Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Zoom Lens 

Wednesday, Nov 19 1997
Comments
Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist
OK, so the guy nails his penis to a 2-by-4, and he's pale and scarred and has a cough that sounds like an effect from an Italian horror movie. But, if you skip Sick thinking it'll be an ordeal, an unpleasant look at a "pushy bottom" and his life of torture and illness -- a movie to see only on a dare with your legs tightly crossed -- then you'll be missing the funniest, sweetest movie of the year. Sick's subject is clearly enjoying the hell out of being the star of his own film; telling his jokes and singing his songs; taking his (literal) licks from his dominatrix partner, Sheree Rose; and (at least for a while) defying Death. It's a rollicking performance, hilarious, tender, and fierce, a messy life (and death) in all its glory. It's a tremendously moving portrait of a guy spitting his copious phlegm in the face of Fate and taking control of his body and his life; director Kirby Dick avoids and even mocks the "heroic survivor" cliches that can sink movies about the disabled. Destined to find itself on future double-bills with Terry Zwigoff's Crumb as a bio of a geeky outsider who made good as an artist, Sick turns the intimacy and inspirational intent of most suffering-with-dignity documentaries inside out with a humor so dark you'll flinch, yet it still manages to be both intimate and, yes, inspirational.

-- Tod Booth

Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist is playing at the Lumiere, and then moves to the Opera Plaza in San Francisco.

About The Author

Tod Booth

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"