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Doc

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Doc
Directed by Immy Humes
January 23 through 29, Film Forum

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As exhaustively, rather sycophantically chronicled at the outset of Doc, Harold "Doc" Humes knew everyone (Baldwin, Duchamp, Dietrich, Ornette Coleman, Timothy Leary) and did everything. Remembered as a co-founder of the Paris Review, this tireless, half-mad polymath wrote novels, designed houses, dropped acid, reformed politics, made movies, hatched schemes, invented conspiracies, and sired multiple children who seem to have regarded him with a mix of awe, admiration, and love-from-afar more suited to a celebrity than a father. One of them, Immy Humes, attempts to close the gap with this indulgent, technically crude, yet oft-intriguing portrait of a man so confident of his intellectual prowess and so constitutionally restless that a friend remembers his habit of randomly announcing, "Somebody ask me a question; I feel like explaining something." Probing the great and tragic question of Doc's life—the nature of his debilitating mental breakdown into delusion, paranoia, and violence—elevates the material, just barely, above hagiography. Immy Humes no doubt needed to make this movie, and the PR set (Mailer, Matthiessen, Plimpton) obviously enjoy the trip down memory lane, but while Doc makes for a fascinating subject, Doc feels intended less for us than for them.

 
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