Unprecedented, Underwhelming

Tommy T’s hazmat suit had to be dry cleaned so I’m working the morning shift for him. He should be back next week when the martinizing is finished. I wonder if the suit is now purple like the bird species; you know, purple martins. That joke was for the birds but I’m writing this first thing in the morning so gimme a break. At least I didn’t make a Dean Martin reference.

There’s been a lot of buzz about Alex Holder’s 3-part Trumpumentary, Unprecedented. He complied with a subpoena from the Dipshit Insurrection committee. I hope his testimony is better than Unprecedented, which is underwhelming.

The project started off as a film about the Trump children and their relationship with their father. There’s much talk of dynasties, favorite kids, and messy divorces. In the first episode, the film crew follows Ivanka, Junior, and Eric the bland blond one on the campaign trail. They sit for interviews and lie incessantly about the closeness of their family and how hard-working dim old dad is. It makes for some decent unintentional comedy but that’s all. It’s neither revealing nor interesting. Yawn.

Things get a bit more interesting in the second episode because the Trumps lie about other things. One reason Unprecedented is underwhelming is the absence of any point of view from the filmmakers. It’s neither a Trump puff piece nor a put down of all things Trumpy.

There *are* some good talking heads: McKay Coppins, Anne Applebaum, Phil Rucker, Eddie Glaude, and Gwenda Blair. Timesman Peter Baker is there to provide the conventional wisdom and come down on both sides of every issue. It’s what he does.

The post 2020 election stuff is okay but it’s mostly film clips the Discovery Network paid for as well as some first person lying by the Impeached Insult Comedian. The third episode focuses on January 6th and has some good footage of the crowd as it rallies then rambles to the Capital where they rampage. Director Holder thinks that was bad but presents neither new insight nor evidence of what happens but at least the tone is right.

Another problem is that the descriptions of Dipshit Insurrection day are dated. I’ve seen Eddie Glaude on MSNBC. He no longer thinks the riot was kindling set ablaze by the Kaiser of Chaos. I used to believe that too, but we now know it was the final act in a four-stage coup plot.

I suspect that the January 6 committee is more interested in what was cut from Unprecedented as well as Holder’s reactions to being a fly-on-the-wall in Trumpworld on that momentously awful day than this mediocre documentary.

The tone lightens when Holder goes to Florida to interview former President* Pennywise at Mar-a-Doorn. The stage is set with beach scenes to the tune of My Boyfriend’s Back. Hey-la, day-la.

Really? The man tried to steal an election and the needle drop is The Angels? Oy, just oy.

I was, however, pleased to see how horrible Trump looked as he lied to Holder in their final interview. Perhaps he confused Alex with Eric Holder who hopes to see the Impeached Insult Comedian prosecuted by his former department.

Unprecedented is best described as an access documentary. It’s the filmic equivalent of Maggie Haberman’s reporting. It promises a lot but delivers only gossip. There are many precedents for that.

I suppose I should grade this well-made but underwhelming Trumpumentary. I give Unprecedented 2 stars and an Adrastos grade of C.

Since Unprecedented started out as a family documentary, the last word goes to Sly & the Family Stone with the original version of a song that was lagniappe in the Steve Winwood Dozen:



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