“The story of how a Punk Rock musician became a legend…the hard way.” Okay, but wait – is there any other way that they’ve done it, historically speaking? I gotta say, I’m digging this show-turned-film and the memories it’s conjuring up from my childhood. A struggling musician raised me, and I grew up on the classic joke (but scathingly true reality) of Q: What’s the difference between a musician and a pizza? A: A pizza can feed a family of four. So to see a couple of down-on-their-luck musicians come out of a show having played to a decent-sized crowd, get ‘paid’ by the promoter, and realize it was only a paltry fifteen bucks each, just to have that same promoter realize she didn’t take her cut and then pull some of the cash back from them…boy, I tell you, this scene just warms the heart. “The Fez Belcher Show” might become my new Christmas movie.
While it seems exaggerated for our entertainment, lemme tell ya firsthand that any musician out there on this planet - knows that what they see in this film is closer to the truth than you’d think or want to believe. Some of the funniest and wildest scenes are the quickest, but almost the most relevant and/or real as well. A musician with heavy gear sarcastically talking about how he can’t wait to do it all again tomorrow. A former audience member who has lived about a thousand years of life since the last time he saw the band play, yet our hero Fez still seems to be living the exact same day. Or how about the shady promoter that wants to do Belcher’s huge hit record ‘Blizzards Of Pain’ all over again, with no changes whatsoever, thirty years later, just to make some money? Or the spot where you see a dirty-ass toilet and a whole bunch of peein’ in it before the camera pulls back to show someone lying in the bathtub? “The Fez Belcher Show” moves quickly and never seems to dwell too long on some of its greatest moments and jokes before moving on to the next one. It ain’t all that long before you realize the biggest gag in this story revolves around how little money there is to go around in a musician’s world - and how the moment they get some is followed by the moment it’s gone.
Fez is entirely watchable and great in the lead role. Characters like Richie are downright amazing. The concept of doing ‘Blizzards Of Pain Part II’ was genius. Even bit characters like the rain-soaked lady in the hall, aka Richie’s wife, or the musician that was trying out for the new record that shouted out PART II after EVERY line in Fez’s songs, The Exterminator, Pablo – the tenant that is part ventriloquist & part detective, Grant the hapless executive, and many others you’ll meet along the way – they’re all brilliantly unique characters and pieces of Belcher’s story. We’re talkin’ about low-budget production overall when it comes to the filming and what’s being used for settings, props, cameras and all that…and somewhere out there, someone’s yelling about how that’s PUNK ROCK and a great match for this whole concept; I can hear it – I get it. If we were only talking about myself personally, you’d never find me complaining – I’d watch “The Fez Belcher Show” all damn day with no hesitation.
Alas, I’m not everyone – ultimately, I know that the low-end production of this story will potentially cost it a few viewers, and there’s no doubt that even a gritty show about a Punk dude would benefit from having a bit more money behind it - to use on how this all looks and sounds. With the quick introduction and exit of characters and scenes goin’ on, “The Fez Belcher Story” plays a bit like it’s sketch comedy of sorts, but in my opinion, that was part of what made this engaging to watch. By the time you absorb something wild that just happened, you’re already onto the next part of this bizarre story and likely laughing at something else. So…sure…a couple more dollars behind this movie/show could have gone a long way, but so too is that the case when it comes to the tale of its main character. Fez could use a couple more bucks all the time, too – so shouldn’t this movie look the same?
The ongoing saga of Richie is definitely one of the strongest parts of this movie, but if I’m being entirely honest with ya, there is a cornucopia of things to love about “The Fez Belcher Show” and continuous reasons to dig right in. Fez (played perfectly by Gregory Adair) is fully reliable to be entirely unreliable all the way through, but it’s equally about these zany characters that zip in & out of his world for five minutes. Like Oliver, for instance – his former manager’s boyfriend – you’ll um…you’ll uh…you’ll know who I’m talkin’ about when you eventually run into him as you watch “The Fez Belcher Show.” Anyhow. From the love of Richie’s life, Sarah, to Fez’s mom, to his manager, Janie, to the role that the city and scene play in what we see – I’m tellin’ ya, this is really nothing but interesting. Even Fez’s eventual haircut deserves a mention for the ocular amazement it provides.
Do I expect that everyone out there is going to ‘get’ “The Fez Belcher Show?” Not really, no. That being said, I think that those who do are gonna be as addicted to it as I am. Think of Fez Belcher as a kind of burnt-out Punk Rock Larry David of sorts – to be real with ya, a show like this could quite easily go on to have the same kind of cult following as “Curb Your Enthusiasm” attained - and lead it to a larger audience over time. No show in its infancy has everything going for it all at once, but with time and a few more bucks behind it, I feel like “The Fez Belcher Show” could really go on to be even more special than it already is. Lindley Farley, the Writer/Director behind this movie, is a remarkable talent. Right now, it’s his writing & ideas that stand out a bit more than the results of what we see to a degree, at least in terms of how it would potentially stack up in comparison to other shows out there production-wise – but make no mistake, Farley has a gift for direction too that’ll be revealed even more as the budget for his projects increase. Which will happen for sure – industry folks would be extremely wise to invest in this guy while they can.
But does it drag a bit along the way into its final quarter as Fez goes missing? Sure. Things do lose their way a bit as they head towards the finish line in terms of pace and the strength of their ideas. Like I was tellin’ ya at the start, no show or idea like this has everything altogether right off the drop, but given time, “The Fez Belcher Show” could really become a significant cultural cornerstone and a genuine testament to the toils of the underground music scene. I’ll say this – you’re never too far away from your next laugh – Lindley knows how to keep it moving, and as a result, we’re continually entertained by the next wacky detail added into “The Fez Belcher Show.”
I really enjoyed the time I spent watching this, and I feel like this whole story deserves a whole lot more screen time…a sequel…a new show…an updated version – I’d really take anything more in the canon of Fez Belcher personally. Right now, as it stands, I’m gonna give this four stars out of five with the caveat that it probably helps a whole lot to have some frame of reference as to what a musician outside of the mainstream goes through. But regardless of whether or not you have that, I’m still fully confident you’ll find something about “The Fez Belcher Show” to keep you entertained. There’s uniqueness in what Lindley has created here, and in my world, that counts for something. He’s willing to do things differently, and that has led him to some solid results.