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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

The Shut In Blues

Author: sol from Brooklyn NY USA
11 December 2003

******SPOILERS****** From what I can gather from watching the movie "Inside Out" about Jimmy Morgan, Elliott Gould, is that Jimmy led a normal life. Having a wife, Elizabeth, whom he's divorced from, and an 11 year old daughter Heather, Nicole Nourmand. It wasn't until about four years ago when his father died and left to him the position as co-partner with Leo Gross, Dana Elcar, in a company that Jimmy's life started to drastically change.

It seemed that not long after Jimmy was given the responsibility of co-running the business with Leo that he started re-living his second childhood. Even far more disturbing then that Jimmy became seriously agoraphobic, a phobia that causes a person to fear open spaces, and never left his apartment to go outside and mingle with people.

When we first see Jimmy in the movie he's living "The life of Reilly" foolishly spending and gambling away everything that Leo and his father worked so hard for all those years. Because Jimmy wasn't taking care of the business that his father entrusted him with Leo was becoming greatly alarmed with Jimmies irresponsible actions which was endangering the future of the business that they both ran. He started to set up a dummy cooperation, American Unified, where he was the only stock holder and began funneling some $600,000.00 in cash into it without Jimmies knowledge.

Leo knows that Jimmy doesn't bother to read anything that he sends him to sign and that he's only interested in the weekly allowance that he gets from the company to spend and gamble away. This has Leo get Jimmy to unknowingly signs away his share of the business that he's a partner with thus thus leaving Jimmy without having any job or income to support himself. Also because of Jimmies extreme agoraphobia he became more and more obsessed with his gambling on sporting events. It's wasn't that long after a recession hit Wall Street the the money that his father left him in a stock market account dwindled down to almost nothing.

Jimmy runs up a $52,000.00 tab to his bookie who was taking his action with only about $2,000.00 in his account to pay it off. Desperate to pay off his gambling debt Jimmy had to sell everything that he owned to keep the mob, whom his bookie worked for, from breaking his legs or even worse. Jimmy is now left without money, without hope, without a place to live and without any friends to help him in facing the outside world that he shut himself off from for the last four years. And the fear of having to go outside and face that world terrifies Jimmy.

In the movie there were some very poignant episodes with people who Jimmy came in contact with. There was Amy, Jeniffer Tilly, a call-girl who was sent from an agency who Jimmy contacted to entertain him. Amy became very caring and understanding of Jimmy when she saw that he was more interested in her company as a friend and not in sex and treated Amy far better then any of the men that she dealt with.

Then there was Jack, Howard Hessemen, a long time friend of Jimmies who hasn't seen him in years who came in from LA to visit him. Jack, after a short time, realizing what a serious problem Jimmy had tried to get him to go outside in the world with him which resulted in Jimmy almost having a nervous breakdown as well as almost ending their friendship.

There was the homeless man, Timothy Scott, who tried to get out of the freezing cold by staying in the lobby of Jimmies apartment. When he heard Jimmy talking to him through the TV inter-con in the lobby he apologetically offered to leave but Jimmy told him it was all right for him to stay and even ordered from a local deli sandwiches and coffee for him.

And finally there was Jimmies 11 year old daughter Heather that Jimmy would do anything for, Jimmy even bought her a St. Bernard puppy, except go to the football game with her or even go with her outside for a walk in the park. I really think that Elliott Gould's fine performance as a shut-in in the movie "Inside Out" was the main reason that he was cast in the role as Bergstrom, the reclusive but powerful power broker as well as political king maker, in the top HBO series "K Street" some seventeen years later.

Elliott Gould's acting in the movie is the most impressive that I've ever seen from any actor in a movie that I can remember. Gould covered every emotion that a actor can possibly evoke in a movie or play: Anger,fear,love,hate,arrogance, humility,and even comedy all within the 90 minutes of the movie. With Gould doing it as convincingly as it would take any good actor to do it in a dozen movies with a dozen different roles but not all at once. It took the fantasy world that Jimmy built around himself those four years to collapse to finally cure him. And it was the most extensive form of shock treatment ever put on film, without a single volt of electricity.

A highly underrated and overlooked film with Elliott Gould giving a once-in-a-lifetime performance in one of the hardest roles ever given for an actor to portray. Try to see if it's available on VHS or DVD or if it's scheduled to be broadcast on cable-TV and try not to miss it; Believe me the movie is really that good.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

keeping the world at arm's length

Author: Michael Neumann from United States
28 November 2010

How many people, given the opportunity, might be tempted to bolt their doors and draw the blinds and never again emerge from the comfort and complacency of their own homes? That's the basic idea behind this intriguing urban fantasy about the fragile luxury of alienation, starring Elliott Gould as a wealthy, self-sufficient bachelor living a remote controlled life in his Manhattan apartment. He never once ventures outside, at first apparently because he doesn't need to but eventually because he isn't able to, and the character changes with chilling predictability from eccentric to disturbed to disabled as the carpet of his financial security is slowly pulled out from under him. The mood is one of controlled desperation and mounting claustrophobia, all maintained in an economic, undemonstrative screenplay, which more or less keeps silent about its intentions. The viewer is left to fill in the appropriate blanks, something moviegoers aren't challenged to do very often.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Elliott Gould at his agoraphobic best

Author: douggers from United States
27 February 2008

Jimmy Morgan lives in a self-contained world: a serious agoraphobic, he never leaves his apartment and his main connection with the world is the telephone. After all, everything he needs is right there or it can be sent for, like his regular call girl. He doesn't have to work because his father left him a large bank account and a half interest in the family business. Jimmy thinks he's well off in his self-imposed version of solitary confinement, but a swift fate hangs over him, for he is a gambling addict and he's been emptying his bank account to pay off his mob-owned bookie. Worse yet, he signs documents he hasn't read and the last one he signed turned control of his share of the business over to his unscrupulous partner Leo, who has siphoned all the money away. Jimmy's only close connection to his family is his adoring 11-year-old daughter, who seems blissfully unaware of her father's deteriorating mental health and looming financial crisis.

