Make Believe on Showtime

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.
Matt R
Posts: 510
Joined: April 25th, 2008, 1:52 pm

Make Believe on Showtime

Postby Matt R » April 15th, 2011, 10:39 am

I taped this last night but haven't had a chance to watch it yet. If you get showtime, may be worth checking out: ... eid=137608

User avatar
Posts: 56
Joined: February 19th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Algonquin IL

Re: Make Believe on Showtime

Postby skeptic555 » April 15th, 2011, 3:16 pm

Watched the other night, and have been struggling with my reaction. I really wanted to like this, but I just..... really didn't.

It was well made, and people like McBride and Lance came off really well. It's obvious what makes them pros (but once you start watching Jeff's "jazz hands," you cant STOP seeing them. MAN are they distracting. Love ya, Jeff!).

However, some of the mentors (and parents) came off a little too "toddlers and tiaras" for me. I guess if they were presented accurately and fairly then as a documentary it's a success, but seeing it made me a little sad. And the lady talking to Lambert about boobs and Britney was creepy as hell.

The joy and the playfulness that *should* have been in the kids wasn't there. Or, at least it wasn't shown (with the possible exception of the African kids.) It all seemed very "spelling bee OCD" to me. That reads more harshly than I intend, but not by much.

I get that the hook of the movie was around preparing for a competition and the pressure that brings, but where was the joy?

It seemed as if the kids were trying to say what they THOUGHT they should say, rather than what they really thought, or felt. They were trying to be adults - or parrot what they thought their parents or mentors would expect them - or prepped them - to say. And it came off really stilted and weird.

I thought Kyle Eschen (one of the 3 kids providing commentary in the hallway) was the most perceptive and thoughtful of anyone under 40 in the film. And he was not one of the "leads"!

I don't know exactly what I was expecting with the movie. But I did have this rather weird reaction to it. If you have showtime, I imagine they are playing it a couple of time - try to catch it if you can. I'd be interested in reading your reactions.

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6802
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California

Re: Make Believe on Showtime

Postby Dustin Stinett » April 16th, 2011, 12:10 am

I also had some mixed feelings about the film. When it was over, I said to myself, Man; that was a long film. Then I looked at the clock: It was 90 minutes. Thats not a good sign for any kind of film.

skeptic555 wrote: And the lady talking to Lambert about boobs and Britney was creepy as hell.

That lady is Diana Zimmerman. 20-plus years ago she had a good act but had to put up with the big-boobed-blonde thing. She embraced it and was passing that on to Krystyn Lambert. Without that contextand the lack of that context is the fault of the filmmaker (a 30-second or less bio of her would have done it)it does come off a bit weird to the viewer who doesnt know of her past.

My favorite moment of the movie was when Krystyn Lambert was watching Hiroki Hara from the wings of the theater. That was a very nice shot and moment. (I believe the timeline of the movie made it appear that this took place during the competition, but that was actually at the Magic Castle.)

Most documentaries of this kind suffer from the Observer Effect (or Schrodingers Cat): The act of observing something changes it.

Put yourself in the place of those on camera when going about your day and consider what you might do differently.


Ted M
Posts: 918
Joined: January 24th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dani DaOrtiz
Location: Madison, WI

Re: Make Believe on Showtime

Postby Ted M » October 19th, 2012, 12:46 am

My wife found "Make Believe" on Netflix last night, so we watched.

We found it a compelling, well constructed documentary. It's not an idealized hero story; the kids are definitely presented warts, loneliness and all.

Here's the trailer for others who weren't aware of this film about 6 teens training for the World Magic Seminar teen competition:


Return to “Buzz”