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9/10
Great movie--about more than typewriters
18 September 2017
This is a fully engrossing movie that uses a portrait of a small business in Berkeley, CA to examine the unique mind set of collectors, the history of the typewriter and its impact on the culture as well as being a meditation on the cost of technological progress. We meet a wide range of people who collect typewriters, including Tom Hanks. He is very charming and is very clearly passionate about these machines. It's fun to listen to him explain what he likes about his typewriters and he has a compelling philosophical outlook. The other collectors are equally interesting and diverse, though, as noted in the film, mostly men. California Typewriter focuses on a very particular segment of society, but manages to say a lot about American culture in general.

I think it's inexcusable for a documentary that features a lot of talking head interviews not to identify the speakers on camera. We all know who Tom Hanks is, and maybe John Mayer. But the other notable people interviewed are not household names or faces, even Sam Shepard, RIP. The names are listed "In order of appearance" in the end credits. Are we supposed to memorize who appeared in what order? If it weren't for this creative choice, I would have given 10 stars.
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