Creating Rem Lezar

Loving bad movies ironically is a national pastime worthy of academic study. Why do we do it? Is it the same impulse that gets us to rubberneck when driving past a horrible car accident? Are we taking delight in someone’s artistic shortcomings, or are we celebrating the power of the human spirit- the fact that this work of “art” was accomplished, despite every hurdle- including a seemingly complete lack of creative talent?

There’s something about sincerity that draws us in. When a person bears their heart on their sleeve and really believes in something, it moves us. It’s the reason Ed Wood, king of B-Movies, remains a known auteur while many A-List Hollywood studio directors have faded. And while our conscious mind may choose to call this stuff kitch- and praise it with a veneer of irony- another part of our mind recognizes there’s real artistic value trapped within the cheese.

I don’t know where that leaves Creating Rem Lezar, a painfully cornball children’s musical about an imaginary superhero willed into flesh by two desperate kids rejected by the adult world- but its “badness” is truly unique in a way that sweeps your fascination right up. From the stiff student-film-quality dialogue to the non-stop musical numbers that reveal a bizarre sexual subtext (quite unintentional, we can be sure) Rem Lezar is the kid version of The Room. One can only imagine the shock at bumping into this film crew in action: watching a middle aged guy prance around Central Park in spandex tights while lip synching inspirational songs to a couple of bewildered kids. It must have been a sight impossible to put into words, especially if you were there for the mind-blowing doo-wop / 80’s-rapper musical number.

But it’s not just the musical staging- it’s the way writer / director Scott Zakarin employs 80’s music video effects, or the many shots of Rem Lezar gazing lovingly into the eyes of a child as he sings passionately to her that grabs you and never lets go. Innocent or creepy? Like a Rorschach Test, your reaction to this film will say more about you than it does about it. There have been many artistic masterpieces about a child and his imaginary friend- Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby, for example, or Sesame Street’s Mr. Snuffleupagus (aka Snuffy)- though both of those are actually the result of true artistic genius. Not so much with this film, though Zakarin’s sincerity is just as real. Creating Rem Lezar makes a great case for the idea that maybe sincerity is all you really need.

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