January 28, 2019  (Web Review)

Becoming Iconic

(2017) 85 min. DVD: $14.95. Random Media (avail. from most distributors). Closed captioned.

Reviewer rating: 2.0/4

Neal Thibedeau’s bizarre and confusing documentary focuses on Jonathan Baker, an excessively verbose and highly narcissistic individual who monopolizes the camera with endless monologues and lengthy sequences as he wanders through New York City talking (seemingly to himself) about his troubled upbringing and his obsession with movies. Baker repeatedly gives the impression that he is a Hollywood power player—bragging, for instance, about how he purchased Warren Beatty’s mansion—but there is relatively little evidence of his cinematic output beyond production stills and behind-the-scenes clips from his sole attempt at filmmaking, the mediocre 2017 feature Inconceivable, in which he cast himself alongside Nicolas Cage and Faye Dunaway. Baker corrals well-known directors, including John Badham, Taylor Hackford, and Adrian Lyne, plus actress-director Jodie Foster to discuss their respective misadventures in the film world. To be fair, Baker can at times be an entertaining raconteur and some of his recollections of an urban childhood are compelling—particularly a story of how he waited in vain for his estranged father to make a weekend visit. But, for the most part, viewers will have no clue who Baker is and just where he fits into the Hollywood scheme of things. Optional. Aud: P. (P. Hall)