14 October, 2012

Radioman (Documentary)

He's been called a "cultural institution" by Tom Hanks. To some he is a lucky charm. With countless guest and blink-and-you'll-miss appearances in films, Radioman is a person that defines the city of New York for the people in the movie business.

I have often called myself a film enthusiast or even a film fanatic, but seeing the obsession and passion that Radioman possess towards the films, I now feel embarrassed calling myself a fan of cinema. He is an eccentric person, but one who comes across as genuine and honest. He's on first name basis with movie legends, yet he is simply happy hanging around the set and acting bit parts in films, never really asking for any help from the actors. It is probably his humility towards the stars that draws them towards him and let them be in their natural state even when he is around.   

Radioman the documentary is a short look at the life of a person who in his own way has been an integral part of cinema. It's a documentary that through the story of Radioman showcases the power of cinema as a chance encounter with Bruce Willis led to Radioman changing the course of his life from being homeless to having a certain meaning and goal. The documentary is also a reality check on life. From the life lived by the homeless, to the perceptions people have towards the less fortunate, to the true meaning of friendship, Radioman is a also one man institution of life's lessons.

Due to the rather short running time of 70 minutes, the documentary never really digs deep into the depressing life of Radioman, especially his childhood with just a passing mention of an abusive father. What it does do is, while staying on the surface of issues, manages to compile the life of a man who has an almost childish enthusiasm about cinema and a never say die attitude.

One of the most poignant moments in the documentary is when on a trip to LA to meet his beloved stars during Oscar week, Radioman just doesn't get the same positive response as he does back in New York. Still, he remains loyal to the starts rejoicing having only met Cher. He sums up his trip as "Sometimes it's a tidal wave of fun, other times it's monsoon misery".

Radioman who at times remotely looks like Robin Williams or even Steven Spielberg is well aware of his persona and is aware that he himself is a character, a man with a radio around his neck, and that is what makes him who he is. He is also at peace with this. It is his frankness that is his most attractive feature and the reason why most stars are comfortable talking to him. In return he never pushes them for attention, giving them their own space, just happy knowing that the actors know him.

The documentary is just the tip of the iceberg to what is a plethora of interesting stories from the life of a man who has spent his time on the streets of New York and continues to do so showing himself to the entire world one frame at a time in the form of cameos in films.

Radioman is a character study of a cinephile and makes for recommended viewing.


  1. Thank you for this post. I am glad now i know about radio man :)

  2. This sounds like a very interesting documentary. Will be checking this one out for sure!

    1. Hi Nostra, I think you'll like it since its all about films and actors. As a documentary is lacks a certain spark but Radioman as a person is pretty cool. Have to say considering he has access to so many stars, including Anne Hathaway makes me so jealous of him ;-)