blogger, blogging, cops, dark comedy, film, film blogger, film blogging, film reviews, films, fucking awesome, fucking beautiful, fucking weird, Oscars, review, reviewing, reviews, Uncategorized

Tuesday’s Review – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

3d932a1d00cc057ddd9e7210ea7a29085_star_rating_system_4_stars1 Sunday night was the annual BAFTA film awards and it was the usual mixture of glitz, glamour, and massively unnecessary shade. Now, obviously, as a sane young woman I am a massive fan of the whole Times Up and #metoo movement. However, there was a lot of over-the-top bitchiness that appears to have come out of the ceremony. The first, regarding the Kate Middleton’s dress is insane. Surely, as a royal, she wouldn’t have been allowed to make any outright statement by wearing a black dress. She did, however, get pretty damn close to the colour women were wearing in solidarity to the movement, so I think we know where she stands. Number 2, Salma Hayek. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I read about her introduction to the Best Actor category and I’m still dumbfounded by it. I don’t really see what her point was. She went in knowing she was going to present an award to a man yet decided to make a pointless and ineffective protest about men whilst doing it. It wasn’t a powerful message and, if anything, damaged the movement by making it seem like women are standing up against men in general. It adds to all the talk of “witch hunts” and, quite frankly, was a dick move in relation to the winner. Gary Oldman deserved his moment to win an award that was and always has been gender specific. Natalie Portman had a great point at the Golden Globes when she bitched about the all male Best Director category; Salma Hayek looked like a fucking idiot to be protesting a man winning a male only award.

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1988, 30 years, 30th birthday, 80s, comedy, dark comedy, film, film blogger, film blogging, film reviews, films, fucking awesome, fucking creepy, fucking funny, fucking ridiculous, fucking stupid, fucking weird, horror, review, reviewing, reviews, Uncategorized

Throwback Thirty – Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)

killer_klowns_from_outer_space_28198829_poster

5_star_rating_system_4_and_a_half_stars When I first came up with my Throwback Thirty idea there were a handful of movies that I was super excited about. This week’s film is one of the most exciting. I have always loved a good B movie and, despite my avoidance of traditional horror stuff, will always have time for a worthy comedy horror film… especially one starring aliens that look like clowns. I know a lot of people who are freaked out by clowns but I’ve never seen it. Maybe it helped that I never accidentally watched IT when I was a kid but I’ve never really been fussed either way about clowns. I did work with a guy who was absolutely terrified by them. I admit, we all kind of abused the situation and I was, at times, guilty of humming circus music whenever he was around. It genuinely used to freak him out because he was that scared. Yes, it was a dick move but, in my defence, it was really funny too. So I’d imagine that he’d never seen the 1988 classic Killer Klowns From Outer Space because that would be mental. Like the girl who was in the year below me at uni who was afraid of balloons and, during out college’s end of year party, freaked out during the balloon drop. I’d grabbed a balloon and she forced me to pop it. I was fucking livid! Mate, if you get so freaked out by balloons then why turn up to a place where you know there’ll be shit loads of them???? Not that I’m still bitter 10 years on or anything… Continue reading

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blogger, blogging, film, film blogger, film blogging, film reviews, films, fucking awesome, fucking beautiful, fucking sweet, fucking weird, reviews, Uncategorized

Tuesday’s Reviews – The Shape of Water (2017)

shapewater5_star_rating_system_4_and_a_half_starsThere was a time when I used to watch most if not all of the Oscar nominated films well before the awards. This year, the 90th Academy Awards is being held the night before my 30th birthday (aka the reason I’m watching so many films from 1988 this year), which, thanks to my colleagues, I am reliably informed is a mere 27 days away. The only film I’d watched up until this point was Dunkirk, which you may remember I reviewed back in August out of spite. I figured it was about time I do something about this so set about watching as many of the movies nominated for ‘Best Film’ this year. 9 films in 27 days? Along with everything else I have to do? I’m going to be honest, I probably won’t manage it but I’ll give it a damn good try. Who needs sleep anyway? I know that everyone has been jizzing all over Call Me by Your Name recently but, as good as I think it might be, I find it hard to believe it genuinely was the best film of last year. So, instead, I decided to start with the film that I was most excited about. Also, the weirdest looking film in the whole bunch but what do you expect from someone like Guillermo del Toro?

