Anthony Bourdain Documentary ‘Roadrunner’ Seeks to Understand His Death, Career and Struggles


The New York Times 16 July, 2021 - 04:00am 19 views

Where can i stream Roadrunner?

Following the festival debut, ROADRUNNER will be released in theaters on July 16. After its theater run, fans will have the chance to stream it in full on HBO Max and CNN. Delish.comThe Documentary About Anthony Bourdain's Life Will Hit Theaters Tomorrow

When does Anthony Bourdain documentary come out?

The new Anthony Bourdain documentary 'Roadrunner' leans partly on deepfaked audio. Igor Bonifacic is a contributing writer at Engadget. On July 16th, Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain will open in US theatres. TechCrunchThe new Anthony Bourdain documentary ‘Roadrunner’ leans partly on deepfaked audio

Morgan Neville’s sharp and vividly compelling documentary tries to pin down a brilliant, troubled man.

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There’s scarcely a dry eye in the frame at the conclusion of Morgan Neville’s vivid, jam-packed documentary, “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain,” but this isn’t a hagiography. Bourdain, who died almost exactly three years ago at the age of 61, was many things — chef, sensualist, addict, world traveler — any one of which could have served as the movie’s lodestar. Yet it was as a writer that he found renown, and it is around his words that “Roadrunner” constructs its ominous, uneasy shape.

Those words, punchy and aromatic, spill from Bourdain’s books, his television shows and multiple public appearances as Neville wrangles a personality, and archive footage, that’s almost too much for one film to corral. Having attained in midlife a fame he distrusted and a title — celebrity chef — he despised, Bourdain wavered between euphoric family man and fretful workaholic. Though free of heroin and cocaine since the late 1980s, he was also without the punishing restaurant routines he had relied on to stave off his demons.

With immense perceptiveness, Neville shows us both the empath and the narcissist: The man who refused to turn the suffering he saw in war zones into a bland televisual package, and the one who would betray longtime colleagues to please a new lover.

“You know, something was missing in me, some part of me wanted to be a dope fiend,” he confesses in one clip. That dark awareness looms over interviews crammed with frisky anecdotes and fond remembrances, helping explain a death that seemed to many inexplicable. The once miserable, angry child had grown into a brilliant man who suspected his talent and his pain were inextricably linked. “Roadrunner” recognizes that he was probably right.

Read full article at The New York Times

Bourdain Doc 'Roadrunner' Shows Us A Man Chasing An Illusion

UPROXX 16 July, 2021 - 07:01am

The conversation evolves, with Bourdain telling Argento how he’s always wanted to live in a movie. “Why would you want to live in a movie?” asks Argento, who comes from a family of filmmakers. “I dunno,” Bourdain says. “Because movies are better than real life, I guess?”

“But movies are an illusion,” says Argento.

My first impression of Anthony Bourdain was that I didn’t like him. In the beginning, I knew him only through promos for one of his early TV shows. Here was this gangly beanpole in cowboy boots, talking to us via performatively jaded voice-of-God narration, who seemed to be the ultimate personification of New York-Invented-Punk. If you grew up anywhere else, you’re sort of hardwired to hate this kind of person — who treats New York as the center of culture in between drags on a cigarette and brags about not being able to drive. Which is to say, Bourdain initially struck me as A Type Of Guy.

Yet somewhere during the course of his career — partly through actually reading his books, partly through his shows evolving into something a little less performatively anti-cuddly (Bourdain in the beginning existed largely as the Anti-Food Network guy) — I started to get the sense that Anthony Bourdain and I were simpático in some meaningful way. It was a feeling I rarely, if ever, voiced out loud because I knew how corny that sounded. Bourdain was a guy who seemed to make everyone feel that way. He was an all-purpose aspirational avatar for the common man. This was foundational to his entire appeal. Sure, to the world I might look like some dork filing TPS reports in a cubicle, but in my heart I’m a world traveler, sampling shots of cobra venom at a Thai bar and indulging lengthy but meaningful meditations on everything from egg salad to Henry Kissinger.

There’s nothing sadder than thinking of yourself as the guy from TV. And yet, there were objectively some specific parallels between Bourdain and I, weren’t there? Movie obsession, punk rock, literary non-fiction, even jiu-jitsu in his later years — this guy liked all the things I like! What if he wasn’t just A Type Of Guy, but the same Type Of Guy I was?

