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Beautiful Losers

4.2 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

Amazon.com

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

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Shepard Fairey, Ed Templeton, Harmony Korine
  • Directors: Aaron Rose
  • Producers: Jared Moshe, Jon Barlow, Richard Lim, Ravi Anne
  • Format: Multiple Formats, 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 (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002PX446G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,134 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Beautiful Losers" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This is a documentary about "outside artists" and their work. Mostly in the 90's. I love outsider art. My husband collected 20th century film art but much earlier in the century. Anyway it is interesting and I
recommend the film. The artists their work and motivations. Some have become successful and exhibit all over the world. It's a glimpse into another dimension and lifestyle. I found it informative and enlightening.
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Format: DVD
Length: 0:36 Mins
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By Rudy Gardea on January 15, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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. More of a reality documentary which has it's own charm as well.
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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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By DP on February 13, 2014
Format: Amazon Video
I have given this movie 4 stars because I had so much fun watching the collaborative energy at work here.
I'm an older woman and the art itself isn't something with which I feel much resonance. Nevertheless, these kids are so
authentic and free in their expression of their creativity, that I was drawn into watching and enjoying the process through
which they worked together, inspired each other and created their gallery.

They take "art" out of the realm of elitism and let others see how we can give ourselves permission to create in any way that feels good to us. These artists are/were skaters, cartoonists, punks, taggers and an all round mix of men and women being true to themselves and what excites them most. They also beautifully demonstrate the joys of being part of a group of artists working both alone and together to form an authentic movement doing just what they love to do.
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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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