It is not easy to write about Patrick O’Dell’s film, Dumb: The Story Of Big Brother Magazine, and Shit: The Big Brother Book within one year of each other without sounding redundant. Even though it hasn’t published an issue in thirteen years, Big Brother holds a unshakeable stake in skateboarding’s collective heart. Thrasher bears perhaps the most recognizable skate brand on the planet, Skateboarder was the first-ever skateboard magazine, but no, more Big Brother, we need more.
Having covered everything from the cult of Cardiel to Menace throughout Epicly Later’d, O’Dell is the best person to sit across from anyone throwing heart eyes at a mammoth of skateboard lore. The linear story of the magazine is told through a series of new interviews, shoddy unseen footage that otherwise only had its audio transcribed, archived clips from newscasts (i.e. interviews with angry parents), and clips from Big Brother‘s video series.
An abridged history of Big Brother was told in the 2007 Steve Rocco documentary, The Man Who Souled the World. Rocco’s few appearances in Dumb cover the same ground as before, where he recounts the infamous story of why he started the mag in the first place. Unlike the Big Brother book, which apart from the epilogue, was narrated by Sean Cliver and Dave Carnie’s recollections, Dumb‘s interviews cover a wider spectrum of contributors to any and all Big Brother projects.