Tag Archives: Paul Giamatti

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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Ratchet And Clank

I was just saying that animated movies were very strong in 2016 – I loved The Little Prince, Zootopia, Kubo And The Two Strings…and likely many more. What I did not love, or even like, was Ratchet And Clank.

ratchet-and-clank-screen-06-ps4-eu-02jun15A cute nearly-puppy looking protagonist named Ratchet is “trying out” to join a team of alien super heroes, the Galactic Rangers. He’s not strong or fast, but he has “heart” and lots of failed inventions and a robot sidekick named Clank. Sounds promising on paper but it just wasn’t interesting in practice. Small children may make it through but even they’ll know there’s just better stuff out there. It does nothing to distinguish itself. It has an admirable message lost somewhere amid the chaos about the surprisingly thin line between heroes and villains, but it’s so obviously just going through the motions that it fails to inspire. Even my idle curiosity and need to kill an hour and a half weren’t fulfilled by this in any way. If it’s mediocre animation you’re after, try Kung Fu Panda #Whatever, or The Secret Life of Pets.

This movie is based on a video game I know nothing about, nor do I want to after this exposure. Ratchet and Clank, as far as I’m concerned, can go back to living underneath the rock I accidentally unearthed. Bye, Felicia.

The Little Prince

A little girl has a bright future ahead of her. How do I know? She and her mother (Rachel McAdams) have her whole life planned out. A life plan so intense she’s more like her mother’s Senior VP than her daughter. Her mother’s best compliment: “You are going to make a wonderful grownup.”

But the crazy old man (Jeff Bridges) next door draws her out of her mature little shell with his fanciful inventions and his beautiful story-telling. His stories and drawings come to life in animation within the animation: the story of The Little Prince.

Growing up it was always Le Petit Prince to me, but even en anglais, the timeless story warms the heart. The main story, starring the little girl, and the crazy man’s story, starring the little prince, are distinguished with different styles of animation. The little girl is done in familiar CG style; the little prince is stop-motion, done not in clay but in paper. Both are lovely, 210b0b20-a7ab-11e5-88e2-828a3e695a05_1280x720but I confess a fondness for the nostalgia and simple loveliness of the latter.

The voice cast is incredible: Jeff Bridges, Paul Rudd, Albert Brooks, Marion Cotillard, Benicio Del Toro, and more. It’s a real testament to just how cherished the book is, around the world. The Little Prince is a sweet children’s book but it can be read and enjoyed by adults, with many layers of themes to interpret. The same goes for the movie, faithfully and lovingly adapted from its source.

The little girl, too grown up for her own good, rediscovers childhood lp-garden-rgb-5kthrough friendship with the batty old guy next door. But anyone who knows the story knows that along with sweetness, there is also sorrow. The first half of the movie is all poetry and imagination. The second half falters a bit when it gets further away from Saint-Exupéry’s ideas and ideals. The movie is a little less fanciful than the novella, a little more down to earth. But The Little Prince has always been the stuff of dreams, too good, too ethereal for Earth. It’s still lovely though. It’s still one of the loveliest things I’ve seen all summer.

 

Wino Forever

Today we’re leaving San Francisco to explore wine country. Does it make us sound like lushes to admit this was the whole reason we planned this trip?

sidewaysBefore they were Spiderman villains, Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church were wine loving assholes just like us. The pair are not very likeable men in the movie Sideways, but they sure do bond over bottles of fine wine. Sales of Pinot Noir surged after this movie hit theatres and of course sales of Merlot plunged. It was a little film that could, showing that life can be both funny and tragic at the same time. Alexander Payne (along with Jim Taylor) took home the Oscar for its stellar screenplay and it, along with its four leads, had plenty of acclaim. I liked it the minute I first saw it but after “cellaring” it for a bit, I find that it has matured, and I suppose so have I. It’s a thoughtful movie that pairs well with stuffed olives and\or brie. 😉

We three Assholes don’t need wine to get us going and we don’t drink to get happy – we drink toow0sx3sk2bvbtpymxwaqrnmdimw get EVEN MORE happy! And we’ll be sloppily happifying all over California wine country today (don’t worry, we’ve engaged a chauffeur), and steadfastly keeping each other’s hair out of the spit bucket (I never spit anyway, I’m definitely a swallower).

We’ll be sure to be updating our twitter account with drunken trip highlights all week long – join us @assholemovies .

 

 

The Truman Show

The Truman Show came out before the reality TV craze really set in, so its prescience is commendable and chilling.

Truman Burbank (Jim Carey) is a man who’s been filmed since birth, and for 30 years, the world has watched him round the clock. The only person who doesn’t know that tumblr_nqc9v5ofZH1skrvpzo1_500.gifTruman’s a big, big star is Truman himself, who believes himself to be living a normal life. An entire town has been hired and created to convince him of this, but everyone’s in on it, everyone’s an actor with their own motives and agendas. When Truman does begin to catch on to the ruse, no one is more keen to stop his leaving than his director of 30 years, Christoff (Ed Harris).

When Sisken and Ebert reviewed The Truman Show, they gave it an enthusiastic two-thumbs-up, but also gave an unprecedented on-air apology to Jim Carrey for having said that he would never have a career when they hate-reviewed Ace Ventura: Pet Detective just a few years earlier.

 

The Truman Show wasn’t just a hit at the box office, it became a cultural phenomenon. In 2008, Popular Mechanics declared it one of the 10 most prophetic science fiction films ever. Big Brother debuted just a year after The Truman Show hit theatres, and the popularity of other shows like it probably predict the downfall of  humanity, but the fact that so many people flocked to the movies to see that same thing satirized has to be a good sign, right?

The Truman Show is studied in lots of Media Ethics courses. Of course they look at Truman’s creator, Christoff, the director who stalked unwanted pregnancies and eventually trapped an unwitting human in a very big but very fake bubble. But they also look at Marlon, Truman’s best friend, and Meryl, his wife. These of course are simply actors playing a part – Meryl (Laura Linney) basically prostitutes herself for the role and is willing to bear Truman’s child, who will be a star of a spin-off.

Even more interestingly, psychologists are reporting real people experiencing the “Truman Syndrome” or the “Truman Show Delusion”, basically people believing they are the unwilling stars of their own reality TV shows. Some people may be happy about this fake fame, others tormented. But they believe cameras are secretly following and filming them around the clock. One such person traveled to NYC after 9\11 to check that the towers had indeed fallen; this person believed that it was perhaps just an elaborate plot twist in his personal storyline. Another such person climbed to the top of the Statue of Liberty believing his long-lost high school girlfriend would meet him there, and he’d finally be released from the show.

I’m betting\hoping The Truman Show was a little less life-altering for you than it was for some of these poor people, but doesn’t that just go to show the effect the media can have on our lives?