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Laramie Movie Scope:

The strange, very serious obsession with tickling videos

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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December 15, 2016 -- I didn't watch this movie right away because the description of it, a documentary about competitive tickling videos, seemed, well, kind of creepy. It turns out that tickling videos on the internet are indeed creepy, but the hidden truth behind these particular videos is fascinating.

It all starts when New Zealand journalist David Farrier starts looking into videos on Youtube called “competitive tickling” videos, supposedly some kind of sport. Guys (no girls allowed) are tied down and tickled for a long time, supposedly the “winners” exhibit more endurance. It all seems so strange that Farrier contacts the company behind the videos. He gets no answers, but he does get a lot of very strange, threatening messages for his trouble.

Threats of lawsuits and representatives from the company traveling to New Zealand to make legal threats against him only spurs Farrier's determination to find out what is going on. He and his friend, Dylan Reeve, decide to make a documentary film about competitive tickling and whoever is behind the company sponsoring these so-called contests.

Farrier and Reeve travel to America, only to find out that the people behind company and the videos are very secretive and very hard to pin down. They encounter a stone wall of resistance to their inquiries. Past participants are almost all afraid to talk to them about participating in the tickling competition.

Despite the threats and despite the stonewalling, Farrier and Reeve continue their inquiries, eventually finding some participants and others involved, along with some journalists who have investigated the videos, who shine some light on the seedy, and very unfunny dark side of the tickling videos.

The film takes us through this tangled investigation, a trail of clues, intimidation, false identities, broken promises, and shadowy, reclusive, secretive people. It turns out that what is really behind the tickling videos, like so many similar obsessions, is sex, or to be more precise, a sexual fetish. It is sadomasochistic domination of people by those in power over those who have no power, or who are tricked into participating by false representations about what is really going on.

After this film was screened at the Sundance Film Festival, lawsuits were filed against the filmmakers and another person who spoke to the filmmakers in the film. One has to admire the tenacity, courage and skill of Farrier and Reeve to follow this story to its logical conclusion. I hope they come out of the lawsuits O.K. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2016 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)