The Dallas Movie Screening Group

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Friday, April 30, 2021

Tiny Tim: King For a Day

Director: Johan von Sydow

Studio: Juno Films

Review: Tiny Tim: King For a Day

People may not know who Tiny Tim is, his real name was actually Herbert Khaury, but for a period in the 1960s, he was a huge star who is known for his ukulele-playing skills while singing in a high-pitching falsetto voice. Of course, people in the late 90s recognized him as the man who sang the famous song "Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight,” which was shown on the very first episode of Spongebob Squarepants dated back in 1999. This film takes the audience and Tiny Tim fans on a journey to see the real life and career of this fabulous musician. With the exclusive access to Tiny Tim’s diaries and archive footage plus interviews with his family and friends, the film is a fascinating portrait of one of the oddest stars the world has ever seen, directed by Johan von Sydow and narrated by the inner-voicing “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Tiny Tim: King For a Day centers on the outcast named Herbert Khaury whose rise to stardom as Tiny Tim becomes the ultimate fairytale of his life and his downfalls. Considered either a freak or a genius, Tiny Tim has left no one unaffected by his successes and downfalls. With his famous ukulele-playing career and television appearances begin to increase his popularity, there were plans and hopes that Tiny Tim would be a lasting star, not only as a novelty act, but as an inspirational human being to the whole-wide world. But the main problem is only one man ruined those plans and that is Tiny Tim himself.

Sydow’s direction and the organization of putting the footages together from his harsh beginnings to rousing successes really brings a whole lot of richness to see how the audience can gently digest the horrors and the colors of the life of Tiny Tim, even with all the interviews of several well-known musicians who took much influences on him. Especially on the animation sequences being used for more focal points of the plotline and the musician from start to finish. When it all comes down to crafting such a finery feature, the director, producers, and his editing teams managed to put all of the newsreels, interviews, and stories about Tiny Tim in one showcasing display of the man’s enduring legacy.

Though, there are some unsavory documentary bits to his life that became a target to his childhood trauma, his collapsing career, and the younger audiences. Of course, he (Tiny Tim himself) have come to his sexual attitudes and advances towards women, which later became the flavor of the MeToo movement being introduced in late 2017, as well as his association with Mafia gangs, which was rather unfortunate and completely odd for a singer or musician to get involved in such an heisty activity that also lead to another downfall of his happier dream.

Overall, Tiny Tim: King For a Day is a good documentary film, it clocks around 78 minutes for its length, which is kinda short to meet the documentary film criteria, but nonetheless, it’s great. The "inner voice" narrative, fittingly provided by Weird Al Yankovic, really comes along to understand better from Tim's own diaries, adding even a greater acknowledgement and pathos to this unique individual. Regardless of what anyone says to Tiny Tim from the past or present, I think this film is a must watch on your list, really worth a look for both Tiny Tim fans, musicians, and audiences out there who enjoyed listening to his pieces.


(Review by Henry Pham)

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