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1988, 80s, bullshit, childhood, film, film blogging, film reviews, films, fucking weird, meh, review, robot, sci-fi, sequel, silly, TBT

Throwback Thirty – Short Circuit 2 (1988)

5_star_rating_system_1_star Thankfully, I was able to catch up with myself for Throwback Thirty this week. After failing to watch Short Circuit 2 after I drew it out of my jar I actually managed it for today. Yesterday I settle down and had an afternoon of Johnny 5. It’s been ages since I last say Short Circuit so I wanted to remind myself… you know, in case it was too difficult to work out what was going on! Other than reminding me of how much I adore Ally Sheedy and causing me to Google (not for the first or the last time) ‘what is Steve Guttenberg doing these days?’, my rewatch of the 1986 science-fiction film wasn’t that memorable. I remember liking this film way more than I did. I don’t even think I had much of a warm nostalgic feeling about it. It just seemed a bit shit now. Of course, it was always shit but when you’re a kid nothing with a talking robot will ever be completely terrible, right? I mean, if I’m honest, the talking robot was still pretty cool as a nearly 30 year old but I was still disappointed with the film. So, it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I sat down to watch the sequel for the first time. If there’s one thing we know it’s that the sequel is always worse than the original… and I say that as a younger twin. So I know what I’m talking about.

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adaptation, film, film blogger, film blogging, film reviews, films, fucking funny, fucking weird, James Franco, review, Seth Rogen, The Room, Tommy Wiseau

Tuesday’s Reviews – The Disaster Artist (2017)

There’s something about a bad movie that just drags you in, isn’t there? It’s like a car crash; you don’t want to look but you can’t take your eyes off it. I have to admit that Mama Mia is one of my least favourite films. I genuinely believe that it has no redeeming features… well maybe with the slight exception of Julie Walters but she’d be worth watching in anything. I don’t get why people love it so much. None of the cast have chemistry together, the singing is so unpredictable, the dancing is laughable, and Phyllida Lloyd clearly has no idea how to direct anything that isn’t on a stage. Then there’s the basics like the boring and ridiculous story which is super difficult to give a shit about. In my second year of university I went camping with some of my friends and for the entire journey to the Lake District we listened to the soundtrack of this film and I was desperate to beat myself over the head with the tent mallet. Yet, every so often I get the terrible urge to watch Mama Mia even though I know I’ll have a dreadful time. It’s not quite one of those films I would describe as being “so bad it’s good” but it all adds up to the same thing. There’s something comforting and wonderful about a film that is that bad. It is entirely possible to find some sort of perverse pleasure in indulging in something you hate and something that you know is terrible. It can become something of an obsession. Something that I know more than a little bit about.

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America, bullshit, Christmas, films, fucking awful, fucking weird, meh, TBT

TBT – A Christmas Story (1983)

Everyone has their own favourite Christmas film. It’s a deeply personal and, often, confusing thing. I, personally, don’t understand why anyone would say anything other than The Muppets’ Christmas Carol but there are some weirdos out there. Love Actually is one of the those films that genuinely baffles me. There is so much love for that film but, when you really look at it, it’s just awful. I know people who willingly watch it repeatedly throughout December. Who would do that to themselves? Netflix should stop trying to shame fans of A Christmas Prince and starting calling out the people who are watching Love Actually again and again. They’re the real worries. Alongside the more contemporary Christmas viewing there are the real classic Christmas films that people just adore. Although, not all of them seem to be as popular over here as they are in America. I don’t know why but it feels like A Christmas Story hasn’t really translated to the UK market in the same way that most other Christmas films have. Every year I see and hear loads about it but, up until recently, I’d never seen the film myself. I knew quotes from it but had no context for them. After a recent prompt for an Instagram challenge I’m doing this month referenced the film, I decided it was finally time to watch it. After all, people seem to bloody love this film. Why else would it be played over and over for 24 straight hours? Oh god, imagine a world where somebody starts doing that for Love Actually? I couldn’t cope.

