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Heavy Hitters Review

Official Review

January 21st, 2004 3:44pm
Reviewed by Brad Henderson
Max Maven was quoted to the effect of having said, "Magicians of the 20th Century have managed to do something pretty amazing. They have taken something inherently profound, and rendered it meaningless and trivial."

By that standard of amazing, Brian Geer is the greatest magician who ever lived.

I watched this DVD all the way through once and didn't think I could bring myself to watch it again, it pained me that much. However, instead of relegating this review to the memories unfortunately stuck in my brain, I will watch the DVD again and comment trick by trick.

Coin through Plastic. This has been in print somewhere before. I think with a cigarette package. A quarter is knocked through the plastic sleeve surrounding a deck of cards. Not a bad trick, but his routining is banal. Repetition after repetition with the same words over and over. No direction, no build up, no hook. Just "It goes right inside there, I can pluck it through. Of course I can go back where it started, or get it out of the plastic. I can do it one more time. It's kind of weird the quarter is inside the plastic." No, it's not weird, it's what you've been doing over and over again for the past 7 minutes. Not to mention that he can't load or holdout a coin to save his life.

Color changing deck. (First, he uses a little trick where the marker disappears as he removes it from his pocket. I believe this was published by Steve Beam and is done without credit.) Not a horrible idea changing the card into having your business card on the back, but again, there are much better presentations and routines (see Vernon).

Back in Time: First, this guy needs to learn what a script is. He has at least two themes going on in this trick, and other than repeating the phrase "back in time," neither develops. (The other is "testing your strength.") Now, maybe this is a script and he says this the same way every time. That's perhaps an even more depressing thought. You can almost feel the boredom through the expressions on his audience's faces. The only laugh he gets is when he plays sort of a practical joke on an audience member. The trick, a card is torn, vanishes in a magic tube (in a flash of fire) and reappears back in the deck. In keeping with the back in time theme, the deck has now resealed itself and is back in order. Not a bad idea, but again, nothing that hasn't been done before.

The sponge balls can be an amazing moment of magic for the spectator. Even a bad performance can still elicit gasps. How Brian manages to destroy all potential for the least bit of wonder is a thing to behold. For one, what is the most amazing part of a sponge ball routine? When the ball appears in the spectator's hand, of course. Unfortunately too many magi make this an early phase and then go on with anti climax after anti climax. Brian is no exception. But he outdoes most magicians. He enters a scene where he places 2 or 3 balls into a spectators hand and when they open it one has changed color. That's not bad. But he does it again. And again. And again. And ... you get the idea.

The first time is a surprise. The others become, "Well what color is he slipping in this time." Every spectator gets a chance to catch the load, which is really all they have left to do when wonder and surpise cease to be options. It is a travesty of magic to see something with such potential as the sponge balls massacred in front of people who deserve a magical experience.

Chips are Down. Dollar bill into box of Cracker Jacks. Again, it is clear Brian really doesn't think through his routines. He refers to the surprise in a box of cracker jacks but the bill appears in the box, not in the surprise package. It would have been such a stronger trick if it had, and not that much more difficult.

Also, his steal of the bill was horribly awkward. I think you can tell the maturity of a performer by how well they handle a thumb tip. This waving your hands around in the air like they are on fire is evidence of someone who does not understand the dynamics of the moment, nor the power of the tool they wield.

Silk in Potato: Again, bad routine construction. From the beginning you know what the climax will be, yet he doesn't make it a challenge effect which is the only way the piece could work after any thinking audience is tipped to what is going to happen. Also, if you are going to do this kind of effect, splurge for several WHITE handkerchiefs and let them sign them in ink. The original Slydini Silk to Apple is much better.

Watch the Pockets. Repeat multiple cards to pocket. First, his card selection procedure, in my mind, is basically an exposure of the classic force. Sad. Interestingly, after he forces the four cards, when given the choice every spectator desires to switch their selections. So I ask, "What was the point?" other than to show the audience you can force a card. Very sad.

Second, he needs to learn how to palm a card. I think his new nickname should be "Mr. Fishhook." Plus, his timing is all wrong, performing the moves as he is getting the audience to focus where the work is being done. Further, the idea of "getting my pockets ready" for the second phase is, well, obvious. His control is an uncredited Kelly bottom placement performed without any sense of finesse or understanding. His "touch" has been thought of by anyone who has ever attempted the move. He should learn the Birman or Rosenthal handling. Again, better methods. See Jennings or Bedwell.

Razor Blade Prediction. Better top changes for his needs. No rationalization for his heavy handling of the move. This is a card trick combined with razor blade eating. What a great way to trivialize a wonderfully stunning stunt, to make it an adjunct effect to a pick a card trick. Also, if you plan on ever doing the razor blades you need to watch this DVD to see how not to present this classic. No sense of suspense, drama, or acting. His response comes fully from the gross out factor, which any one can accomplish.

Sharpest razorblade. Hmm, close up magic with an Ickle Pickle Change bag. Need I say more? What a confused and convoluted handling to present Scotty York's Razored Deck. No credit. (Also, the worst handling of the bottom card slip force I have EVER seen. No freedom at all.)

I think a general theme of this DVD is "I'm going to stand here and do a bunch of tricks with average methods and familiar plots pretty much just telling you what I'm doing when I'm doing it and hopefully the audience won't fall asleep." His performances are super dull and there is better work on pretty much everything on this DVD.

Also the DVD has an authoring quirk. If you select "all performances" you cannot skip ahead a track to the next trick. You have to go to the main menu and do it manually. Pain in the butt.

This DVD is misnamed, it should be called "heavy handling" because there is no degree of subtlety in any of his work. And I don't mean this as a compliment as one might apply to the work of a veteran bar magician. This stuff should have never been put on DVD as an example of good magic. Bad methods, horrible structure, no sense of routining, no concept of pacing, and no crediting (in the explanations I managed to sit though).

There is one good thing that can come of this though. Teller once wrote, "Hate breeds more good art than love." What he meant is that when we see something bad, we don't do those things in our own work. That leads us to create hopefully original ideas by solving those problems as opposed to merely copying what we like.

I think Brian Geer's Heavy Hitters could serve the same function in the magic world. Watch the DVD and learn what not to do if you want to vary tricks and plots already in the magical literature.

1/2 star.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Heavy Hitters

Author: Geer, Brian
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $29.99
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Manufacturer's Description:

Over two hours of close up magic for the working magician!

Magic that includes: sponge balls, a watch steal, razorblades, rubberbands, many card effects, color changes, quarter penetrating the cellophane wrap of a deck of cards, egg bag routine with a production of a full glass of water completely surrounded, a live gold fish, borrowed bill in bag of chips, signed silk in potato, and much much more.

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