Ashrita Furman holds the official record for the most Guinness World Records by one individual, including marks for "Largest Hula Hoop," "Most Apples Sliced in Mid-Air with a Samurai Sword,...
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Ashrita Furman holds the official record for the most Guinness World Records by one individual, including marks for "Largest Hula Hoop," "Most Apples Sliced in Mid-Air with a Samurai Sword," and "Longest Distance Bicycling Underwater." A health food store owner and devotee of meditation, Furman travels the world creating new categories for record achievement. In The Record Breaker we meet Furman, a singularly driven character, and his merry band of compatriots (including Champ the dog) as he's about to attempt to climb Machu Picchu on stilts.Written by
I'm a big sucker for a well done quirkumentary – essentially a documentary film that focuses on a bit of an oddball topic, group or individual and builds the film around that as opposed to a moment in time or something of historical importance. When they work they look easy but it is a fine line to walk because you can't just mock your subjects but rather you have to have the viewer be drawn in by the quirk but ultimately be won over by the subjects. McGinn gets this and as a result he has made an enjoyable short quirkumentary which focuses on Ashrita Furman – a health store owner who also happens to hold over 400 Guinness World Records, which in itself is a Guinness World Record.
We start with a look at some of the silly things Furman has done and they are quirky and fun but while doing this we also get a sense of the man's joy for life and sense of fulfillment that he gets from doing these things. We all have our hobbies and our passions and if nobody else suffers for us to achieve them, then what is the harm – something this film shows well. Beyond this we get into the religious spark that started all this, the reaction of his parents as a young man when he dropped out of a promising education path and other aspects of his life that give us more understanding and appreciation of him as a person, not just the quirk that brought us to the film.
It has a rather generic tone perhaps, with the usual "quirky but affectionate" score used throughout, but Furman makes it work because he is happy and energetic and the film captures that well. In fairness it also shows you enough so that you can conclude that maybe Furman is not totally all there either, but only the harshest of viewers would conclude that. The film works because it brings us to Furman as a one- line quirk but when we leave the film on the other end it is with a real liking for the guy and a cheerful "do you" approach to someone that was just a silly quirk when we started.
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