I am not normally one to sit around watching documentaries. But this weekend I was bored with nothing else to do, so I popped in a video cassette someone over at Beatnik Home Entertainment had sent me in the hopes that I'd give them a review. They're in luck.
Six Days in Roswell is a documentary that follows the exploits of a thirty-something-year-old loser, Richard Kronfeld, who journeys to Roswell, New Mexico on the 50th anniversary of the supposed UFO landing there. In short, this is a film about a socially inept dork going to visit a town flooded with socially inept dorks doing the dorkiest, most socially inept things imaginable.
Despite the fact that I rarely enjoy documentaries, I found myself liking Six Days in Roswell. Frankly, it's a huge ego boost to watch people like this, because no matter how freakish or odd or pathetic you may think you are, these people are worse. Much worse. Richie, the star of the film, still lives with his mother. He spends all of his time putting together electronic parts... but not even in that semi-cool computer geek kind of way. Instead, he puts together circa-1980 cast-off garbage and thinks it's cool. The most advanced piece of machinery in his junk pile of a bedroom is an Apple IIe, a machine in which he takes great pride.
Those little glimpses into Richie's home life are what make the film so immensely entertaining, much like the Star Trek documentary Trekkies. Oh sure, all the stuff about Roswell and how insanely obsessed these people are with aliens that may or may not exist is fun too, but the looks into Richie's mom's house and his life there is where you'll find something special. For me, the highlight of the entire film is an interview with Richie, in which the interviewer asks if he has any girls in his life. Appearing somewhat put out, Richie looks up from the junk he is soldering together to respond, "You promised me you weren't going to ask me about girls." At this point, I promptly assumed the fetal position on my rug and laughed until it hurt. Normally you'd feel sorry for a guy like Richie, but Roswell doesn't waste time looking for sympathy, opting instead to make the damn thing uncomfortably hilarious.
Sadly, about 3/4 of the way through the film, director Timothy B. Johnson begins to focus more on what is happening in Roswell than to Richie, and gives us fewer flashbacks to Richie's home. If you shut the thing off about then, you'll end the experience with a smile on your face.
To be honest, there is probably a deeper level to this movie than just watching Richie and his sad life, but the point is, you don't have to dig deeper to enjoy Six Days in Roswell. Richie is who he is and Roswell isn't asking you to wish that he becomes something else. Take it on face value.
If you want to feel better about yourself, if you get a kick out of watching people do stupid things, if you think rednecks are funny, I recommend you pick up a copy of Six Days in Roswell. Either that, or tune in to that Jerry Springer show.
Richie wuz here.