The Accidental Activist

"Terrible"

The Accidental Activist Review


God how I miss Spalding Gray. He was the master of the monologue -- and before he committed suicide, few people dared to try to follow in his footsteps.

Well, now that he's gone, the wannabes are turning out in droves. Kathryn Blume is one of them, and lo and behold she's got a DVD, an hour-long monologue about her "career," or lack of it, and how that made her into the leader of a short-lived but arguably influential anti-Iraq War II protest campaign.

Blume describes herself as an out of work actress who spends most of her days as a transcriptionist. But not only can she not get hired as an actress, she's got tendonitis. Basically, she's useless.

In roundabout fashion, this lack of labor leads to the founding of a kind of street theater/don't-go-to-war protest movement called Lysistrata. Noteriety immediately and inexplicably ensues, at least until the war starts for real.

If Blume hadn't gotten Lysistrata off the ground, her story would have been of no interest to anybody. As it is, it's only going to be of interest to a handful of folks, probably fellow protesters, out of work actors, and/or transcriptionists. Why is this so bad? She's simply painful to watch: You know the type. She overacts with broad gestures and insane facial contortions. It's like watching Marilu Henner without a funny man to play against. It's really no wonder she can't get acting work.

Blume is such an unbearable personality that it doesn't really matter that she's also a terrible storyteller. Her padded monologue is simply one non-sequitur after another. The story chases tangent after tangent to the point where you wonder if she's ever going to get to the titular topic of the film. She dances around the activism topic (Writing letters to Arab newspapers! Writing letters to Bush!) until she starts her protest movement for real. By then, we're halfway through the movie. Until that point, Blume frequently breaks into dream sequences (in a monologue!) and bursts into song. And yet this only gets worse when she hurls herself into some kind of Middle Eastern dance or impersonates various other people, usually with faux accents she must have picked up in acting class. Once she gets to the point where the protests begin, and she get lots of media attention, she's mostly congratulating herself, reading her many great accomplishments off of a clipboard.

And yet, as the film points out in its opening scenes, we went to war anyway. Blume has plenty of crocodile tears to shed over the horrors of war.

I'm no war hawk nor a Bush fan, and I can even appreciate the power of protest -- so long as it doesn't interfere with me personally. But I'm far more incensed over the waste of plastic and oil that this DVD represents than the actual war. Self-congratulatory movies like this do nothing for the cause, and they might be counterproductive. The Accidental Activist mostly proves that navel gazing is worst when it's your own navel you're staring at.



The Accidental Activist

Facts and Figures

Run time: 60 mins

In Theaters: Sunday 12th July 1998

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Kevin Morrison

Producer: Kevin Morrison

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