“I’m going to a special screening of that new Russell Brand documentary,” I said.
“Ugh! I can’t STAND that guy!” She said.
Yeah, I get it. He can be wildly inappropriate, completely insane, way over the top. He’s a gadfly. And when he screws up, he does so in an epic way. He flies too close to the sun, and I’m afraid he’s going to burn himself up before his time.
But I have to admit that I’m drawn to the guy. And it’s not just because I find him physically attractive, although that helps. I was hoping that this documentary would help me figure out what it is about him that appeals to me. And it did.
First of all, just going to this special screening was an experience. Everyone there was younger than me, more stylish than me. Very hip. (Or whatever the current equivalent of that word might be, and the very fact that I have no idea tells you all you need to know about how un-hip I truly am.) I kind of felt like a turd in a punchbowl. But that was okay, because I wasn’t there for them.
The documentary is about Russell Brand’s life, his struggle with drugs, his efforts to stay clean, and his struggles with fame. It’s about his desire to shed all the superficial crap that goes along with his current lifestyle, and his overwhelming desire to help people and actually make a difference in this world.
What fascinates me about Russell is he’s obviously a genius, but that fact is in constant struggle with his megalomania and his narcissism, which do not serve him well. There is this chaotic energy that surrounds this man that I’d find very hard to be around for any length of time.
So why would I bother seeing this movie? What drew me in? I think I’ve finally figured it out. He’s wide open, full on, and utterly, completely human. He makes mistakes on a grand scale, but he also tries so very hard to be good, to have a positive impact, to effect change.
And at the end of the day, isn’t that all any of us want to do? We just happen to do it in a much quieter, more compact way. Russell Brand is everyman, only boiled down to its most dense particles. Warts and all.
If you get a chance to see Brand: A Second Coming, I think it’s worth the time. Like it or not, it’ll make you think.