosely out of a legendary, now-defunct New York gallery called Alleged, heightens one's awareness of how cultural scenes can be forged and maintained through long-term documentation. Since the beginnings of this group in the early 1990s, filmmaker, curator, and ex-Alleged director Aaron Rose has undertaken the gargantuan task of forming and chronicling an American artistic community through museum shows, an art catalog from which the Beautiful Losers film borrows its name, and finally, a full-length feature documentary. Anyone who hasn't yet learned of the historical roots and aesthetic connections between graphic designers like Geoff McFetridge, filmmakers like Harmony Korine and Mike Mills, and street artists like Shepard Fairey and Barry McGee will now be exposed to this highly influential posse of creative people who have infiltrated mainstream media and advertising to renovate commercials, print ads, and art practice sponsored by corporate entities. Beautiful Losers is a patchwork quilt of interview footage of the above-named artists, plus many great female ones too, like Margaret Kilgallen, Jo Jackson, and Aaron Rose's fellow documentarian, photographer and filmmaker Cheryl Dunn. Before it dives into individual interviews, which are all charming and funny, the film explains skateboarding culture and the suburban roots of these artists to establish a platform for their shared styles. There are elegantly filmed segments about train graffiti and hobo art, about the first art gallery exhibitions of skate art in New York and Los Angeles, and about how this group has traveled Europe and Asia to share their beliefs in collaboration and freedom through creativity. While there is something contrived about naming and monumentalizing a group of artists who share affinities with many other artists in America, Beautiful Losers skillfully avoids elitism with a savvy camera eye, cool editorial, and a soundtrack by Money Mark. Some of the biggest characters in the film, such as Chris Johanson, the bearded, self-proclaimed "conceptual artist," and skater-photographer couple Ed and Deanna Templeton, elevate the film overall with wit and edge. Beautiful Losers, beyond being a documentary about 15 or so friends, is a test in high art, low art, and corporate art commingling as an attempt to stake its claim as some kind of new Pop Art movement. For that, among other reasons, it is unique and important. --Trinie Dalton

Product Description

Beautiful Losers celebrates the spirit behind one of the most influential cultural moments of a generation. In the early 1990's a loose-knit group of likeminded outsiders found common ground at a little NYC storefront gallery. Rooted in the DIY (do-it-yourself) subcultures of skateboarding, surf, punk, hip-hop & graffiti, they made art that reflected the lifestyles they led. Developing their craft with almost no influence from the "establishment" art world, this group, and the subcultures they sprang from, has now become a movement that has been transforming pop culture. Starring Ed Templeton who skated pro for New Skateboards winning awards all over the world, Harmony Korine who wrote the cult favorite Kids and then went on to direct Gummo and most recently Mister Lonely and Mike Mills who designed album covers for The Beastie Boys, Beck, Sonic Youth and directed the movie Thumbsucker. Also starring Barry McGee, Chris Johanson, Geoff McFetridge, Jo Jackson, Margaret Kilgallen, Stephen Powers, Thomas Campbell and Shepard Fairey who has experienced recent success with the now famous 'Hope' poster featuring Barack Obama.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Losers is a Winner! December 3, 2009
Beautiful Losers is a touching piece. It gave me insight into these artists' lifestyles. They seemed to believe they were outsiders, but they were the ones who shaped a whole new movement of pop culture. They continued to impress me through out the film with their ambitious, unique, similar minds and talent to create art. It was fun to watch and made me remember that I was once a creative person who can just as easily become creative again.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a doc on Shepard Fairey! October 21, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
My wife ordered this because it sounded interesting. It was, and we enjoyed it. However, it is not a documentary on Shepard Fairey. In fact, he is in 2 or 3 minutes of the film. I thought this film was well conceived and edited, and the artists are all very interesting people. You will watch the development of their careers and none of them is a superstar who rose to fame (with the possible exception of Fairey, who stepped into the public spotlight with his Obama/Lance Armstrong/Nike popularity - none of which is in this documentary.) I enjoyed the stories and the personalities of these artists and learning about their journeys. It's great to watch people who are passionate about what they do. So often these days, I feel I'm watching stories about people with shallow ideals. I recommend this movie, but Shepard's name should not be the one name attached to the film - it's like cheap name dropping for a cameo appearance.
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29 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sooooo Inspirational! January 10, 2010
Length: 0:36 Mins
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing puff piece November 21, 2012
While the artists featured here have created some interesting work, they tend to have so much difficulty expressing themselves in the many interview segments that watching this video is often quite a chore.

