Thursday 24 Jul

Escape from Tomorrow

With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
05/06/2014 | Comments 0


William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Documentary · Beauty Day

Beauty Day

Before ‘Jackass,’ there was Cap’n Video.

Rod Lott February 10th, 2013

Don’t feel stupid: I didn’t know who Ralph Zavadil was, either. After all, we can’t be faulted for living in Oklahoma City instead of Ontario, Canada. Ultimately, it makes no difference, because Beauty Day, the documentary about the man, is a fun viewing nonetheless. That’s because there’s something about watching stunts of bodily harm that holds universal appeal.


It debuts on demand Feb. 12 from FilmBuff.

As Beauty Day informs us, Zavadil was a man before his time as cable-TV personality Cap’n Video, a David Lee Roth-looking, Jackass-style camcorder prankster who was doing his thing in the mid-1990s, before Johnny Knoxville and the gang even dreamt of getting paid to puke. Director Jay Cheel’s doc opens with footage of the Cap’n’s apparently most notorious stunt, in which he jumps from atop a very tall ladder onto the cover of his swimming pool.

Or at least that’s what he intended to do. The ladder wasn’t properly stabilized and ... well, y’know, physics is one mean em-effer. I mean, Zavadil still hit the cover ... but only after hitting the cement, breaking his neck in the process. It’s a miracle he survived.

But he did, and the film spends time with the chain smoker reminiscing about those good ol’ days of walking through an automated car wash, snorting raw eggs, eating a homemade pie of Cool Whip and dog hair, sledding off his roof, lighting his face on fire, skiing on clothesline, and licking chocolate sauce off a puppy. Hey, it was for Easter.

Zavadil claims he wasn’t doing it to be famous; instead, “It's just being a fucking nutbar and being the nutbar in everyone.” And yet, the back half of the movie follows him attempting to revive Cap’n Video for a 20th-anniversary special.

Cheel certainly found a ready-and-willing subject in Zavadil, an individual — boy, is he ever! — who has no problem saying what’s on his mind, whether about the past, present or future. Oft-spoken is a phrase from which Beauty Day takes its title — one that is out-of-context odd and not entirely indicative of the mild mayhem contained within.

Cap’n Video had a small, but loyal audience in his original run, but his profile should expand as this entertaining documentary spreads and streams.  —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
Jackass 3D film review     
Jackass: The Lost Tapes DVD review   
Nitro Circus: The Movie Blu-ray review    

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