Film: American Bar

by Eliza GREEN

[ dvd film submitted for review on or about last year ]

American Bar is an hour-long documentary filmed in a working man’s pub in Portland, Oregon. The film simply shows interviews of bar patrons, with a benign editorial view. It is direct, affable, light in budget and lacking any technical merit. Most of the time the technical weakness are forgivable if not excusable, but at times the black-and white picture collapses into ten or twenty shades of gray, and this little lady had to drink another Jameson to blur the picture back to clarity. The subject matter is rambling locals. The camera catches the odd glimpse of ignorance here and there, but mostly it just shows how blue collar Americans wind down: shooting pool, getting tipsy as the jukebox blares, occasionally flashing tits to their friends. Like the bar patrons it captures documents, American Bar is completely likable but unspectacular, a $2 Coors Light draugt in a styrofoam cup. Like the Coors, if you feel like a lark it’s not not worth the $5 the creators ask.

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