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Everything in this wild and woolly world is normal - for a handsome rising star, that is - until one of his `sprayings' (When a paparazzo sets their camera to automatically take several shots in a very short period of time, the verb `to spray' is utilized to describe the phenomenon. `I sprayed her,' or, `I got sprayed'. With the flash on, the sprayee's eyesight is temporarily diminished. The metaphor to utilizing a machine gun is noted.) As Grenier's sight recovered, he noticed that the shooter was a young boy. "How old are you?" Grenier asked. "Thirteen," the boy answered.
Thus, a great documentary was born. Grenier decided to befriend the boy, Austin Visschedyk, to learn about the world of the paparazzi, and, especially, about how and why it is that a 13-year old prodigy has joined their small celebrity-chasing cult.
While providing a glimpse, as fascinating as it is disturbing, into paparazzi world, "Teenage Paparazzo" profiles Visschedyk's work and character as well as the budding friendship between the teenage `pap' and the risings star. The young boy becomes the star's teacher. Because of Grenier's tenacity in this project, his consistent presence with nomadic groups of paparazzi, he, inevitably yet again, decides to walk a mile in the other side's shoes. Visschedyk helps him buy a `starter camera', and the two go `papping'.
But all this is simply the context for a much-more fascinating story - or stories.Read more ›
The documentary examines this individual relationship as a micro-causem of fame and celebrities status. The film covers all points of view, from street interviews to great interviews with academics. Grenier's view as very interesting, having made his fame playing a fictional movie-superstar.
I loved this, but I am a huge Entourage fan and interested in anything about "the business" of the business and all aspects of it. I would say for a small niche audience, this is a great film and am unsure how it would be received by the masses. If you are interested in the concept of Entourage, the actors and are interested in fame, celebrity and and our obsession with them, definitely watch this.
Nonetheless, this movie provides superb insights into the psychology of media consumption. I'd already read Thomas de Zengotita's book, "Mediated," and found it quite good. The fact that the book was the inspiration for this film and that the film did a very good job of illustrating de Zengotita's arguments was an unexpected and pleasant surprise.
I also did not expect the Hollywood lead, Adrian Grenier (of "Entourage" fame), to be so articulate and conversant with the subject matter, which was also a pleasant surprise. Emotionally, the best part of the film is its last 5 minutes, which I will not give away here. But suffice to say, had life not turned out as it had, I wonder if the film would ever have been commercially released.
Here ersatz star Adrian Grenier ("Entourage") gloms onto 14-year-old paparazzo Austin Visschedyk, hoping to achieve some sort of deep documentary about this boy's dive into the world of the paparazzi (called "paps"). Not only did this kid dive: he swam with the biggest sharks of all. And he made adoring pals along the way ... not easy from what I saw. Even Paris Hilton befriended him and nicknamed him "Sexy".
This is NOT good. As I began watching, I felt that this little faerie-like boy had no guidance, no example, no discipline and certainly no mother. His mother (they live alone together), in her own words, has to "beg him" to do what she wants him to do. As she put it, "I'm his mother, and I have to beg HIM?!" - and the answer, lady, you earned it - YES, you must beg him. So much for American parenting.
I've seen the obligatory headshot photo of Grenier, viewing him as just-another-cutie in the parade, and knew nothing else about him. So he had little impact on me as an actor. His impact as a documentarist and as a human being was very impressive. In his quest to understand paparazzi life, and this boy who is the youngest paparazzi ever, Grenier came to understand that he made a huge error in feeding the boy's twisted dreams.
Many experts and stars (Whoopie Goldberg, Rosie O'Donnell, Matt Damon, Alec Baldwin) commented on the kid and on stardom. Paris Hilton is of course a more prominent feature, because she, like Grenier and many others, is an ersatz star.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A member of the cast of 'entourage' encounters a 13-year-old celeb photog and decides to see what is up with the kid. Read morePublished 4 months ago by ellison
Extremely powerful. Great insight into fame and the paparazzo world.Published 13 months ago by Logan Hautala
Youth often dictate the future, even when they learn from adults. A teenager explores the Hollywood world around him, while developing into a young man. Read morePublished on July 11, 2014 by mitzila valdes
Like the title of my review, this clever documentary presents a unique and ironic perspective of one of the more unusual cultural celebrities of Hollywood. Read morePublished on January 2, 2014 by Neil Martinez
A terrific story of a boy living his dream and succeeding until an adult interferes and ruins the boys dreamPublished on July 14, 2013 by Jim Shaw
I watched this documentary without expecting much of a cultural critique, but I was pleasantly surprised at how deeply it went into the issues of celebrity culture in American and... Read morePublished on August 11, 2012 by S. Smith-Peter