Before the body-threatening antics of Jackass came crashing into public consciousness, there was Ontario's Ralph Zavadil, aka Cap'n Video, who cascaded off roofs into snowbanks, jumped off ladders into half-empty swimming pools, and drank eggs through his nostrils. Beauty Day is a rambunctious documentary about this irrepressible pioneer of local-access cable shenanigans who entertained and outraged viewers in the small city of St. Catharines-until a special Easter Show, featuring a fat rabbit and adorable puppies (none of which were hurt), got him kicked off the air for good. With a nod to Werner Herzog, Cheel follows the life and times of Cap'n Video and finds that the Cap'n is still quite a firecracker. Written by Laurence Kardish
I'm a regular listener to the Film Junk Podcast, of which Jay Cheel is a founding contributor. I ordered my copy of Beauty Day a month or two ago and finally got around to watching it this weekend. Given the long wait (the film premiered over a year ago), the availability of Cap'n Video shenanigans on the internet and my familiarity with the director I had a difficult time managing my expectations. Not to mention that I grew up with my own cable access lunatics (some are still going strong, something about war and info I think?) Luckily, all that didn't seem to matter, I love Beauty Day. Cheel does a great job of giving Ralph Zavadil aka Cap'n Video…
Fun, funny, fast, and beautifully shot. This is a documentary that I think will greatly reward rewatches because it makes you want to spend more time Ralph.
I'm a huge fan of Film Junk, and an even bigger fan of Jay Cheel. I was so excited to watch Beauty Day and see what Jay could do as a filmmaker.
I have to say I was really blown away. Cheel creates some beautiful and tender human moments. The film is incredible well paced, choosing to reveal particular story points and withhold others until later. Finally, the editing is excellently executed.
Beauty Day tells the story of Cap'n Video (the mid-90s precursor to the Jackass boys) and where his life is out now. It's a great little tale of purpose, nostalgia, art, humour and passion.
While the subject matter is perhaps a little stretched to cover the full 90-minutes, Cheel none the less makes the material gripping. I cannot wait to see what this up and coming filmmaker has to offer next!
What a beaut'...
After listening to Jay Cheel discuss various films on Film Junk for the past few years, it was a truly unique experience to see the film made by the film critic. Yes, I watched this because I enjoy his podcast, but it didn't take long for me to forget about Cheel completely. This is a wonderfully crafted documentary about an extremely entertaining Ralph Zavadil. Behind the Cap'n Video persona is a very interesting man with an amazing spirit and some faults as well. The cinematography, the editing, the music... Everything flowed wonderfully. The thing I appreciated the most was how honest the whole thing felt. Nice work, Jay.
Even better with multiple viewings!
Have you ever wondered what goes through the mind of a guy that records himself performing stupid stunts, one of which almost gets him killed and is seen around the world? Meet Ralph Zavadil, one zany Canuck.
Years before Jackass exploded onto the scene, Zavadil was risking his health and safety performing dangerous stunts and gross-out antics. He would do this from 1990-95 as Cap'n Video for a local cable-access TV show in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada. His show got cancelled when he got too controversial.
Fast-forward to today and we find out what the Cap'n has been up to, thanks to director Jay Cheel. Before you think that this is just about…
Being from California, I had no idea who Cap'n Video was going into this documentary but that didn't hinder my enjoyment of it. Incredibly well put together with a very entertaining, likable and at times inspirational main subject in Ralph.
As a frequent listener to the Film Junk Podcast, it's very nice to finally catch up with cast-member Jay Cheel's feature film debut and it's even nicer to see how much of a success it was. Eager to see what else Jay does in the future.
Even though Cap'n Video is entertaining it's maybe a bit too long. Besides that the visuals and sound are great and it's a fun to watch.
Quality documentary about a bloke with an outlook life that we could all learn from.
"That needs a stitch, you need a stitch on that!"
-You can glue it, crazy glue.
"You got crazy glue"
-Yah I got crazy glue.
It's important to get off the couch,"fart into the wind and smell it." Living life outside the safe glass bubble.
Very well done Jay!
JACKASS BEGINS : Lighthearted portrayal of Canadian oddball and daredevil Ralph Zavadil that became known through Canadian public access television. Zavadil is like a combination of both Beavis and Butthead rolled into one. He is passionate but his exuberant enthusiasm turns very exhausting after a while if you ask me. Luckily his character/Cap'n Video persona doesn't shine through in the interview of him interspersing various clips showing his insane stunts. Having never seen "Jackass", I can't say that I'm particularly interested now in seeing their show or their movies though, and I can probably forget seeing Zavadil's video series any time soon. I can imagine them being pretty hard to get. This is not my cup of tea but "Beauty…
Solid documentary about Captain Video. On cable access in the eighties and early nineties in the Niagara region of Canada, this metalhead put on a Jackass-like show years before there was Jackass.
Now we get to meet him again as he starts recording a cable special. We get insights into his life and a raft of old clips and new material. As a view into one of the progenitors of modern television, this is very interesting. The film is also very well put together and contains some unexpected emotional turns along with the laughs.
PS: I wish he would have reattempted the pool jump in 2011.
I'm a big fan of "Film Junk" podcast and always find one of the presenters, Jay Cheel's insights in movies and film-making pretty tasteful and hilarious.
However his first feature film documentary was neither hilarious nor tasteful for me.
The sole issue lies in the character in the spotlight, Ralph Zavadil, Canadian version of MTV's "Jackass" was pretty unknown to audience elsewhere and I was never a fan of such prank shows.
The emotional stake of the film was redeeming and has a touch of "The Wrestler" in the middle but rightfully it was not supposed to be the main part of the story which was about the reinvention of Zavadil's craft.
The technicality of the film was composed but it was just hard to be fully engaged in it when you could not associate with the main character.
Before the body-threatening antics of Jackass came crashing into public consciousness, there was Ontario's Ralph Zavadil, aka Cap'n Video, who cascaded off roofs into snowbanks, jumped off ladders into half-empty swimming pools, and drank eggs through his nostrils. - IMDB
To be honest, I probably wouldn't have watched this had I not been a fan of the Film Junk Podcast. I probably wouldn't be watching as many documentaries as I have been in previous months.
That being said, there was a couple of things that made this movie good. First of all, the subject of Ralph Zavadil is an interesting one. He's had quite the life, in front of the camera and away from it.
Director Jay Cheel has created some truly beautiful shots throughout the whole duration of the film. This feat is also evident in all his shorts that are floating around the internet. I'm looking forward to his next venture. True talent.
Seek out and see Jay Cheel’s joyously bugnuts “Beauty Day” and thank yourself. It’s a documentary concerning the rise and (many) falls of a Canadian Public Access host who was “Jackass” before “Jackass”. On a deeper level, though, it’s about the need to create and express and be a part of the world through that expression. You’ll laugh! You’ll cry! You’ll cringe! AND you’ll be better for it. This is why I love movies.
Saw this at Everything is Festival at Cinefamily last night. Beautifully shot and framed by documentary standards--just a really, really nice looking movie. The subject is fascinating, although he remains as much an enigma by the end of it as I'd say he is at the beginning. Watching this feels a bit like what I imagine spending an afternoon with him out in his yard, beer in hand, must be like. It's fun and definitely worth a watch.