The Customer is Not Always Right
I Like Killing Flies
Review by Ross Anthony

This film is as oddly direct and quirky as its title. Ken Shopsin is the head chef and owner (along with his family) of a frequented and much loved diner/restaurant in New York. After thirty years at the same corner building, his new landlord raises the rent to a level that will shut him down.

Patron and artist Matt Mahurin takes a camera into the kitchen and captures the spontaneous, nearly unfiltered philosophical thoughts of an eccentric, hard-working Joe on the brink of a major life change. On that level alone, the documentary would be interesting. But Ken Shopsin has such an alluring personality -- charming, yet dangerously cranky. He's so unabashedly ready with colorful swear words and obscenities to tell you what he's really thinking about you.

Customers are interviewed as well; most have a story on how they at one time or other were kicked out of the place -- most likely due to the fact that they were not yet regulars.

"I gotta decide if the customer is someone worthy enough to feed" (I'm paraphrasing a comment by Chef Ken.)

And don't even think about bringing five people to the restaurant. Parties of five are strictly forbidden; even if you split into two and three -- you are still a party of five.

With the audio feel of "This American Life," "I Like Killing Flies" has a point blank video to it, which except for the shots of food, wouldn't be all that necessary. In fact, I'd enjoy listening to this program on the radio -- they should release it on CD as well as the DVD. I love the shots that include the photographer holding the little lapel Mic up to the interviewee as he shoots.

The entire video is locked into a stutter strobe effect -- I've used it myself. Usually, it's used to smooth over shaky video or to give video a more grandiose film effect. At first it bugged me, but only at first.

In sum, I was fascinated, fascinated at Ken's thoughts, fascinated at the reactions of those around him. Unfortunately, with just 5 minutes left, the film fades to black with a "One Year Later" caption which one would expect to signal a great deal of new information. While an important life change is revealed, a great deal of Ken's new business experience is simply not there. I felt quite let down. How's the new business going? What are the new customers thinking? Etc.

For menu options check out: Shopsins.com.

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  • I Like Killing Flies. Copyright © 2006.
  • Directed by Matt Mahurin.
  • Released at Thinkfilm.

Grade..........................A- (3/4)


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Copyright © 1998-2012 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Thursday, 26-Oct-2006 08:12:39 PDT