Directed by Parker Smith
In the wake of a devastating personal tragedy, struggling would-be filmmaker Parker Smith decides to take a road-trip across America. Intending to make a "lo-fi" documentary about his journey he purchases a decade old camera off of eBay, and is surprised to discover that it holds a long forgotten video tape containing strange home video footage of the notorious bodybuilder Gregg Valentino, a/k/a 'The Man Whose Arms Exploded'. Convinced that Valentino’s odd tape found its way into his hands for some important existential reason, Parker sets off from Austin, Texas to New York to find the fading bodybuilder armed with only his beloved cat, two cameras and a minivan.
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★★★★ review by William Lindus on Letterboxd
Sometimes, you go to a film festival and you end up checking out a film not because you are excited about it, but because it happens to be playing at a venue before/after a more desired film. RAMBLIN FREAK fell into that category for me, with a description in the festival guide that did not sound interesting at all.
I was wrong. RAMBLIN FREAK is one of the better films to play at SXSW 2017, and easily the film that gave me the most tears.
The film follows Parker Smith, a film student and documentarian who buys an inexpensive camera from the internet. In the camera, he finds a tape created by a professional bodybuilder from New Jersey. Smith, dealing with a personal crisis, decides to embark on a roadtrip to return the tape and to document his journey.
RAMBLIN FREAK is very lo-fi, but don't let that turn you off. It is incredibly edited and has an unexpected amount of heart. The reveals in this film need to be seen, so try to read as little about this film as possible before watching it.
★★★★½ review by seanmalin on Letterboxd
SXSW Film Review for the Austin Chronicle:
This one sneaks up on you like you'd never know. Pretty special. Late Akerman influence is heavy. The kid making the film could be amazing.
★★★★★ review by Graham Young on Letterboxd
The best American road movie since The Brown Bunny. I loved it!
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