Eventually every pop culture detail will get its 15-plus minutes of fame via an in-depth documentary, and this December 15 spotlights Miss Cleo, a late-spiritualist whose TV commercials were ubiquitous between 1997 and 2003. Call me Miss CleoIt, however, proves to be a surprising non-fiction project — for all the wrong reasons.
Directed by Celia Aniskovic and Jennifer Brea. Call me Miss Cleo It revisits the saga of the ups and downs of Miss Cleo, whose career took off thanks to the tiny screen savers of the Psychic Readers Network (PRN), a communication service that allows consumers to talk to a fortune teller for free for the first three minutes, and at a predatory $4.99/minute after that. “call me now!” she shouted at the end of each ad in her trademark Jamaican accent. For a while, countless Americans did, and in the process, Miss Cleo became the face — and star — of a fast-paced psychiatric hotline trend that swept the nation. Talk show appearances, merchandise, and parodies followed, much of which is entertainingly revisited in this documentary, which doesn’t skimp on old Miss Cleo archival material.
In this regard, Call me Miss Cleo is the standard by which such affairs come, filled with a variety of talking heads fondly reminiscing about their first exposure to a well-known psychic, whose rant centered around her amazing tarot-card-reading abilities. Raven Simone W Food TV Veteran Debra Wilson recalls cheating on Miss Cleo in her prime, while a host of friends and colleagues praised her warm spirit, big heart, and charismatic charisma, all of which allowed her to achieve a modicum of celebrity. Covered in more obscure terms, however, is the dramatic story of Miss Cleo, about whom no one seems to know anything—including her real name, which cannot be definitively ascertained (she used many aliases throughout her life), And even her tone, which was said to not be real.
That’s right – Miss Cleo wasn’t from Jamaica. One speaker claims that Miss Cleo was brought to America (presumably from the island?) by her mother and then handed over (for unknown reasons) to Jamaican adoptive parents, who have an additional eight to nine children in their home. However, this does not align with the fact that her birth certificate states that she was born in Los Angeles. There is also important conversation about the “trauma” that Miss Cleo suffered as a child, during which time she attended a girls’ boarding school and, according to an ex, may have been abused at the age of 11 by a “family friend”. The indefinite does not begin to describe the details given here; Apparently, not everyone who loved and cared for Miss Cleo knew much about her history, save for some misty malaise which they assert was the impetus for the creation of Miss Cleo’s “character”.
Although details are avoided when it comes to Miss Cleo’s origins, Call me Miss Cleo He takes seriously the notion that she was a deeply damaged person — it would have been better, it turns out, to justify his defense of her as an innocent victim, and to celebrate her as a legitimately gifted psychic. It’s up for debate as to which of these threads is more ridiculous, but they dominate the documentary. According to Aniskovich and Brea’s interviewees, Miss Cleo channeled her pain and suffering into a psychiatric career designed to help those in need, and so her partnership with PRN was actually born out of lofty goals. She was just an altruistic soul using her “knowledge” to better the community – notwithstanding many of her PRN colleagues admitting, on camera, that the whole process was a complete scam as they read from a script and endeavored to keep callers on the line as long as possible to maximize their Revenues.
A friend says, “What you have given us is better than anything in the world you could wish to accumulate: wisdom.” Another fan said, “She gave you the right.” In a 2012 interview, Miss Cleo herself asserted that she never misled people because what she said on TV was “true”. Somehow, Call me Miss Cleo You buy into all this, promoting the idea that the psycho was authentic. Furthermore, it casts her as a victim of cruel and exploitative PRN bigwigs Stephen Feder and Peter Stutz, as they used Miss Cleo to profit from the pain of their callers. Vader and Stutz’s wrongdoing is indisputable, but it’s funny to say – as the movie does – that Miss Cleo takes no responsibility for aiding their heinous behavior by acting as a corporate spokesperson. She has been front and center as the chief charlatan of the business, and attempts to say otherwise are so disingenuous that they would have been insulting if they were not so plainly absurd.
“She has been front and center as the chief charlatan of the business, and attempts to say otherwise are so disingenuous that they would have been insulting if they were not so plainly absurd.“
Wilson discusses Miss Cleo with a self-seriousness wholly unsuitable for a cheating woman. Raven-Symoné mugs like crazy while implying that Miss Cleo was simply a strong black woman who is usually wronged by greedy white men. The final third of the proceedings is dedicated to characterizing Miss Cleo’s post-PRN days as an advocate for gay rights and then as a proud queer woman. This focus allows the film to highlight Miss Cleo’s positives as a means of masking her negatives. In truth, though, no one involved seems to believe that Miss Cleo — who died in 2017 at the age of 53 after battling cancer — really did anything wrong, since they view her as a dispassionate psychic who communicates with the dead and can see people’s future.
Even those who know Miss Cleo was dark—that is, the artists she worked with, and stole money from, at the Langston Hughes Institute for the Performing Arts in Seattle, where she first created the character of Miss Cleo—work overtime to say something kinda nice to her because, well, This is the dominant direction of this project. only time Call me Miss Cleo She works with a clear head while analyzing briefly why people believe so easily in Miss Cleo compared to other psychics (answer: she tapped into the comforting stereotypes of island mom and voodoo). Yet this investigation proves only a brief respite from the sympathetic portrayal of Miss Cleo as a “mystery” that bore many “wounds” and was “completely silenced” but still manages to be a beacon of hope, positivity, and courage that has inspired all who know her— And, presumably, those who were lucky enough to communicate with her on the phone.
Call me unconvinced.
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