HBO’s Documentary Showbiz Kids proves that there’s much more to director Alex Winter than Bill and Ted. The former co-star of The Lost Boys is quickly climbing the ranks of one of the more respected documentarians. Whether he’s talking about corruption or what might be found inside Frank Zappa’s house, Winter’s documentaries are vibrant and refreshing. His latest subject matter is not different, but it’s perhaps his most personal piece to date. Winter uses his own experience as a young actor to examine the experience of other child actors. Showbiz Kids doesn’t shy away from sharing those extremely positive moments and the dark ones too. Nothing about the film seeks to pass judgment; it only offers a balanced look at these actors’ lives.
The fascinating portion of this HBO film was the contrast between those who were interviewed. There was a particular group of former child actors who seemingly enjoyed being famous at a young age and those who didn’t. Todd Bridges comments about loving that he was famous, which I found to be surprising. However, Will Wheaton seemingly didn’t enjoy his fame one bit. Showbiz Kids doesn’t seek to demonize young fame, but it offers a balanced perspective, allowing audiences to make their own judgments. Winter really nails the perfect tone when addressing this subject matter. Even when the impulse is to chastize these stage moms, HBO’s Showbiz Kids doesn’t point any fingers towards anyone particular person.