Now that I have seen A Christmas Story I have to say, I don’t get it. I was so ready for it to be the greatest thing I’d ever seen but I just don’t get it. I mean, it’s a fine collection of stories and all but it’s nowhere near as funny or endearing as I’d been lead to believe. The film is narrated by adult Ralphie Parker as he reminisces about the Christmas he had when he was 9 years old. Specifically about how desperate he was to get his dream present: a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. Unfortunately, as he’s only a fucking kid, most sensible adults see this as a bad idea. Ralphie isn’t one to be stopped so tries every trick he can think of to convince his parents that it’s a good idea. Along the way, there are several smaller plots going on including Ralphie’s father winning a ridiculous prize in a competition, an ongoing joke concerning his dad and the neighbours’ dogs, Ralphie’s encounters with the school bully, and a brief encounter with some ill-advised swearing.

A Christmas Story is a very odd film that attempts to win favour with its nostalgic setting and fairly twee sensibility. The story is set around the 1940s so there is a slightly magical feel to everything. It’s a little historic whilst being incredibly familiar. Hearkening back to a time when Christmas was much less commercial and families thought about the more important things. Although, there is something quite off-putting about the setting. It feels too forced. I just couldn’t get on board with it. I like nostalgic TV but it has too feel natural. Take something like Mad Men, which makes the historical references work within the context of the story. A Christmas Story just seems to be using the past as a way to create a feeling that it is unable to generate naturally. Using nostalgia to create a festive ambience.

It’s not as if there aren’t good moments in this film but they are somewhat outweighed by the bad. For all the jokes that land fairly well, there are far more that just feel forced or cringey. There are parts of this film that make me feel so uncomfortable because they’re so bad. Like the moment Ralphie’s father is opening a crate and misreads the word “fragile” for no reason whatsoever. It’s not funny or silly. It doesn’t make any sense. Just like the whole film. I get that it is supposed to have the feel of several small vignettes coming together to create a festive treat but it just feels too disparate. There is nothing, other than Ralphie, that really ties these stories together. It just feels badly edited and unconnected. And super long. It’s not actually that long a film but watching it felt like a fucking marathon. I can’t imagine how long a 24 hour repeated watch would feel.

I guess it’s entirely possible that I’m missing something that I’d get if I was in America. Maybe that’s why the film hasn’t really made it over here. Something fundamental has been lost in translation. All I do know is, this film certainly won’t make it into my yearly festive rotation of films. It’s not the worst Christmas film I’ve ever seen but it’s certainly not an experience I’m keen to repeat.

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Christmas, films, fucking awful, fucking twee, fucking weird, Netflix, rom-com, romance, so bad it's good, teen movie

Tuesday’s Reviews – A Christmas Prince (2017)

You gotta love Netflix. I mean the platform has revolutionised how we all consume television and film. It’s made our lives all so much easier for such a small price. I’m waiting for the day they get their own version of the cinema where you can pay to watch current film releases from the comfort of you own home for a small fee. But until that day Netflix is on hand to provide its own original programming. Let’s be honest, what with Stranger Things and everything Marvel related, the site is nailing the television element. Although, they haven’t exactly found their niche when it comes to films. They’ve done some great things and some truly horrendous things. Something that it is more than willing to admit. Yesterday, 11th December, the twitter account tweeted the following:

To the 53 people who’ve watched A Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days: Who hurt you?

You gotta admit that that’s a bold move on behalf of their social media person. Not only are they openly calling their newest Christmas release shit but they’re making it seem as though they use their stats to mock their members. I know that, supposedly, there’s no such thing as bad publicity but this might be one of the exceptions. This tweet didn’t really get me thinking about Netflix and their use of my viewing data. I assumed they’d be doing all sorts of shit with that anyway. No, it got me thinking, just how bad is A Christmas Prince?

If, like me, you’re more obsessed with Buzzfeed than you should be, then you’ll have been seeing stuff about A Christmas Prince for ages now. It’s one of those films that appeared on my Netflix home page and I just ignored it. I mean I bloody love Christmas films but it wasn’t going to be top of my viewing list any time soon. Maybe if you’d taken it back to the 90s/early 2000s and cast Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray in the main roles I’d be all over that shit. Now? With that cast? I wasn’t in any rush to see it. But, if I’m being very honest, I did assume I’d watch it. Most probably on Christmas Eve after an awful day at work when I couldn’t focus on anything else.