Even worse, the makers of the video take a very superficial approach to their subjects and seem to be more interested in promoting the notion of the importance of their subjects than in actually delving into anything particularly interesting.

For example, various of the artists touch upon the issue of navigating between art for art's sake and commodification from time to time, but the topic is not dealt with in any depth. We are mostly presented with their forays into the commercial art world as implied validations of their significance as "real" artists without any explanation for why this should be the standard used (perhaps it should, but there should be some support given for such a notion). If this implication wasn't intended, then the samples of their commercial work (generally given without context) have no point that I can see.

Speaking of lack of context, at one point it's mentioned that "a company" flew many of these artists to Japan for a series of shows. It seems strange that the videomakers go out of their way to not name the company, especially since this is (yet again) apparently supposed to impress the viewers. There's a lot of context missing from this video that would have made it much more interesting: as it is, it's an intermittently enjoyable and annoying promo piece for some good artists. It is to Exit Through the Gift Shop, to which some have compared it, as The Blue Lagoon is to Lord of the Flies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Amazon Instant Video
Problematic life ... what this documentary (directed by Aaron Rose) sets out to do is say what this group, that gained notoriety in the 1990's, does about it. Mainly, they funnel their creative energy into all sorts of artistic venues. In interview snippets, plugged-in as the narrative, all of the artists show and tell of the outlets they have each used and continue doing so. The film is chock-full of many interesting quotes about people, life, (a profound) loss and especially about art.

Mike Mills speaks intermittently throughout this piece. An artist of that generation answering questions which may have crossed your own mind. He explains about how cerebral the 'weird artwork' of the culture can be ... "like genious-ly dumb". All the individual artists speak out on inward sadness and/or angst at the time, not altogether trying to focus on the violence of the culture they live in.

Skateboarding, spray can graffiti, punk rock, photography, canvas painting and all different types of the diversified artwork; "made by kids for kids". The counterculture mentality of this decade was truly their phenomenon, their venue. Every idea flows into outward expression while they work toward another gallery opening to display it.

"My art is revelling in sadness". Equating it to the loss of his very first girlfriend, Mills adds feeling most of the time to what is behind the movement; feelings ... and a lot of them. This has an innocence and creativity relevant to them. An emotionally heartfelt documentary that is easy to relate to on a just-being-human level.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing... July 4, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I saw this movie a few years before buying it on DVD and I still find myself watching it over and over. As a soon to be BFA graduate, I loved following the stories of these amazing contemporary artists and seeing how they started and how much they've grown within their art. What starts out as a bunch of kids making things for themselves and their friends becomes its own art movement and it's really inspiring to see the do-it-yourself quality that they all share even though the group of artists is extremely varied in terms of style, medium, and use of subject matter. All in all, this is an extremely informative and inspiring documentary.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Vibrant Movie
I have given this movie 4 stars because I had so much fun watching the collaborative energy at work here. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Deneen Peckinpah
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
This was an interesting documentary if you're into the street scene but it can be difficult to share with mixed company due to some of the crudeness featured. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rudy Gardea
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching
Inspiring for those of us, the artistic and creative souls who feel like the outcasts and gives hope to follow our passions despite not going along with the mainstream.
Published 3 months ago by Whitney Kleinhuizen
5.0 out of 5 stars love it
It inspires every time I watch it. Has made not give up on myself when it came to creating art.
Published 6 months ago by Michelle Fierro
3.0 out of 5 stars OK
Great art and A good story--but i thought it could have been told a bit better to keep the view more engaged in the struggles of the anti-establishment artist becoming mainstream.
Published 11 months ago by Gavin L. Duerson
4.0 out of 5 stars Skate Art & Culture from 90's and Beyond
I grew up in LA reading Thrasher Magazine in the 90's. If you were influenced by the movie KIDS, rode a Toy Machine board or were entranced by the street art in the Bay, you should... Read more
Published 11 months ago by liarphoto
4.0 out of 5 stars non academic for now
Great movie about artists finding places for their work in the world. Not sappy pap. This movie does give a specific view of the art world but the dialogue is important because... Read more
Published 13 months ago by H3VLH
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm glad I came across this.
Of all the documentaries I could have picked I'm glad I watched this one. Interesting to get some insight in this generation of artists.
Published 13 months ago by Goodol10
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Losers
One of my favorite films ever. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in art, design, graphics, etc.
Published 15 months ago by Tatsuya
4.0 out of 5 stars Good film of an art scene
This is an older flick I recently grabbed due to my new interest in Oscilloscope releases. They put great attention into their releases, from the packaging to the features. Read more
Published 18 months ago by CriticNic
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