Val

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Documentaries have long been a favorite form of entertainment for me, and I’d like to strongly recommend one to you that I just watched last night. It is about Val Kilmer, and any of you who have Amazon Prime already have free access to it.

Most of us remember Val from the dozens of movies he made in the 1980s and 1990s. He was famous for his mercurial temper as well as his ridiculous good looks:

Age fades beauty, of course, and Mr. Kilmer is no exception, but of course when it comes to celebrities, it is often shocking to the public what their heartthrobs of the past look like.

This is not just about the superficial change of appearance. however. Val has had a life beset by many tragedies. When he was accepted at Juilliard and moved to New York to attend, he got a phone call that his beloved younger brother had died in a freak accident. After he found fame and fortune, he wound up losing it all to his father who lost it all speculating in real estate. His wife divorced him by serving papers to him while he was on the set of the (famously awful) movie Island of Dr. Moreau. And not long ago he got throat cancer and has to speak through a hole in his neck now.

I would emphasize this is not a story about pity, however. The documentary exists principally because Val filmed himself, and those around him, for practically his entire life. (In the early 1980s, it was so unusual for someone to be walking around with a video camera, as he did, that the subjects being filmed would often remark upon the camera, asking, for example, if it was also recording sound).

Mr. Kilmer comes off as extraordinarily intelligent, insightful, sensitive, and human. I strongly recommend this touching and thought-provoking documentary!