Under Further Review: Tiger Hood

I was amused at the prospect of reviewing Tiger Hood, a documentary that clocks in at a grand total of seven minutes. However, I’m happy to say that this unique, quirky project offers plenty to think about and reflect on. It’s been a long time (maybe never) since I’ve seen a film that is this short, yet also feels complete. Hell, I never thought a sports film would remind me of literary character Don Quixote. But here he is: a slightly disheveled, surprisingly well-spoken middle-aged man who is completely invested in his quest to gather up a school’s used milk cartons (for both personal mementos and improvised golf balls), and put an old golf iron to good use on the sprawling urban landscape of New York City. In short, Patrick “Tiger Hood” Barr is a sporty, saner Man of La Mancha, determined to play his part no matter its contrast to the rest of the city around him. As he sends the cartons hurtling toward (and occasionally into) nearby dumpsters or trash cans, we learn that this odd pastime makes more sense in the context of Barr's life philosophy: "It doesn't matter how you're remembered, as long as you're remembered." For the movie’s beginning, its contrasting video clips demonstrate the public perception of Barr, and its tone is undergirded by a pleasant, whimsical score. Rushed exposition is often a problem in short films, but not here. The viewer is treated to a very gradual reveal about who this man is, and where he’s been in his life (I’m curious to know more about “the downs” Barr alludes to, as well as his early adult years). It’s a pleasant surprise to learn that Barr’s been an amateur (and competent) photographer since high school, and this does a lot to flesh out the viewer’s initial impression of him. Marks then returns to the use of older videos to subtly demonstrate the lower points for his subject. By film’s end, the director is able to attain an optimistic tone, demonstrating an impressive arc through just several minutes of footage. Barr’s personal message for the viewers (a wonderfully appropriate conclusion that “you can’t cry over spilt milk”) feels affirmed by various shots of people watching him at work. In all, Tiger Hood manages to be a complete slice-of-life film on its own, but also peaked my curiosity about whether or not it could work as a longer project. You all should do yourselves a favor, and spice up your day by taking all of seven minutes out of it to watch this distinctive little story. ** Tiger Hood premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in March of 2015 and was picked up by ESPN 30 For 30 Shorts in 2016. Watch the film here, and visit director Christopher Andre Marks at his website.

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