Anyway, considering the massive hype I’d seen surrounding the film and needing to write something for this blog, I decided it was finally time to sit down and watch it. I mean it’s only about 90 minutes long and it was hardly going to be too taxing for me. It’s classic teen girl romantic comedy. You could take out a checklist and tick everything of because it’s all there: girl struggling to make as a writer; handsome Prince; sick younger sibling; strict mother; bitchy romantic competition; and an evil cousin. It’s also got a Christmas tree in basically every scene just because you can’t ever forget that he’s not just a Prince: he’s a Christmas Prince.

This film is a mash-up of so many shitty romantic comedies. A young wannabe writer gets the chance of a lifetime to write a story on the complicated situation with the royal family of Aldovia (a generic European country where everyone speaks with a British accent and everything is twee and old-fashioned). The King is dead but his heir, Prince Richard, wants to relinquish his hold on the throne. Rumour has it the young prince is too much of a playboy to bother with ruling over his people so our heroine, Amber, must find out what’s going on. Unfortunately, she is mistaken for the tutor brought in to teach Richard’s young sister, Emily, who suffers for spina bifida. Amber decides to keep up with the charade in order to find her story.

I don’t really need to spell out what happens next do I? It’s all so basic and unoriginal that it’s as if Netflix wrote this using a teen romance algorithm. You know that episode of South Park where the kids discover that family guy is written by manatees choosing balls at random? I imagine a similar situation except with Christmas Elves opening crackers or some other festive shit. There’s no real attempt to make this film funny, good, or original. So much of this is frustratingly bad and doesn’t make sense. I don’t understand the motivations of anyone. The mood and character of everyone changes in the blink of an eye to help move the plot along. The main character is an awful manic pixie dream girl type who definitely wouldn’t be trusted to write this kind of story. And, finally, at the end of the film she starts a new blog, writes one post and gets 20,000 views in 3 days. I mean that’s fucking nonsense. 

Except, despite hating so much about this film I didn’t exactly hate it. There’s something addictive about such terrible stuff. I hate everything about the film Mama Mia but have the urge to watch it occasionally. For the past two days, a friend at work and I have been constantly quoting Tommy Wisseau from The Room because it’s so fucking funny. Most bad films (like Geostorm) are so bad that they’re just bad. Occasionally. though, bad film will come along that makes your heart soar because of how bad it is. You almost become proud that it was even made. It’s like rooting for the underdog. This is the film equivalent of Eddie the Eagle or something. You know it’s got no substance but you can’t stop yourself cheering for it… and isn’t that what Christmas is really about? It’s not but who cares?

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adaptation, British, Channing Tatum, Colin Firth, comic book, comic books, films, fucking funny, fucking weird, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Mark Strong, Matthew Vaughn, reviews, spy

Tuesday’s Reviews – Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed the first Kingsman movie. It was an insane but really enjoyable spy film that even managed to make Colin Firth seem edgy and cool. I never would have thought it was possible but I guess Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman did the same thing with Nicolas Cage in Kickass. Kingsman is one of those weird films that everyone seems to love. Even my mother watched it when it was on Netflix. It had the benefit of being batshit crazy, incredibly funny, and well-made. It was perfectly over-the-top and a perfect antidote for the decreasingly self-aware Bond franchise. In recent years, James Bond has gone from being a camp British icon to something of a Hollywood bad boy. He no longer feels the need for insane and unnecessary gadgetry and, instead, uses her sheer muscle mass and martial arts skills to get the job done. Kickass took us back to a time when spies were gentlemen carrying umbrella guns and exploding pens. It was great. So, I was pretty gosh darn excited by the prospect of the second one. Especially when it was announced that Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges and Halle Berry were all joining the cast as an American version of the UK’s Kingsman organisation. All 3 of those actors are, in their own way, incredibly talented. As you probably know if you’ve read some of my stuff before, I have developed a love of Channing Tatum since I discovered he has a sense of humour about himself and now I long to see all of his films. I swear it’s all about his comic timing… there’s definitely nothing of interest to me underneath his shirt. No way. Never.
The sequel to Matthew Vaughn’s 2005 spy film, Kingsman: The Secret Service doesn’t so much try to carry on the great things as it tries to overshadow them. There is no sense that the second film in the series is going to take things lying down. It is bigger, brasher, more violent and even sillier. Yes, that’s right, even sillier than a film starring an assassin with blades for legs. This one does star Elton John though. Considering how weird the first film is, it’was incredibly unlikely that I’d ever be able to sit and say the second film makes it look almost normal in comparison. But it does. The Golden Circle could certainly do with some refinement but it still contains the same breathtaking stunts and camera work that made the first film so entertaining. As long as your basic requirements for this film revolve around good guys kicking the arses of bad guys then it’ll be satisfying enough.

