Roadrunner (2021)
August 5, 2021 9:11 PM - Subscribe

A documentary about Anthony Bourdain and his career as a chef, writer and host, revered and renowned for his authentic approach to food, culture and travel. (Trailer)

Available in theaters, digital rental, and HBOMax.

"Bourdain was a true inspiration, and the sting of his passing still lingers. With Roadrunner, Neville is able to give the icon a send-off that’s tear-inducing and loving, a gift to those who will always be inspired by him." -- Jenny Nulf, Austin Chronicle

"I don't think it works particularly as well as a deep exploration of some of the weightier topics it touches on -- like mental illness or addiction -- but it's a really cathartic tribute for all of his fans who still miss him dearly." -- Angie Han, KPCC

Director Morgan Neville generated controversy for using artificial intelligence to emulate Bourdain's voice speaking words he wrote but never recorded, such as a letter written to David Choe.
posted by riruro (6 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I haven't seen this yet and have a question for those who have.

Neville has gotten flak for the AI, but that doesn't bother me - from what I understand, he used it as audio for some words that Tony wrote, so it's still something he "said". What does bother me a little is that I've heard that Asia Argento kind of isn't treated all that well in the film, and that's had me a little uneasy about seeing this.

For those who've seen this - she's not, like, trashed or anything, is she?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:00 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


I just finished watching this! It was good. They really didn't make much attempt to introduce Anthony Bourdain like a biopic would; if you're not already something of a fan you might not find it engaging. If there's a theme or through-line to the movie, it's Bourdain's importance in the lives of his friends, those who loved him and who worked with him. What kind of man was he? How did he change -- and how didn't he? There's a ton of funny and revealing outtakes from behind the scenes of his shows.

And to answer EC's questions: the voice-synthesizer bits are so minor as to be invisible except in one instance, and Asia Argento isn't blamed for her & Bourdain's problems -- everyone in the movie (his friends who loved him, remember) lay the fault firmly at the feet of Tony's addiction-prone and overbearing personality.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 4:10 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


It was an enlightening take on Anthony Bourdain's life, which is saying something, because so much of his life is really just already out there in his work. I wasn't aware of his relationship with Asia Argento, though I think I'd seen the episodes of Parts Unknown she participated in. That had just whooshed over my head. She didn't participate in this film and that's probably for the best. The folks who do talk about their relationship do so respectfully for the most part and the blame for Tony's suicide is always placed squarely on him.

The last half hour of this film is hard to watch, particularly if you've ever had any kind of suicidal ideation. I think it's sensitively portrayed. I like the focus on the different ways his friends and colleagues are processing and contextualizing his death. I really liked David Choe's defacement of the Bourdain mural at the end.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:53 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


So this is for rent on Amazon Prime for $20. I love Bourdain but that’s steep for me — I would buy it for that but rent it? Gotta think.

Question for anyone who has rented it — does it have closed captioning in English?

Because if I can’t hear it, it’s no use to me. Thanks.
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 1:02 AM on August 8


Just saw it, and I found myself thinking at one point that "dang, I think getting a television show may have been the worst thing that happened to him."

We would all have missed out on something, and I think he might not have travelled as extensively. But - he might have been kept clear of getting pushed down a path that lead where it did.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:44 PM on August 19


Just a postscript that Prime in the US does now offer closed captioning in English (and I think only in English).

The film gave me a greater sense of the chaos in his life, much of which he created. I know creative people are given a lot of leeway, but his crew... well, I hope they were well compensated over the years. I actually find him a lot less amusing/charismatic after watching this rather raw cut film, and I am sad about that. It appears he had very sympathetic editors on his various series. Or less sympathetic on this one?

What a lot of trauma and loss his suicide brought to his friends. Something to think about.
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 12:53 PM on September 23


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