Man on the Moon (1999)

Damn, what a time capsule this movie is.  Remember way back in 1999 when Jim Carrey was considered a genius instead of an annoyance?  Oh, precious memories.  Now it just seems like he’s either doing the greatest Andy Kaufman real life impersonation ever, or he’s just “sold out”.  If you want to be truly amazed at what a time capsule this movie is, look at all the actors that I’ve tagged for this movie.  Patton Oswalt with a mustache and mullet!  David Koechner not acting like an ass!  Mary Lynn Rajskub barely recognizable!  Courtney Love looking like a real live human being!

Now if you’ve been reading my reviews for the past couple days, you’ll know that I’ve been on kind of a professional wrestling string of movies.  Sometimes I try to extend these things, and this isn’t one of those tenuous strings, it’s a legitimate connection.  Back in the early 80s when wrestling was still a territorial business, Kaufman went down to Memphis to continue to play his misogynistic blowhard Intergender Wrestling Champion character.  Memphis is Jerry “The King” Lawler country, back then and to a certain level, still today.

The only way to describe what Kaufman and Lawler pulled off back then is brilliant.  Kaufman put himself over as one of the all-time greatest heels in wrestling history.  Granted, it was somewhat cheap heat, but the venom the crowds spewed at him, man, you don’t see that kinda passionate hatred every wrestling show.  I realise I’m using a lot of wrestling jargon here, so I’ll cut this part short, but it still amazes me to this day how well it was pulled off.

It’s hard to say which Carrey performance I enjoy more, his spot-on portrayal of Kaufman, or his touching performance in The Truman Show.  Normally I disdain biopics, as they’re the second easiest kind of awards show fodder (right after “half retard” (never go “full retard”)), but the acting that director Miloš Forman got out of Carrey was nothing short of otherworldly.  The entire cast is wonderful, from Carrey to the awesome Paul Giamatti to the understated Danny DeDevito.  Usually these biopics kinda feel a bit hollow and fake, but you can tell there was a lot of love from these actors for the real Andy Kaufman, and the whole movie is genuinely heartwarming in my books.

5 / 5

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About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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