Wednesday, December 5, 2018

'Meme' doc shines spotlight of celebrity on some folks you might not know

Who knew that so many people had so much time in their lives to stare at their phones and computer screens so religiously? Apparently, their web-celeb icons certainly apprehend such constant devotion, as brazenly reported in the somewhat eye-opening Netflix documentary, "The American Meme" (streaming Friday).

I mean, disciples of leader of the flock Paris Hilton, with followers in the billions and a bank account in the mind-boggling millions as a result of such fanatic consumption and extreme worship, even compare her to Jesus Christ in this mostly diverting latest from writer/director/producer Bert Marcus ("Champs," "What We Started").

Hilton's Bel Air mansion features this tribute to the Paps that helped create her.
"My fans call themselves 'The Little Hiltons,' " says hotel heiress Paris, "and all of them call me 'Mom.' "

Others might simply call her smart, despite the ditsy demeanor that put her in the right place at the right time of a photographer whose work was picked up by Vanity Fair and instantly sent Hilton into the wild and crazy orbit of social media stardom. Of course, the Internet did the rest and now, she says, "I wake up daily to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr (etc.). I have over $50 million in each of my platforms."

Yikes! And we ain't seen nuthin' yet, as Marcus parades out an assortment of new media heroes, some recognizable and others not so much.

Perhaps the most successful include pay-for-play party boy Kirill Bichutsky (aka "Slut Whisperer"); controversial Vine queen comic Brittany Furlan; self-proclaimed social commentator Josh Ostrovsky (who calls himself "The Fat Jewish"), and DJ Khaled (real name Khaled Mohamed Khaled) claiming, "I had a vision of being one of the biggest music moguls in the world."

So let it be written, so let it be done.

All briefly and gleefully relate their start-up stories, and Marcus unabashedly exposes and exhibits their very particular acts before the dark side of celebrity sets in. A few talk about infamy and depression and, in Bichutsky's case, maybe performance-based alcoholism.

It says here you'll even buy into Furlan's discussion of the inevitable downward spiral, that is, until you discover with whom and how she finds salvation.

The answer won't be revealed here. Simply find out for yourself among the many "are you kidding me(?)" moments in this less-than-sacred salute to the Shrine of the Self-Absorbed.

Unrated: nudity, alcohol abuse and profanity; 1:35; $ $ $ and 1/2 out of $5

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