When owning the western world’s largest collection of pop-culture relics isn’t enough

Finding Kraftland

on February 15, 2008 by Sara Schieron

If you appreciate post-war pop-culture collectibles and you don’t mind vanity projects about celebrity agents (featuring their fabulous clientele, of course), then Finding Kraftland will be great fun for you. However, if you’re looking for more than a birthday video re-adjusted to feature some sincere family tidbits (stored haphazardly at the end of the film) then you might not like it so much.

Richard Kraft is a fantastically successful composer’s agent. More than simply good at his work, he’s popular among his clientele, which includes the likes of Danny Elfman, John Ottman and Alan Menken. His success in the field has made it possible for him to indulge every latent desire he’s had since childhood. His home is a museum (hence “Kraftland”) of post-war consumer memorabilia. TV dinners, vintage boxes of KFC, a people-mover trolley from Disneyland and novelty shampoo bottles line the walls of his home. Tidy as an archive, the density of collectibles in the home is almost overwhelming and I found myself scanning the layout of each room in hopes of finding everyday items like clothing.

Structured around the categories of collectibles in this eBay addict’s wet dream, Finding Kraftland is at least well mannered enough to offer us a tour guide. Explaining the racist song printed on the KFC box, and bathing with the novelty shampoos is a pretty, lightweight hostess (Stacey Aswad). With her help Finding Kraftland ends up looking less like a documentary and more like a hollow L.A. morning show. Had the filmmakers chosen to gently restructure the film, presenting the family homage as a frame story as opposed to a touching addendum, perhaps the film would have a clearer sense of purpose. As it stands, we don’t even learn the film was made to play at the extravagant birthday party of Richard Kraft and his son Nicky until the last 10 minutes of the film. By that point, you’ve spent an hour waiting for a purpose and you want something a little more compelling than “it’s a birthday movie.”

Interesting as a catalogue of one man’s collection of pop-culture memorabilia, Finding Kraftland doesn’t really stretch to become anything more.

Cast: Richard Kraft, Nicki Kraft and Stacey Aswad
Directors: Richard Kraft and Adam Shell
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Unrated
Running time: 65 min.
Release date: TBD

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