Jim & Andy

The official title of the documentary is Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton and it’s ‘about’ how Jim Carrey became Andy Kaufman in order to portray him in the 1999 movie Man in the Moon.

Andy Kaufman was a comedian who defied definition. There wasn’t and hasn’t been anyone like him before or since; Kaufman existed outside the normal conception of stand-up comedy. For a lot of people he was simply too much – so who better to play him than this generation’s over the top comedian, Jim Carrey?

Having watched the documentary, it’s hard to decide who’s crazier. Maybe Andy MV5BMjM3OTY1OTAxNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTI0MTUxNDM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_Kaufman just didn’t give a fuck – but Jim? The documentary has a tonne of footage from the set of the movie, which was filmed 20 years ago. A documentary was planned at the time (shot by an old girlfriend of Andy’s) but Universal pulled the plug, for fear that the public would discover their beloved Jim Carrey to be an asshole. Cut to 2017 and the cat’s pretty much out of the bag. And maybe asshole’s not even the right word, but there is no one right word: he’s a space cadet, a depressive, a nonsensical philosopher. And those things are all apparent in the documentary, which also features an interview with him present day. And it’s hard to know who to detest and pity more: the Jim Carrey on the set of Man on the Moon was was never Jim Carrey at all because he was so deep in the character Jim never showed up to work, or the Jim Carrey today who at times seems downright bewildered even in his own skin. He talks about fugue states and telepathy, but bottom line, he believes that the spirit of Kaufman inhabited his body during filming. When director Milos Forman or colleagues like Danny De Vito or Paul Giamatti tried to address Jim on the set, “Andy” would be angry and\or defensive. “Andy” was always on, and always creating a ruckus. You can see how that would wear thin. The real Jim Carrey, whoever that is, has recently claimed to have had a spiritual awakening, and depending how woke you are yourself, what he spouts is either enlightened or crazy.

Either way, it’s hard to watch. And while it starts out to be fascinating in a voyeuristic, train wreck kind of way, my tolerance for it eroded before the 94 run time was up. And I’m a little uncomfortable eavesdropping on the scattered thoughts of a man who is perhaps not mentally at his best. Having battled depression for years, he has lately taken to ascribing meaninglessness to everything, coming off loopy in red carpet interviews. And he’s still staring down the barrel of a wrongful death lawsuit, accused by his dead girlfriend’s mother and estranged husband of having introduced her to hard drugs, prostitute, and at least 3 STIs. Carrey maintains the the lawsuit is simply a shakedown. I don’t know who’s right, but I do know that the whole method acting thing was nutty to begin with and is downright unhinged the way he does it. Maybe it’s the counsellor in me talking, but watching this just made me think: this man needs help.

 

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24 thoughts on “Jim & Andy

  1. Paul. Writer and Filmmaker

    Great review and agree with pretty much all your comments. Carrey today seems like he’s medicated to hell and disappeared into the heart of darkness to join Colonel Kurtz in the jungle. Either that or he’s, once again, in character and the lines between method and madness are totally blurred. Perversely I still enjoyed the eccentricity though.

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  2. fragglerocking

    I have never been keen on him so have only seen a couple of his movies, I liked the one where he had a green face and yellow suit and said Smokin’. If he wasn’t a hollywood guy I suppose he’d be in a mental institution by now.

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  3. badblokebob

    Coincidentally, Netflix auto-played the trailer for this at me last night. It looked kind of fascinating, and sounds more than a little bizarre. I’ve never seen Man on the Moon but I think they might make an interesting double bill…

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  4. Danny W

    glad i read this. I wont watch it sounds way too uncomfortable. I liked man on the moon. some of the things kaufman would do were eccentric but most definitely sane and calculated. He was genius at asshole comedy like getting in front of a bunch of college students and reading great gatsby for an hour. Its an asshole thing to do but hilarious to hear about or his bad guy wrestling schtick where he wrestled women.

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  5. Christopher

    It’s kind of weird to me to look back and realize that Carrey did Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind five years after Man on the Moon. He just seems like he’s spent his entire career swinging back and forth between two roles: the moody, contemplative figure and the wild physical comic.
    I’m not sure I want to look this closely into who he really is–or who he really might be, since this seems, disturbingly, like another act.

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  6. D. Wallace Peach

    What an interesting review. It sort of makes me want to see this movie. I spent a very short stint in method acting and can vouch for the tendency of the character and reality to overlap and get a bit mixed up. When becoming a character, the good actors will “become” characters. Carrey seems to be an intense person in his own right and Andy Kaufman was even more over the top. A perfect role but perhaps not such a great idea for one’s sanity.

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  7. Christy B

    I’ve never seen Man on the Moon OR this one. Sigh I have so much I could be watching and yet all I seem to do lately is read, read, read – I want more time in the day!

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  8. J.

    I wasn’t even aware of this! Sounds like it could be interesting… especially given the reluctance of Universal to release a documentary at the time. Given the lawsuit stuff, it’s even more intriguing…

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  9. The Telltale Mind

    Was never the biggest Carrey fan so I will probably never watch this – your review being more than enough. I think the only film I really ever liked him in was The Majestic and only because it had an old-timey, sentimental feel about it all.

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  10. Sarca

    The hubs, mil and I watched this last night. Mil fell asleep about 15 mins in. I was the only one who seemed to enjoy it enough to watch it all the way through. Carrey is sad, I can see it in him.

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  11. Lloyd Marken

    I was always a fan of Carrey and recently enjoyed watching an interview he did with Norm McDonald. He referenced some of these things, he comes across as someone unique to say the least I have a feeling you would not want to hang out with him too much. He’s just not fully there anymore. Maybe he never was. Great review.

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