Take a Drink: for each jump
Take a Drink: anytime someone mentions any sort of law
Take a Drink: whenever Carl does something free-spirited as all get out
Do a Shot: for the first shot of Norway’s Troll mountains
By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
I just watched a film about a 1970s daredevil obsessed with testing the limits of human physicality and fearlessness. His forte? Stepping to the very edge of dizzying precipices… and jumping off.
Let’s see you do that, JGL
Sunshine Superman tells the story of Carl Boenish, the father of BASE jumping, and his relationship with his bookish wife Lisa, who’s a little bit of a daredevil herself.
Director Marah Strouch has found a fascinating story to tell, and she tells it well, with slickly shot recreations which integrate seamlessly with the massive amount of source footage at her disposal. Boenish wore a filmmaker’s cap himself among his many hats, and one of the primary aims of his many feats of derring-do was sharing his incredible experiences with the world.
Aka, the only way I’ll every try and experience this
Besides the frankly insane, and exhilaratingly and frighteningly escalating stunts, the other main draw to the doc is the unique, tender relationship between Carl and Lisa. It’s easy to see the attraction of Carl’s infectious energy and joie de vivre, but Lisa’s mousy, self-described “librarian” demeanor seems like an odd fit. Seeing her prove how much she was the perfect foil for him is in many ways the heart of the film.
I’m not sure how many times “the laws of man vs. the laws of nature” topic comes up, but it’s a favorite touchpoint. Too bad it’s kind of meaningless. For example: “I’m obeying nature’s laws, even gravity.”
We get a bit of a hint at some of the… unique philosophizing that forms a strong undercurrent for the film when the doc off-handedly lets drop that Carl & Lisa were Christian Scientists- a sect that doesn’t believe in going to doctors. This sheds an interesting light on Carl’s last jumps, made after hours of mountain hiking with a broken leg that he never had set. This is never examined very critically, though, in favor of the general uplifting message. Plus, I’m pretty sure Carl got the 100% wrong message from the story of the Devil tempting Jesus on the pinnacle of the temple.
Jesus chose not to tempt God and jump
I drew comparisons to The Walk (and Man on Wire) in the intro, because this portrait of living on the edge is an ideal companion piece.