The Golden Circle sees the unlikely hero from the first film, Eggsy (Taron Egerton), coming up against a dangerous drug baron, Poppy (Julianne Moore), who is essentially holding the world’s drug users to ransom. When Eggsy has a near-death run in with former Kingsman applicant Charlie he finds himself on the tail of the Golden Circle; a drugs cartel who rules the world’s drug trade. When Poppy poisons her merchandise, drugs users all over the globe start showing signs of an illness which leads to a quick and horrible death. Poppy plans to make a deal with President of the United States but, after the rest of the Kingsman were taken out, Eggsy seeks help from his American counterparts, the Statesmen, to bring her down.

It is the introduction of the Statesmen that gives this film such a different feel. Once the majority of the orignal cast have been dispensed with, Eggsy is left with only Merlin (Mark Strong) for company. So we are introduced to American agents in the shape of Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry and Pedro Pascal. All these characters show great potential but they never quite excite as much as the original cast. There is a certain amount of chemistry missing between the newbies and the olds here. You’ll miss the interactions between Eggsy and his mentor Harry (Colin Firth) or his fellow new Kingsman Roxy. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Pedro Pascal’s face but even watching him utilise an electro lasso doesn’t make up for the absences.

There is a lot of bloat in this second film that really slows the film down. Not only have we got to go through the process of finding and introducing the Statesmen, which messes with the pace, but then we find out Harry is alive. It’s not exactly a spoiler because he’s been all over the promotional material but, yes, after his grizzly death in the first film Harry is back… kind of. I like Colin Firth in the first film but his return here takes way too much time away from the main story. It ultimately doesn’t add enough to justify lengthening the film that much. No matter how cool Firth looks in an eye patch.

It is not until late on that the film really gets going. After the opening fight scene, that’s where we see most of the super impressive and visually stunning fight scenes that the first film got so right. I mean, speaking critically, I could have done without the rehash of the original’s “manners maketh man” scene but Pedro Pascal is so phenomenally sexy that I can forgive it. It is these insane and completely cartoon-like fight scenes that make the Kingsman films so fantastic. The visual gags, stunts and CGI all come together to create something so absurd yet so appealing. The filmmakers know what they’re doing by now so they’re all pretty by the book but they will still capture an audiences’ attention.

I can’t say that I liked this film more than the original but I did like this film. Well, most of this film. There is a horrible, creepy and unnecessary plot strand that sees Eggsy have to plant a tracking device in an incredibly intimate area that just feels misjudged…. especially in this current climate in Hollywood. However, the rest of the film is silly and funny enough to keep fans of the first film relatively happy. Even if Channing Tatum is horribly underused and overdressed for the duration.

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biopic, comedy, films, fucking weird, Jim Carrey, life story, TBT

TBT – Man on the Moon (1999)


As I said in my Tuesday’s Review of Jim & Andy this week, I’m sure that I’ve seen Man on the Moon at some point in my life but, for whatever reason, I couldn’t remember it. I guess it’s mostly because I really don’t know who Andy Kaufman is. Not only was he not really a ‘thing’ in the UK but I wasn’t even born when he died. I’d heard of him but certainly had no real appreciation of his popularity or supposed genius. My interest in this film will basically have come down to my interest in Jim Carrey. As with most people around my age, he was probably one of my favourite actors growing up. As I kid my sister and I loved his films. We rented the VHS of Liar, Liar on a number of occasions and I’m pretty sure we watched The Mask so much that the ribbon started wearing down. Oh my god, 90s kid problems, am I right? Kids today… etc etc etc. So, after watching the documentary this week and with the film currently being available on BBC iPlayer, I decided it was only fair that I rewatch it for today’s review. This isn’t exactly going to be a massive review but it’s taking me ages. Not because of the film but because I’m procrastinating. I’m heading to London tomorrow to stay with a friend and I need to get my stuff together. Instead, I’m watching some shitty cooking show on Netflix and not writing this. I’m definitely going to regret this when it gets to midnight and I still don’t have my clothes ready for the morning. I’m nearly 30, when exactly does the part of my adult brain kick in that gets me to pack quickly and efficiently? I miss the days when I wasn’t expected to do anything the night before we went on holiday. Conveniently, the days that this film would have been coming out.

