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Long before O'Reilly and Beck, Morton Downey, Jr., was tearing up the talk-show format with his divisive populism. Between the fistfights, rabid audience, and Mort's cigarette smoke always "in your face," The Morton Downey Jr. Show was billed as "3-D television," "rock and roll without the music." Évocateur meditates on the hysteria that ended the '80s and ultimately its most notorious agitator.Written by
Bizarre Animation Filled Documentary Tells Story of Bizarre Argument Filled Show
I had never heard of Morton Downey Jr. before this documentary, having been in diapers when it was on the air, and from the impression this documentary gave, I'm glad I was. Downey's show pre-dated the Jerry Springer madhouse-style talkshows that are fairly ubiquitous now and were absolutely huge in the mid-90's. Morton Downey's show only lasted a few years and was before the cusp of that type of T.V. becoming popular, it was well ahead of it's time.
One of the interviewees in the movie mentions, I think accurately, that it was America's first taste of the blatant rudeness and confrontation that reality TV shows like The Real Housewives of ( ) have on them.
The documentary itself has a bizarre, strange tone to it, critical of Downey, who was a polarizing figure, but not entirely hateful or against him. At points, it's view is like I mentioned, critical, but at others it's almost pitying, sympathetic, with interesting animated segments scattered throughout. I suppose the pity sensation was the one I felt the most after the piece ended, he was a man who struggled with many parts of himself but also did make something, whether that something was bad or good, of himself.
So if you can manage to be entertained by watching train/car wreck style stories (even though this is far from the worst of that type I've ever seen) and you're interested in the history and progenitors of a section of our current media culture, I would say that Evocateur is worth your time, but not quite a must see.
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