Even for Morgan Neville, Roadrunner’s Oscar-winning director, this notion of Bourdain-as-fellow-traveler was central to his decision to take on the project. “I’d made films about Iggy Pop, Keith Richards, Orson Welles, Johnny Cash,” Neville told me. “These were Tony’s heroes. Not that taste equals understanding, but at least I felt like I was starting at a place where I had some baseline understanding of the type of guy he was.”

Neville went so far as to make a playlist of every song Bourdain had ever mentioned in a show, piece of writing, interview, or podcast. It ended up being 18 and a half hours long. Because Bourdain was such a “culture vulture,” with interests so diffuse and far-ranging, it raises an interesting question: was there actually anything to that feeling of shared purpose? Or was it the horoscope effect? Did we truly share some central humanity with Anthony Bourdain, or was it simply a kind of inevitable overlap, a triangulation between us, as cultural consumers, and Bourdain, as the ultimate cultural consumer? Did Bourdain merely become one of those illusions he loved so much?

It was a question that kept gnawing at me throughout my viewing of Roadrunner, even as the film made me laugh and cry, doing all those things movies are supposed to do, and all but cementing my notions of Anthony Bourdain as a fellow traveler. The “Roadrunner” title is a bit of a twofer: it’s the name both of a Modern Lovers song that Bourdain loved, and a description of Bourdain himself, as applied by his friend, the artist David Choe. Who points out in the film, “Tony was the only guy I know who got off heroin cold turkey.”

Thus, as Roadrunner tells it, Bourdain spent his life trying to “outrun his addiction,” transposing it to other obsessions — writing, cooking, traveling, jiu-jitsu, being a father, being a boyfriend. One of the best things Roadrunner does is to offer a pathology to explain why Bourdain was such a cultural sponge. That double entendre title is a clue to Neville’s purpose in Roadrunner, which is, essentially, an attempt at finding the essence of Anthony Bourdain the person amidst all the illusions. Obviously, he was more than just our avatar, some booksmart Jimmy Buffet for overeducated cynics.

Getting to that requires exploring Bourdain’s flaws, the things he would’ve been reticent to put on his own show. This, obviously, is a difficult prospect. Roadrunner has footage of Bourdain appearing to bear his soul, notably at a 12-step meeting in Massachusetts, and again with a psychotherapist in Brazil. Both were originally filmed for Bourdain’s own show, not as genuine introspection but simply attempts to “do as the locals do,” in which Bourdain the host would try, as he often did, to get people to open up by leading by example. He never went to a real 12-step meeting or recovery program in his own life. The clips were never meant to be broadcast, but for Roadrunner they’re perfect. Are these clips Tony offering genuine introspection or merely creating the illusion of it? I suppose it’s a bit like asking about trees falling in the forest.

Bourdain’s final chapter and eventual suicide is the elephant in the room throughout Roadrunner, a shocking end waiting to be acknowledged, explored, explained. Of course, it’s virtually impossible to explain a suicide (and I’ve had some frank conversations with acquaintances who have attempted it), but knowing that doesn’t stop us from tilting at the windmill of ultimate understanding. Survivors can only project, and then argue over whose projection is most correct. We try to retell the same story again and again, hoping that this time it will finally… make sense? Could it ever? I suspect what we really want is a different ending.

Some Bourdain friends, like Eric Ripert, refuse to discuss Bourdain’s final days at all. Others talk about Bourdain’s relationship with Asia Argento. “This is going to end badly,” and “this woman will be the death of me,” Bourdain told friends. Ah, clues! But how many times had Bourdain spoken this way other times, about other things in his life, and not ended up hanging himself? Probably a lot.

Roadrunner covers how, partly through Argento, who dramatically recounted her rape by Harvey Weinstein onstage at Cannes, Bourdain became obsessed with the #MeToo movement. He welcomed his role in it, going so far as to cut certain long-time friends out of his life after he’d deemed them antithetical to the cause.

