Title: Bad Attitude
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Susan Stern
Runtime: 1 hr 11 mins
What It Is: This documentary explores the controversial art and life of the legendary underground cartoonist through the lens of his wife, Emmy-nominated filmmaker Susan Stern.
What We Think: There is a pretty interesting and somewhat crazy story within this documentary. I for one never have been a huge fan of the broader world of comics outside of the whole DC/Marvel and Archie ones, but this side of the artistic medium really caught my eye in this one.
It tells the story of the life of an underground cartoonist, Spain Rodriguez, which spans across some very interesting time periods, most notably World War II and the underground scene of New York and San Francisco in the 1960s. This documentary not only speaks to the art that Rodriguez made (which is quite stunning and unique by the way) but the rebellious spirit within him as an activist, which was quite engaging.
The editing is spot on and presentation-wise, this is a very well-put-together documentary. Besides offering insight into the underground comic scene during the WWII era and the ’60s, the documentary gets quite personal at certain points, and it starts feeling almost like a home movie, which made the moments between Spain and his daughter Nora very emotional. That’s not to say that there’s an absence of funny moments either, as there are some great moments with Spain throughout. That coupled with all of the interviews with Spain’s friends, family, admirers, and fellow artists make the telling of Spain’s story all the more fluid.
Our Grade: B+, Spain Rodriguez is a super cool doc! Definitely check this one out if you’re into art history and all that jazz, with a more personal touch this time around.