March 31: TV Junkie (#31)

The end is here!

#DocuMarch has been fun, but like all good things... it must eventually come to a sad, exhausting, dragged-out end where neither of us believe we did anything wrong and we turn our friends against each other. Wait, what?

I hope at least one person found a new favorite documentary and I apologize for ruining anyone's evening(s) from the inevitably sad films that I've shared with you over the last 31 days. But it's not over yet and I've saved the saddest for last!

This documentary focuses on the private life of a very public media figure, former Inside Edition correspondent Rick Kirkham. The filmmakers (Michael Cain and Matt Radeki) sorted through more than 5,000 hours of personal video footage to tell the harrowing tale of a life spiraling out of control. After he & his girlfriend discover that she is pregnant, the troubled media persona that emerges in front of his own personal camera lens stands shows a very different side to the carefree public face put forward for the Inside Edition broadcasts.

A mesmerizing documentary trip to hell.
— Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
This is the best movie about addiction that I’ve ever seen.
— Mike McGranaghan, Aisle Seat
TV JUNKIE is one of the most compelling documentaries I’ve ever seen in my life.
— Chase Whale, ChaseWhale.com

THOUGHTS

Ugh. Sorry to end on such a devastating story like this, but I couldn't put this doc off any longer. My good buddy & fellow documentary aficionado highly recommended TV Junkie for #DocuMarch and I'm glad he did.

Not only was TV Junkie sad to watch just as a standalone film, but especially as a member of the 'media' industry who has to balance a professional image vs. personal life. Rick Kirkham's story struck me on a much more meaningful, deep, personal note. In my case, the obvious difference is that I don't have to struggle with fame as only a local radio DJ and not a national TV personality, but I've seen how easily someone can dip into the rabbit hole of being a 'celebrity'. Almost everybody in the entertainment industry has a strong vanity complex, or else why would we be doing this? It takes a special kind of selfish for a person to make a career out of essentially saying "Listen to me because I'm important." In Kirkham's case, he lived two extremes: TV-Rick and Addict-Rick. Unfortunately, one of those Rick's made the other more visible, and his vanity is almost entirely to blame.

I don't get recognized when I go out places and that makes keeping a 'private' life (or just being able to blend in as the anonymous drunk guy in a bar) a bit easier than it would for anybody who's actually identifiable by their face alone, so I really can't relate to Kirkham outside of that. I'm also not a drug addict, but I'm friends with a few people who are & have had similar (or almost exactly the same) issues as Kirkham when it comes to balancing vs. destroying their career. Consider TV Junkie as not only a cautionary tale egotism, but a lesson in the futility of addiction. 

TL;DR

Former INSIDE EDITION correspondent becomes addicted to drugs & films every second of his downward spiral. 

5 of 5 Stars!

Onwards,
--Justin