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DVD Review: Starbucking

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If ever there was a pointless documentary made about an oddly obsessed individual and a quest that does not seem to have any real worth, or an end for that matter, this is it. I have to wonder what possessed this man to make him want to go on this particular journey. This is a a movie that I cannot really make a good argument to watch this movie, but if you happen to start watching it, there is a very good chance that you will not be able to look away. So, if you have ever wanted to know what it was like to drive around the country and drink gallons of coffee, Starbucking is the movie for you.

Starbucking is a document of a man named Winter (yes, just Winter) who has set out to visit each and every Starbuck’s coffee shop in the world. It is a quest that has lasted for the past ten years, and has had him visiting well over one thousand of the shops at a clip of 20-30 a day at some point. It plays out like a cross of the charm of Supersize Me and the obsessive-compulsiveness of Grizzly Man, without the doctors and without becoming coffee flavored bear cuisine.

The movie does not go after the evils of corporate expansion, nor is it a study about the value of the food and drink offered by the chain. It is about a man who may, or may not, have some sort of mental issue. It is brought up that he may suffer from OCD, and it is even suggested that he may be bi-polar.

Like I said, this is a movie that is hard to look away from. It does not take you very far into the minds of men, just a charismatic individual who spends most of his camera time hopped up on caffeine. He is a truly odd individual, and is a good example of the effects that caffeine can have on a body in such high quantities. Watch as Winter dances in line, rubs his hands together, gets a caffeine crazed look in his eyes, runs down streets and through traffic, and just jitters his way through the 73 minute documentary. I cannot say that I learned much about Winter, other than that he seems to obsess about this to the level that any type of relationship he has, or attempts to have suffers in the end. To that end, Starbucking gives you a look inside the life of man that begins and ends with Starbucks coffee, the occasional strip club, and a man who does not seem to have much going for him outside of this quest and the shallow spiritualism that seems to have grown out of his never ending desire to visit all of the shops.

The DVD is presented in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio of the guerilla documentary. It is shot in whatever light is available, so the source quality is suspect at times, but the transfer is clean and free of any technical issues. The audio is a fine sounding stereo mix. As for extras, seven deleted scenes, and a commentary track with Winter and director Bill Tangeman which is an intriguing extension of the neverending pointlessness of the quest.

Bottomline. This is a strange film, if you start, you will finish, however you will question why you watched it, why he is doing this, and why the movie was made. I cannot recommend that you buy this, but if you happen to Netflix it, you could do worse. Winter is a kind of sad personality, although he will always have a friend at the next Starbucks.

Mildly Recommended.

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