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Beauty Day (2011)

Before the body-threatening antics of Jackass came crashing into public consciousness, there was Ontario's Ralph Zavadil, aka Cap'n Video, who cascaded off roofs into snowbanks, jumped off ... See full summary »

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Ralph Zavadil ...
Himself
Robert Buick ...
Himself
Nancy Dewar ...
Herself
Barbara Zavadil ...
Herself
John Law ...
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Jordyn Leppard ...
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Matt Lyon ...
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Zain Dinath ...
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Malcolm Glassford ...
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William Alexander ...
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Peter Gudrunas ...
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Andre Zeman ...
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Before the body-threatening antics of Jackass came crashing into public consciousness, there was Ontario's Ralph Zavadil, aka Cap'n Video, who cascaded off roofs into snowbanks, jumped off ladders into half-empty swimming pools, and drank eggs through his nostrils. Beauty Day is a rambunctious documentary about this irrepressible pioneer of local-access cable shenanigans who entertained and outraged viewers in the small city of St. Catharines-until a special Easter Show, featuring a fat rabbit and adorable puppies (none of which were hurt), got him kicked off the air for good. With a nod to Werner Herzog, Cheel follows the life and times of Cap'n Video and finds that the Cap'n is still quite a firecracker. Written by Laurence Kardish

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10 June 2011 (Canada)  »

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Beauty Day
12 June 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I have always thought that to make a documentary interesting, you really have to show something, or someone who is exciting and unique in their own way and have that said thing, or person bring their own unique style to the film, so it does not really seem like anything else. I think the more interesting the subject, or person you are profiling, the more interesting your documentary will be. The people behind Beauty Day, have chosen just the right man to make a really interesting documentary, Ralph Zavadil. For those unfamiliar with Ralph Zavadil, he lives in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada and back in the early 90's on a local cable channel he had his own very inexpensive and financed problem starring himself as his alter ego Cap 'N Video. Cap 'N Video would perform a bunch of dangerous type stunts and also do a lot of gross out gags with Ralph always staying completely in character and depending on your taste as a viewer, you would either laugh, be disgusted, or maybe a little of both. After an Easter Special of his program that was deemed offensive because of the local humane society, Ralph's program was shut down and now more than 20 years later a documentary is made about him and we get a personal look not only on Cap 'N Video, but also Ralph himself and the film features old footage of his skits as well as interviews with family and friends and in the last half of the film, Ralph tries to put together a 20th anniversary show, hoping he can get it broadcast just as he used to, on local television channel 10. I remember watching some of the Cap 'N Video stunts and sketches back when they were on over 20 years ago, but now new fans can get used to his bizarre, but somewhat creative art by watching old sketches on video community sharing websites. The film was interesting to me not only because this film was filmed and takes place where I live, but also because Ralph is such an outgoing and laidback person that he is very entertaining to watch, whether you like his style of comedy or not. Watching the old Cap 'N Video segments in the film, made me laugh and laugh often, but there is a lot more to this film than just gross out gags and dangerous stunts. The film shows Ralph's first serious girlfriend and past jobs he had in the past and through the film you can see that he has a vision for himself and what he wants to do. I think he wants to have some sort of freedom to do the things he loves and not be weighed down by a tedious and by the numbers job. In interviews, Ralph seems like a lot of fun and so laid back and easy going and with a great sense of humour. This film gives us a chance to view the man behind the persona and he is every bit as interesting as his wild alter ego Cap 'N Video. I think I appreciate anyone whose art means so much to them that they will do almost anything to make it happen and here you can see that doing this program was a lot of fun for Ralph and even though he got paid for it, I think more than anything the joy he got out of it was making people laugh and being able to tell these crazy stories to friends and neighbours about what he did. It is evident throughout the film and on the internet as well, that he still has a loyal group of fans who still love to watch the old episodes, whether by old VHS tapes, or online. Beauty Day works so well as a documentary because it does what any documentary should do and that is being informative, but doing so by being very entertaining at the same time. The filmmakers found a great subject with Ralph Zavadil and I am glad they stuck with that idea. Showing the old skits was a lot of fun and laughs to be had watching it, but the film also gives us a more personal side to things, which I could really appreciate because I felt I got to know him better and the mind behind the genius, in other words. Ralph lives to entertain and make people laugh and isn't that a wonderful thing? Whether tobogganing off his roof, or skiing down a clothesline, Ralph's first priority is to put a smile on the viewer's face and he seems like that same type of man twenty years on and I can respect that and his dream. I hope this film does well, not only in the Niagara area, but across Canada and when it hits other countries as well. I also hope his online videos take off as well. Beauty Day, is fascinating, humorous, entertaining and at the same time heart warming to see how much all this means to Ralph. A very well done documentary that deserves to be seen by fans, or anyone interested in a weird, but redeeming documentary.


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