Neville is traversing a minefield here. Almost any depiction of Bourdain in his final days, and especially of Argento’s supposed infidelity, risks being interpreted as an attempt to explain what he did. And explaining and blaming are kissing cousins in this context. Not to mention falling into any number of Evil Woman and Fatal Attraction tropes, fueling an already booming public backlash against Argento.

A lot happened after Bourdain’s death — a New York Times story about Argento paying hush money to a young actor she’d allegedly had sex with while he was underage, which Bourdain knew about; Argento insisting that they were in an open relationship. Save for the infidelity part and its perceived effect on Bourdain, none of this is in Roadrunner. You can sense Neville dipping a toe into this chapter of the story and not liking how it felt. Too late, he’s already wet.

The lack of an Argento perspective in Roadrunner is glaring. When I asked Neville about it, he told me not interviewing her was a deliberate choice.

“That part of the story is like narrative quicksand. Whenever there was more of it, it just brought up ten more questions, and it gets really complicated,” he said. “I felt like if I’d interviewed her, it would just end up in this kind of she said-they said, litigating everybody’s behavior. And it wasn’t making me feel like I understood Tony any better.”

Neville’s explanation makes complete sense, but you wouldn’t get any of it from the movie itself. Argento is merely an absence. If she’s not there, shouldn’t the film at least be clear on why? That’s the trouble with trying to create an intimate portrait of a man everyone thought they knew in some way. We all can’t help but have opinions on which parts of his story mattered most.

Thus, while Roadrunner is a love letter to Bourdain and a nostalgic watch for all of us who thought we saw something of ourselves in him, it’s also a comment on our inability to truly know anyone else. In that sense, it’s a fitting tribute to its subject, a man who tried assiduously not to present himself as someone who had all the answers. Anthony Bourdain was as much of a sucker for all those romantic old illusions as we all are.

Documentary attempts to unravel inner journeys of globetrotting foodie Bourdain

The Times of Israel 16 July, 2021 - 07:01am

AP — There are many startling moments in “Roadrunner,” Morgan Neville’s rich and moving documentary about the singular culinary storyteller Anthony Bourdain, who tragically took his life at the age of 61.

Here’s just one that sticks out: a quick scene with a therapist, in Argentina. As Bourdain lies on her couch, cameras rolling for an episode of his show, he describes some frightening psychological urges he has. She asks him if he wants to change, and to feel differently. He replies: “I suspect it’s too late.”

We never learn here why Bourdain wanted to film what seems a genuine therapy session. But it fits in perfectly with the portrait Neville paints of a man who couldn’t resist being anything but painfully honest, and painfully public, even when it took him down some dark paths.

It’s also an example of just how much material Neville had to work with. Between Bourdain’s own recordings and voiceovers, copious footage — much never seen — from production of his TV travelogues, and countless home movies and photos, it comes to feel like Bourdain himself is narrating his life story.

And it’s hard to shake the feeling he already knows what happens, especially when he quips early on: “Here’s a little pre-emptive truth-telling: there’s no happy ending.”

Neville dispenses quickly with the early stuff — Bourdain dropping out of college, washing dishes in Cape Cod — even his years as chef at Manhattan’s Brasserie Les Halles. It really starts at age 44, when “Kitchen Confidential,” his wickedly funny memoir about the underbelly of the restaurant world, catapults him into stardom and a life as a globetrotting raconteur bold enough to swallow a still-beating cobra heart or a sheep’s testicle.

The transformation is dizzying: People are shouting to Bourdain in the streets. He’s sitting down with Letterman, and with Oprah. They’re saying Brad Pitt wants to play him. “It was like he died and was reborn,” says his brother, Chris Bourdain.

In footage from his various shows, which culminated with “Parts Unknown” on CNN, we accompany Bourdain to an idyllic lunch in Provence with chef-buddy Eric Ripert, or to Vietnam, where he guzzles that cobra heart. Or to Haiti, where an episode on local cuisine leads to a chaotic scene of hungry youths seeking food.

In a 2006 episode of “No Reservations” shot in Beirut, violence flares up between Israel and Hezbollah, and the crew is left to lounge by a pool for days while conflict rages. “I had begun to believe the dinner table was the great leveler,” says Bourdain, whose mother was Jewish. “Now I’m not so sure.”

