Saturday, January 26, 2019
THE PROFESSIONAL: A STEVIE BLATZ STORY (2019) Slamdance 2019
THE PROFESSIONAL: A Stevie Blatz Story Documentary TRAILER from Dylan Avery on Vimeo.
THE PROFESSIONAL: A STEVIE BLATZ STORY made me nervous. A portrait of jack of all trades, master of none and wannabe show man Stevie Blatz, it shows a man going off in literally every direction at once. Hampered by his in ability to focus and some short comings, not to mention his helicopter mother, was nervous because I didn’t know what was going to happen. I kept wondering how weird it was going to get…and then it got weirder.
Director Daniel La Barbera met Blatz when he performed at a party for one and two year olds. Blatz’s performance was one for the ages as he walked on glass and did straitjacket escapes. La Barbera was intrigued and did a deep dive on the internet and found a treasure trove of material as well as an unfinished documentary. Needing to do something himself he set up a meeting and found the meeting canceled literally at the last minute when Blatz’s mom wouldn’t allow him to drive in the rain.
You can’t make this stuff up.
And La Barbera didn’t as he follows Blatz over the course of year watching as he expands his entertainment business to include yard work and snow removal. We watch as he spreads himself thinner and thinner and still manages to go forward. Blatz is forever dreaming bigger, more jobs, more photo booths, more ways to make a buck.
Give La Barbera a hand for making a film about a guy we kind of like and we kind of want to smack. Blatz worms his way into our hearts with his genuineness but his hamster on speed personality and refusal to really listen to anyone makes you want to walk away. There is much to be said about being a go getter but at the same time you want to scream “pick a direction”. Blatz’s can’t sit still nature made me nervous for much of the film. Does he ever slow down?
The best way to describe the film is a trip. This is a descent into another person’s crazy life and going along with it. Yes Blatz arcs over the course of the film but there are twists and turns and we don’t end up where we expect. That’s a good thing. This is a film that picks us up and takes us to some place that looks like our world but is two or three degrees different.
I do have to mention that in watching the film there was a point where I began to ponder how “true” the film is. While I have no doubt that La Barbera did straight reporting (or as much as one can when cutting hours and hours down to 90 minutes), but I was left to ponder how much of what I feel was simply the result of catching choice minutes. Also how much did Blatz play to the camera. He is after all a showman. Rarely have I ever wondered how much unfiltered truth there is and how much puffing there is.
That said I still like the film a great deal. This is most definitely time with a one of a kind individual.
I kind of expect that this film to get some traction out of Slamdance, the film to take off and Blatz to become a minor celebrity beyond the tiny area in Pennsylvania he comes from. As to whether Blatz will survive long time beyond that, I don’t know. I’m guessing he wil try to do too much and implode.
Do yourself a favor and buy a ticket and take the ride. Meet Stevie Blatz and make up your own mind.