In a world where we see some form of video footage every day – on small and big screens, down on our phones, around us on animated billboards – and where we can tumble headfirst down the YouTube rabbit hole and reemerge years later not remembering where we started, you would think we would be desensitised to the whole thing. Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher are here to prove the opposite, reawakening our hearts to the wonder and joy of film making and consuming, one surprise dick at a time.
Just the right blend of second-hand embarrassment and first-hand disgust
The concept is relatively simple, but the content is extremely well researched and edited together. Pickett and Prueher claim to have been collecting and watching wacky VHS tapes since they became friends at the ripe age of ten. They are currently in their 15th year of performing the show (or some variation of it) and show no signs of slowing down. The way they track down the footage sounds like a kind of treasure hunt, and is apparently very hard to do in the UK. Our charity shops are too nice and clean.
Questions that may be asked during your time at Found Footage Festival: Volume 9 include what goes on at a hose factory? Where is Principal Belding from Saved By The Bell? Is there a tasteful way to do women’s coleslaw wrestling? And who wrote this frisbee-based German porn? Pickett and Prueher have a great eye for entertainment. Most, if not all, of the clips presented to us are just a snippet of a much longer video recording that the guys have watched over and over again. They cut the best moments, divide them into themes and give us as much context as we need to get the full picture. We get home movies, child pageants (before they were cool), daredevil stunts, public access shows and something called ‘church training’ that they’ve only just discovered.
The highlight of the show is a segment about Pickett and Prueher’s journey into the spotlight themselves. After appearing as guests on numerous morning shows in America, they decided it would be more fun to create fake characters to go in their stead. Pickett played a chef trying to popularise the concept of blending leftovers into a thick sludge, and the two men convinced several media outlets that they were official ‘strong men’. The best character, played by a friend of theirs, was the man teaching children about climate change using yo-yos. Go see the show for that footage alone!
Although the humour and references often felt more targeted at an American audience, Pickett and Prueher did a great job of using footage from the ‘80s to entertain a mostly millennial crowd. With just the right blend of second-hand embarrassment and first-hand disgust, Found Footage Festival: Volume 9 will have you calling your parents to demand they burn any home movies from your childhood. Just in case.