Andy Kaufman was the kind of person that delighted in confusing and tricking his audiences. That’s why the opening to this film feels like the most appropriate tribute to him. It starts with the man himself (played by Jim Carrey) explaining that the film was so bad that he edited it down. In fact, the film was so terrible that all that could be saved was the end credits, which proceed to roll as Andy plays a record on repeat. Moments after the credits finish Andy returns to the screen to explain that was a test to ensure his audience were the kind of people that would understand his humour and appreciate what he was trying to do. It’s a simple but very effective way of getting across the real genius of Kaufman before we learn anything about him. It’s a stand out moment and a great way to kick things off.

After the opening things start to get a little less exciting. We see snippets of Andy’s life from being a child performing in his bedroom to his huge show at Carnegie Hall. He has a lot of difficulty in finding his place as people just don’t understand what he’s doing. A lot of what he does is intentionally terrible and playing up on the silliness. He doesn’t fit in with the traditional stand-up vibe so has to make sacrifices to get to the top. Most notably taking a job on the popular sitcom Taxi, a decision that he didn’t want to make but agreed to in order to get his own network special. Andy delights in confusing his audience and tricking them. The greatest example of this is his most famous alter ego; the obnoxious lounge singer Tony Clifton. Clifton was loud, difficult and insulting. The perfect antithesis to Kaufman’s own more innocent image.

Man on the Moon is your basic biographical film about a comedian. There really is only so far you can take it before it becomes a recreation rather than an exploration. Watching it now, especially after watching the documentary, I couldn’t help but feel that it didn’t really go far in getting to grips with Kaufam and, instead, just replayed the major events that lead to his success. We see Carrey perform snippets of his most famous routines but there it’s all too brief. We watch a lot of people trying to cnonvince other people that Kaufman is a genius but the evidence isn’t always there. Then there’s the fact that the film presents the entertainer as wholly positive. There is never a sense that anything he does, for whatever reason, is questionable. This isn’t a hard-hitting look at the life of a popular performer but more of a celebration of his greatness.

But maybe that has something to do with the tragic circumstances surrounding his death. Kaufman was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1983. The end of the film focuses on his struggle with the illness and, quite frankly, the scenes are emotional. Aside from the opening, it is the final few scenes that provide the greatest moments in the film. Watching as his friends and family come to terms with the news and seeing Andy struggle with the idea of his mortality are played as straight as they should be. Kaufman was only 35 when he died, which is obviously no age at all. I’m not say his short life shouldn’t be celebrated but I couldn’t help but wonder if Andy’s death pushed the whole film more towards the sentimental than the analytical.

There is a question, particularly with the image that Carrey and co. have created in the documentary, that there is a greater story behind the scenes. The documentary wanted, but failed, to start a conversation about the madness behind performance. In Man on the Moon Kaufman is hailed as a genius who subverted comedy and changed the fucking world. But how much of the innocent, man-child image the real story? What of the madness that lay behind Kaufman’s need to lie and cheat his audience? I couldn’t help but feel that there is a bigger question everyone is ignoring. Just what possessed Kaufman to act the way he did and why was everyone happy to let it happen? I’m sure he was funny but he also seemed like a huge dick.

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behind the scenes, Danny DeVito, documentary, films, fucking ridiculous, fucking weird, Jim Carrey, Netflix

Tuesday’s Reviews – Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017)

