In recent months, I’ve become almost obsessed with the art of stand-up comedy; both the entertainers who execute it and the method behind doing so.
In my obsession, I came across a name I’d never heard before; the infamous Andy Kaufman. So I continued to read about Mr. Kaufman and found certain interesting clips from his career, however trying to piece them together was like solving a jigsaw puzzle of an M.C. Escher artwork WHILE DRUNK.
That was until, I discovered a film had been made about Andy, starring Jim Carrey, Danny Devito, Courtney Love AND Paul Giamatti. That film was Miloš Forman’s Man on the Moon.
For those who don’t know much about Kaufman, let me try to recap you on his all-too-short life; he was a DaDaist comedian known for his inconsistency, brilliance and all-round silliness.
His talents included singing, playing guitar, impersonating Elvis, wrestling women (specifically to piss people off), pretending to break his neck in a staged fight with Jerry Lawler, taking a whole audience out for milk and cookies and some other bizarre performances included in this biopic.
The film begins promising an underrated and enjoyable gem but as the story progresses, the promise begins to fade and what we get instead is another generic Hollywood biopic. But that isn’t entirely bad…
It opens with Kaufman (Carrey) addressing the audience by stating that the film cut out all of the boring parts of his life, so now there’s nothing left. The credits then begin playing while he stares at the camera. Then the film begins as you’d expect it to, albeit having a far-too-generic vibe.
It’s a fascinating story, no matter how generically it’s directed. It just would’ve been nice for that opening promise of an undiscovered masterpiece to have held.
Jim Carrey is fantastic. Andy Kaufman would not be an easy role to portray as the man himself was so mysterious; there’s no way of knowing what the character was thinking because sometimes even his manager didn’t know. But Carrey still plays the role with enough peculiarity and humanity that it feels right.
Courtney Love does pull back the film a bit. Every time she acts, you’re reminded that you’re watching a film made by people. I know all films are made like that but escapism is the name of the game here guys.
I felt the film didn’t delve deep enough into the mind of the man. We learn a lot about what he did but not a enough about why, but the what is still entertaining.
You won’t remember every moment of Man on the Moon as there are definite highs and lows but overall, it’s enjoyable and interesting enough that I’d recommend it. But I’d suggest researching more on Kaufman afterwards as he’s a fascinating man with a lot to teach about expression.
3 / 5 misunderstood geniuses
What did you think of Man on the Moon? Do you have any idea what was going on in the mind of that man? Could you believe they put a man on the moon? Man on the moooon?
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