A casualty of Bourdain’s outsized fame is his first marriage. Nancy Putkoski doesn’t speak to Neville, but Bourdain’s second wife does — Ottavia Busia, with whom he shared a daughter. Her tearful regret at not having kept a closer eye on him once their marriage was over is one of the more moving moments of the film, as is the frank commentary — loving, sad and angry all at once — from celebrity chef David Chang. The tears flow copiously in this film, a credit to Neville’s vibrant filmmaking. Chang also has one of the catchiest lines about his friend: “It was almost never about food. It was about Tony learning to be a better person.”

The first two-thirds are fittingly exhilarating. It’s hard not to be jealous of a man who freely admitted he had the best job in the world: “If I’m not happy, it’s a failure of imagination,” he once told The New Yorker magazine.

But if imagination was all it took to be happy, this film makes clear, Bourdain would likely be with us today.

The final act of “Roadrunner” is infused with a feeling of dread. Bourdain had become involved with Italian actor Asia Argento, a key accuser of Harvey Weinstein. She directed an episode of his “Parts Unknown” in Hong Kong, and we literally watch Bourdain falling in love. We also hear how devastated he was when a tabloid published pictures of her with another man, shortly before his death during filming in eastern France.

It’s clear that some of Bourdain’s co-workers felt the relationship with Argento sent Bourdain into a tailspin that led to his death — even though one of them points out, rightly of course, that “Tony did this.” It’s unfortunate that the film does not include Argento’s own voice here.

But one cannot fault “Roadrunner” for not coming up with clear answers. There rarely are clear answers, anyway, and this film seems to want to be about a life, not a death. A fascinating life, parts of which will forever remain unknown.

“Roadrunner,” a Focus Features release, has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America “for language throughout.” Running time: 118 minutes. Three stars out of four.

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Top 5 movie picks for Sarasota-Bradenton: July 15-21

Sarasota Herald-Tribune 16 July, 2021 - 07:01am

Oscar-winning "20 Feet from Stardom" and "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" documentarian Morgan Neville directs this film about food and travel personality Anthony Bourdain, featuring archival footage as well as interviews with family and friends such as Eric Ripert and David Chang. Along with the vast amount of archival material amassed, what makes "Roadrunner" stand out is the candor of Bourdain and those interviewed about him, including his tragic, untimely death at 61 years old in 2018.

Where to watch: Theaters on Friday

Nicolas Cage stars in this drama as a man living in the Oregon wilderness searching for his beloved truffle-hunting pig after it goes missing. Critics have been mightily impressed by "Pig," calling it one of Cage's best roles in recent years alongside films like "Joe" and "Mandy," as well as a unique debut feature for writer-director Michael Sarnoski. It's also being released by Neon, the same studio that's released critically acclaimed films like Best Picture Oscar winner "Parasite."

The film trilogy based on "Goosebumps" author R.L. Stine's other best-known horror book series, following the sinister goings-on in the fictional town of Shadyside, concludes with this installment, with each movie debuting a week apart from one another on Netflix and spanning multiple time periods. All three entries are directed by "Honeymoon" filmmaker Leigh Janiak, with Stine giving his endorsement to the R-rated trilogy, claiming that "the scares and the screams are more than I ever expected."

Where to watch: Netflix on Friday

Bringing the 1996 hybrid live-action/cartoon film starring Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes characters to a new generation, this sequel stars fellow basketball phenom LeBron James as himself, as he’s transported to an universe full of Looney Tunes and other Warner Bros. characters. “Space Jam” has always been somewhat nostalgically misremembered as an actually good movie (speaking as a ’90s kid who was very much in its target audience), but James proved a charismatic screen presence in his role in “Trainwreck,” and if he can carry this film, he should be able to carry any.

Where to watch: Theaters and HBO Max on Friday

This sequel to the 2019 thriller, themed around a series of escape rooms with risks far deadlier than their real-life counterparts, sees the return of stars Taylor Russell and Logan Miller, as they're joined by a new supporting cast and rooms to maneuver. Released in the typical movie dumping grounds of early January, the first "Escape Room" ended up a major commercial success (and received OK reviews), with Sony Pictures apparently confident enough in its sequel to give it a prime summer spot. 

Where to watch: Theaters on Friday

Roadrunner Anthony Bourdain Anthony Bourdain documentary

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