I first saw the trailer for this Netflix documentary on Facebook and I was obsessed. To be fair though, I’ve been obsessed with Jim Carey’s descent into whatever kind of existential crisis or performance art he’s been going through over recent years. Watching him declare his love for Emma Stone and talk about his shitty paintings with absolute sincerity has been super fascinating. So to get the chance to see the supposedly buried behind the scenes footage of the 1999 film Man on the Moon. The trailer promised footage so outrageous that Universal didn’t want it to be released in case Carey came across as “an asshole”. I mean who wouldn’t be interested in that? Although, I can’t say that I really remember the film. I’m absolutely positive that I’ve seen it because I have the vivid image of its opening scene in my head. It may just be because it’s so iconic but I’m sure I remember watching that black and white shot of Carey as Andy Kaufman in front of a black screen apologising for having to cut the movie down to that opening scene. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. I still really wanted to watch this documentary. Mainly because, as a kid, I loved Jim Carey films. My sister and I were obsessed with the second Ace Ventura film and I can’t even begin to describe how much I still love The Mask. Oh, and the bloopers for Liar, Liar, we would absolutely piss ourselves every time we heard him say the word “goose”. Plus, you know, I love it when famous people start to go insane. Like when Robbie Williams started talking about how he believed in aliens. I loved it.

There was such a lot of mythology surrounding the film detailing the life of entertainer Andy Kaufman. Possibly because there was so much mythology surrounding the man himself. How can you trust anything regarding a man who tricked so many people with his intricate performances and whose own death created a strong conspiracy theory about it being fake. So much of Andy Kaufman’s career was based around perception: how he wanted people to see him and how he manipulated their view. It’s a fascinating concept and it wouldn’t really be surprising to discover that all the stories of Jim Carey, who played Kaufman in the film, going super method whilst filming were all just fake. I guess it would be quite a fitting tribute to the man himself. However, Jim & Andy the new documentary from director Chris Smith, attempts to prove that everything we think we know to be true is, in fact, the truth.

The film knits together behind the scenes footage from Milos Forman’s Man on the Moon with clips of both Kaufman and Carey’s similar journey’s towards fame, and recent footage of an interview with Carey about his experience. The film tries desperately to present itself as an in-depth analysis of fame, performance, art and the madness that lies so closely behind it all. The only problem is, Jim & Andy isn’t as deep or intellectual as it thinks it is. On the plus side, the film is incredibly watchable. The behind the scenes footage is fascinating and there are moments within the present-day interview with Carey that are surprisingly thought provoking. It’s just a shame that it all starts to wear a little thin a bit too quickly.

There are clear connections between the two performers that the film seems too desperate to highlight. As if Carey was destined to play him because they were one and the same. It’s an interesting idea but it all starts to get lost when Carey starts getting too psychoanalytical with his career choices. After a while, this starts to feel like a great insight into a man who uses comedy as an escape but more about perfecting the performance of a man in his 50s trying to seem introspective. The problem with Carey, as it was for Kaufman, is that you never know how much to take seriously. What is real and what is just part of the act? Is this all part of the same build-up he’s been setting up in the last few years before he reaches the mother of all punchlines?

I mean how much can we really believe this documentary anyway? Did Carey really stay in character as Andy Kaufman or his alter ego Tony Clifton for the entire shoot? Or was it simply for the behind the scenes footage? Does it matter? I don’t know. What I do know is that the footage is great to watch as we see Carey refuse to be referred to as Jim whilst he embraces Andy and Tony totally. It, obviously, causes a load of tension on set and makes things incredibly difficult. Some of his co-stars think it’s hilarious whilst others are, understandably pissed. There are some weird but tender moments where Andy’s real family have encounters with Carey in the guise of Andy. It’s compelling viewing and, whether it’s real or not, is a great story. The family are able to get some form of catharsis thanks to this man who is pretending to be their son or brother. But, at the same time, it all feels a bit too weird to ring true. We’ll never really know and, to be honest, that’s exactly how Kaufam would have wanted it.

Jim and Andy sets out to tell the untold story of the making of Man on the Moon whilst also highlighting the talent of the two performers at its core. The documentary only highlights the original film’s argument that Kaufman was a one of a kind performer who has nor ever will be matched. It also goes to great lengths to do the same for Jim Carey himself. Jim and Andy is, as I’ve mentioned, a very watchable film but, really, it needed to be shorter. We get the basic message it’s selling very quickly so a lot of the film is just going back on familiar ground. Instead, there are moments when it starts to feel like a vanity project for an actor who has long since faded into the background. This is the Jim Carey show and he plays his part with utter sincerity. Either he’s doing a great job at playing the role he’s created or he really has just become absorbed in the idea of his own greatness. Your individual viewpoint on that topic will have a major impact on how you view this film. Either way, it’s worth a watch.

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