Reviews of Man on the Moon
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This film tells the Showbiz life and eventual death of Andy kaufman. He lead a interesting life powered by his own imagination and fealessness when it came to comedy.
Now i have al little insight into the film and andy kaufman as i read his persona writer and best friend Bob Zmuda’s book about him that came out right before the film The thing about the book is that it is a little more revelatory then the film. We learn about Andy’s early life before showbiz where as this film plays into the life story of Andy Kaufman but we only get to see the part of his life when he decided to try showbiz. The art of his comedy was that it was all about performance then actual jokes. he would create characters who were supposed to be comedic but put himself into the character so much he made them real to a point. He was more of a performance artist so much that you never if you ever really got the real andy or if everything in his life was an act or performance. Now i realize that the film can show but so much. In the end that becoes the problem with the film. It feels like agreatest hits package or a best of more then a organic film with real characters.
I like that the spirit of Andy filled the production as Jim Carrey went so deep into character he was andy off the set. There was even talk that if the film was a hit there would be a documentry released of Jim Carrey pulling pranks as Andy and Tony clifton. Unfortunately that was never to be as the film wasn’t the hit it was expected to be. The film was a hot property as The writers Had previously written the well recieved and reviewed scripts for ED WOOD and TH E PEOPLE Vs. Larry Flynt as Milos Forman directed the last film he of course attachedhimself to this film. Which many actors wanted the role of. They even went so far as to audition for the role. Which in hollywood once you become a bankable star is something you don’t usually suffer through. John Cusack, Kevin Spacey, Hank Azaria and Edward Norton all auditioned for the role. Edward Norton almost got it it was between him and Jim Carrey and Milos forman Couldn’t decide sohe left it up to the studio who decided to go with who promised bigger Box office.
The wild spirit of andy kaufman is all over the film. Wcih gives a inside look into his comedy and pranks and is certainly interesting for those in the audience who know nothing of his work. But as someone who does it leaves the film feeling rather stale. Thought he film does recreate great moments while having it’s own. including revealing the truth about a fued that seemed to have lingered even years after kaufman’s death.
The film’s soundtrack and score done by R.E.M. is impressive which goes together since the title of this film is based offof their song about Andy Kaufman.
Yet the film like Andy Kaufman at times doesn’t feel genuine. It feels like everyone is playing dress up instead of investing themselves in characters and moments and the action going on around them. it eems pre-planned. Everyone gives a good performnce but noone seems to act in the film. it feels like performances not natural. Though Jim Carrey totally loses himself in the role without his usal quirks and physicality he usally brings to his roles. Danny Devito is understated in his role as andy’s manager George Shapiro. Devito seemed to be in life the only actor and friend who got him.
At timesthe film get’s annoying by painting him as a hero and future legend. With everyone callinghim great or on his way to greatness. That it get’s annoying at times and feels a bit cliche you almost expect him to cough up blood in one scene while dramtic music plays. Though the film plays well into the irony that he has pulled so many pranks on family and friends most don’t believe him when he tells them he is dying.
Don’t get me wrong i like the film. I just don’t feel it is as great as it could havebeen but that is my bias. The film even features a reunion of the entire TAXI cast excpet for tony danza (Who didn’t get along with kaufman)
The film’s director is Milos Forman who is a great director. My only problem with him is that hedoesn’t seem to do original Stories. Most of his film are based on actual historical events or previously written literture. Films like VALMONT, AMADEUS, HAIR, RAGTIME And ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST. Now whoam i to criticize a man who hasmany film classics under his belt. i know noone can always hit a homerun, but this one obviously will not join his list of classics. Though he shows great range. i would like to se ehim write or pick an original screenplay. he Pciks good material though at times they can feel a bit stuffy while trying to give off a free attitude. I would just like to see him use his artistic instincts and visionary know how on a story that no one has seen or read before.
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- Currently 3.0/5 Stars.