Plot: Although most mainstream audiences have likely never heard of George and Mike Kuchar, the two fringe filmmakers crafted a prolific run of offbeat, outsider cinema that influenced countless viewers, including a number of future movie makers who were inspired by the Kuchars to pick up a camera. In this documentary, the lives and careers of the eclectic brothers are explored in depth, from childhood through to the present, to get an inside look at the creative, offbeat minds behind some of the true masterpieces of trash cinema. The art of the movies is examined, as well as the legacy of their work, but the focus is on the brothers themselves, with insightful interviews that help us get to know them as people, not just artists. For fans of trash movies and outsider cinema, this is a great chance to look inside the Kuchar’s world, but for newcomers, it is also a good way to orient yourself in this bizarre realm.
Entertainment Value: This feature length look at the Kuchar brothers is quite a ride and whether you’re a veteran of their brand of cinema or a fresh recruit, you’ll find a lot of interesting and insightful content here. The movie covers so much ground, moving from the brothers using a camera as kid through their rise through the cult film world to what happened in the wake of their trash classics, so whichever period you’re curious about, It Came from Kuchar covers it. The scope of time detailed means not all of the topics are given in depth coverage, but a lot of time is invested in certain topics and none of the movie feels like filler in the least. The task of doing justice to colorful subjects like the Kuchars is tough enough, but to try to explore every topic that viewers might want to know more about is impossible. But I think enough bases are covered to please most fans and this kind of topic can never be fully tapped, even with a slew of documentaries, so it is hard to complain. I think the movie makes excellent use of the run time and sheds light on a lot of interesting areas.
The piece has interviews with George and Mike themselves, with a lot of footage from George’s film classes he instructs also included. The latter is quite fun, as you see him at work after all these years, still crafting offbeat and bizarre movies, with new generations of performers and potential viewers. The passion to create is so evident, you can’t help but feel it through those scenes. I was intrigued by the paths taken later in life by both and this documentary allows us a peek inside their more recent lives, but it never feels like exploitation at all. Some films of this kind can look upon their eccentric subjects with a little judgment, but that’s not the case here, as the Kuchars are celebrated and their art is given proper reverence. You also hear from those influenced by the Kuchars such as Atom Egoyan, Guy Maddin, and of course, trash kingpin John Waters, all of whom feel a deep gratitude to the Kuchar’s approach to cinema. The pace is brisk, able to entertain and inform at the same time in most scenes, while the overall presentation is good, but not overly polished, which makes sense here. This one has special appeal to those who lean toward the outsider end of the cinema spectrum, but anyone interested in film or the creative process should have fun here.