Sunday, 26 April 2015


A Different Drummer: Celebrating Eccentrics (2014)
Dir. John Zaritzky

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Marching to the beat of one's own drum is not without merit and the title alone was enough to pique my curiosity, but then, my heart sank. During the first few minutes of A Different Drummer: Celebrating Eccentrics, I felt primed to hate it. Why wouldn't I? I detest both whimsy and standard TV-style docs - both of which seem overbearingly present within the picture's opening.

We get the digestible bite-sized thesis in which we learn how a ten-year study revealed that eccentrics are healthier, happier and indeed, manage to live longer than everybody else. We then get the de rigueur snippets of introductory interviews from what will be our wild, wooly and wacky subjects - a lot of which are all set to a frightfully jaunty musical score.

Ugh was dancing across my cerebellum and I almost flushed the sucker down the toilet bowl of unmentionables in order to slap on a different doc, but then, as if by magic, genuinely delightful movie magic began to snuggle up to me and the next ninety-or-so minutes yielded one of the happiest, funniest and moving little pictures I'd seen in awhile.

Zaritzky clearly loves his subjects, but not to the film's detriment. He settles in on each glorious nutcase (a man who lives in caves, a zany inventor, a duck lady, a "joke" politician, a man who celebrates a "useless" American president and one real lollapalooza I won't spoil for you here) with sensitivity and good humour. He's never laughing at them and neither will you. Some you'll laugh with and others you might even need to shed a few droplets of ocular moisture.

At the end of the day, it has been said that I'm eccentric. As such, I luxuriated in Zaritzky's sweet, lovely ode to madness of the most glorious kind and I'd be delighted to host any one of these people in my own home.

The thesis is proven, the whimsy in the opening a minor aberration and one of the more delightful feel-good documentaries made in recent years won me over completely.

Oh, and the best news: I look forward to a long, healthy and happy life.

The Film Corner Rating: ***½ Three-and-a-half Stars

A Different Drummer is making its Toronto Premiere at the 2015 edition of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. Visit the Hot Docs website for dates, showtimes and tickets by clicking HERE.