It's really easy to get skeptical of hyperbole, or filmed magic shows, and this show does things that could be really difficult to buy into for a skeptical mind. I've mostly found it true that hearing over and over again how "magical" something is can end up dulling its impact once you finally get to experience it for yourself...which leaves me kind of enthralled by how effortlessly this film skirts all of that. It contains two audience interactions that require a complete suspension of belief to even comprehend...but the magician, Derek DelGaudio, managed to help me past all that with his storytelling and acting.
I can tell this isn't something that's going to work for everyone, but I've been having trouble sleeping lately and decided to throw this on at a whim 6AM on a Monday, gambling whether I'd nod off to it or get through it all and immediately scramble back to the podcast I'd cut off halfway through because it was leading into an interview with a guy I'd never heard of about a movie I didn't think I'd ever take the time to watch. Turned out, I got manipulated in all the right ways, reduced to soft tears a handful of times just like the audience, and finding myself completely disinterested in how any of it was pulled off.
I'd love to see a little conversation around this thing here, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if this one's a flop. I'm almost equally curious if it's possible to have a mid take on it. I know this'll linger with me for a while though.
1. "Speaking of hyperbole" In response to Reply # 0
I heard all the talk about how amazing and life affirming the play was. I had the time and opportunity, so I went. It was cool, but between this and It Follows, I decided to stop listening to collective adoration. Maybe the filmed version captures the experience better than mine. Still love Frank Oz though.
3. "I would be curious to hear how this was different from the show" In response to Reply # 1
I imagine all the drawings and animations weren't part of the original show? I also figured the bits where he goes into voice over instead of audio from the show were added in post for a little clarity?
4. "I can't bring myself to sitting through it again, but (SPOILER)" In response to Reply # 3
There was a recorded audio track when he wasn't onstage. The question I have is the physical trick: when you walk in you picked a card with a trait and at the end of the show he went through the audience and told you the card you chose. I wonder if he included that and how it translated on the hulu special.
2. "I thought it was pretty incredible." In response to Reply # 0
I, like you, had heard next to nothing going into this. A few tweets talking about how great it is - that was my intro. So I decided to check it out, not even knowing it was essentially a one man show with illusions scattered throughout.
Like you, I also have next to no motivation to find out how he pulled anything off. Some of the tricks (the first ones) are amazing, but it's all technique. The audience ones? Yeah...I have no fucking idea. I don't need to, either. I'm not big into magic - I've seen some stuff, the David Blaine specials or whatever - but not really big into it at all. But I do know that compelling storytelling will allow for some incredible illusions to happen, and that's on full display here. Fantastic, personal stories...and a commitment to a piece of art that is really something else...is what makes this great.
I imagine seeing this live would be otherworldly IF what happens in the film happens in the show. For all I know, they cherrypicked the most amazing moments like a psychic on a Dr Phil type show would. But the last 10 minutes or so is pretty amazing, and it's a testament to self worth and humanity. I dug it.
6. "Fantastic experience." In response to Reply # 0
Terrific storytelling, some sensational tricks— the craft with which he constructed this performance is really something else. It hits all the right notes: funny, moving, profound. And the finale is obviously tremendous.
This made me miss live theater a lot. Oz does a great job of capturing the feeling that you’re actually there, while also giving you chips from multiple nights to give you the fuller picture of the collective experience (one of the themes of the piece!).
Just a really remarkable achievement. Most one-man shows aren’t remotely good, taped recordings of one-man shows even worse. This one was just excellently done.