Ever hear of the “Competitive Endurance Tickling Match” in L.A? Not many people had until the the movie Tickled came out.
Jane O’Brien Media hosts the competition, which takes place in L.A.–send them a photo and you have a 12/1000 chance of getting chosen to be a contestant. Then they will fly you to LA, put you up in a swanky hotel, so that you can compete at their studio. Note: contestants must be male.
The concept’s rather simple: you’re tied to a table while some hunks work on you–ie tickle you–and you try not to laugh. Whoever holds out the longest lasts. Need to see it to believe it? Jane O’Brien Media video tapes each contestant as he embraces the challenge.
Here is a review of a review of Tickled from playbackstl.com (no typo)–And below that is a review of an article about a lawsuit against the directors of the film.
review by Sarah Boslaugh
Topic: By happenstance, New Zealand journalist and film co-director David Farrier landed upon the website of Jane O’Brien Media, at JaneOBrienMedia.com. Go ahead and hit the link. It’s still there. The competition is labelled as “Salaried Reality TV/Movie Projects.”
Farrier was curious. Could there be a story worth reporting? He emailed Jane O’Brien media, asking to speak to them. They replied that they refuse to be interviewed by a gay reporter. Nice. That didn’t stop him from doing the research. Together with his friend Dylan Reeve, he not only researched the competition and Jane O’Brien Media, but also he and Reeve wrote a blog about their findings. Thousands of people around the world read it.
The nastiness continued. Jane O’Brien media sent Farrier emails, first notifying him that they were suing him for defamation and then letting out a torrent of anti-gay, anti-Semitic slurs.
HA! That intrigued Farrier EVEN MORE! If a company was that threatened, there definitely was a story. He asked Reeve to co-direct a documentary with him, and off they flew to L.A. to investigate the “subculture” up close. Initially, they could not find a contestant who would agree to an interview. But gradually some men came out of the woodwork. Turns out the tickling competition is not something that is followed up with pillow fights.There is more than meets the eye to Jane O’Brien media, and it ain’t pretty.
The film takes us along as the co-directors get deeper into their investigation.
Spoilers skimmable? No. What you really need to know is in the last paragraph, which does not have spoilers. Only by then it is too late.
Bottom line: It’s excellent– “an attractive and well constructed film…an example of investigative journalism at its finest.”
Boslaugh opines that the structure of the movie–where we learn the info as the co-directors learn it–is perfect because it makes the story credible. The more common construction of documentaries would not have worked:
The traditional style of documentaries: “If it were presented in traditional talking heads and voice of God narration you probably wouldn’t believe it anyway.”
No need for spoilers!!! The review is only three paragraphs long. Yet all that was needed was a little bit of summary from the first paragraph and all of the author’s opinion in the last one.
Her last paragraph is short, but rich with a solid, clear recommendation and the basis for it. And it’s interesting.
Perhaps Boslaugh felt that readers would not be interested if the review was fully devoid of spoilers. Au contraire, Ms. Boslaugh! Get rid of the spoilers and the review becomes even more intriguing.
MORE INFO from Indiewire:
I did some research of my own–
Here is an interesting article from Indiewire, written in conjunction with the film’s showing at the Yes/No Fest. Yes/No is held annually in Columbia, MO, and presents the art of nonfiction, as well as whatever is “between fiction and nonfiction.” It’s all very esoteric (completely unclear). I can’t make heads or tails out of its mission. (Maybe I’m just tired.)
- People who have recognized David Farrier have approached and literally tickled him. O’Falt looks on the bright side:”At least it means they’ve seen the movie.”
- Since Jane O’Brien media sued Farrier before the film was made, he and Reeve hired two legal aid lawyers to go over every fine detail of the movie.
- Farrier is moving to LA (not for the tickle subculture).
The tickle competitions just keep going and going: Check out the videos and photos on Jane O’Brien Media’s Facebook page here.
Waiver: the opinions expressed herein do not reflect that of the blogger. They reflect those in the film review and the article.
(The article alludes to J.O.B.’s penchant for lawsuits.)