All the bad news comes at once, as Jimmy finds he's lost his half of the business and the fact that he owes his bookie $52,000. He knows the mob will do him serious bodily harm if he doesn't come up with the money fast and he's forced to liquidate the entire contents of his apartment, leaving him sitting on the hard floor of a totally empty living room, looking like he's ready to be taken away like the furniture and other valuables he's just lost. In the span of a very short time careless Jimmy, who was too absorbed in his gambling and other pleasures to mind his financial and business affairs, has gone from seemingly prosperous to virtually homeless. The screen fades to black as an unshaven Jimmy, looking like the homeless bum he likely very soon will be, sits on a bench talking to his young daughter, who will soon become another lost item in his life when she moves away with her mother.

Nearly all the characters in Jimmy's orbit are worth mentioning, even though some are heard (over the telephone) but never seen: the ex-wife, who must have been through hell with her lazy, neurotic husband, the male friends who want to help but can't, the hooker who cares for him because of his kindness and crooked partner Leo, who gives a memorable, lashing speech, reminding the irate Jimmy that one who pays no attention to his own business affairs, spends like a drunken sailor and signs contracts he hasn't even read deserves just what he gets.

A tiny but interesting facet of the movie is the homeless man who inhabits the tiny foyer of Jimmy's building. Jimmy even talks to this man via the closed-circuit TV and the intercom and tells the man he can stay where he is overnight to keep out of the cold. The homeless man seems to be symbolic of Jimmy's impending plight and when he disappears you get the feeling that Jimmy won't be long in following him out the door and into the street.

This remarkable movie features a fine cast and an unforgettable performance by Elliott Gould, who deserved an award for this little-known film. I was lucky enough to tape it and wish it would be aired again for the benefit of all who've never seen what Elliott Gould is capable of with material like this.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Upside Down Gem Not to Be Missed!

Author: Zantara Xenophobe from Illinois, USA
20 June 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WARNING: This review has spoilers

To be honest, I didn't really expect much when I popped `Inside Out' into my VCR. I am not usually one that watches a drama, as I find most of Hollywood's drama movies to be boring, contrived, and badly written (like `Stepmom,' for example). It also starred Elliott Gould at a time when his popularity was quickly dwindling down to nothing. But I was really stunned by this. Throughout the whole movie, I knew I was watching an underrated gem, done with a beautiful style despite a limited budget and few sets.

I have never heard of any other movie (though one may exist) that deals with agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces. Writer/director Robert Taicher and Gould really handled the issue well. Instead of forcing the phobia on us bluntly, they ease into it, not coming out and telling you what Gould's situation is, but showing it to you through his actions. It was a nice change for a movie not to treat me like an idiot and just let me listen and learn for myself. How often does that happen anymore? But what really clicked for me was the method in which Taicher flowed the picture. The movie chronicles a couple of weeks in the life of Jimmy Morgan (Gould), focusing on various relationships he has with people, both ones that visit him in his New York apartment and ones he contacts on the telephone. In another movie, these relationships would feel like obscure subplots, but here they are a cohesive whole, all tied in to Jimmy and his phobia. Jimmy is co-owner of an investment business that has made him a good sum of money, both before and after he shut himself in his apartment and let his partner Leo (Dana Elcar) handle the business. But lately the business has been doing poorly, and it is possibly that Leo is not being completely honest with Jimmy. That isn't good financially for Jimmy, whose gambling problem, combined with some of his expensive habits, are draining his bank account rapidly. Jimmy also has to pay alimony, and his phobia limits his time spent with his eleven year-old daughter Heather. He soon is informed that his ex-wife is thinking about taking Heather and moving to Chicago. To top it all off, one of Jimmy's old friends, Jack (Howard Hesseman), is visiting New York City and wants to spend some time out with his old pal. At one point Jimmy tells Jack the reason why he won't venture out, but its just a disguise for the root of the problem, which Jimmy finds out for himself in the end.

I loved much of this movie. The scenes with Gould and Hesseman were really good. Hesseman delivers Jack with warm humor like old friends would express, yet he plays the character with seriousness. Also wonderful was Beah Richards as Jimmy's housekeeper Verna. Her dialogue is sharp, particularly in an opening scene with Meshach Taylor, who was so enjoyable that it was a shame he only made one appearance. Jennifer Tilly is also in the movie as a call girl that frequently is requested to visit Jimmy. Her scenes weren't my favorites because they didn't completely fit in with the rest of them, but they are acted out very well. Elcar's screen time is brief, but I really liked his speech to Gould late in the movie. And then there are the scenes were Gould is alone. Again I stress how well this movie emphasized showing over telling. Gould's fascination with a homeless man is quite captivating, particularly when the pieces come together in the end. This all isn't to say the film is perfect, though. Some of the transitions from scene to scene feel abrupt, and all they needed was a shot a visitor in one scene leaving before moving on to the next. **MAJOR SPOILER ALERT** The other thing I didn't like was in the end. The end was great, but since Jimmy was broke, how can things work out for him? I know his loss of possessions is the whole point, but still, one must be realistic! **END OF MAJOR SPOILER**

From what I could find, `Inside Out' had a limited and unsuccessful release, and it was hardly seen by anyone even after it came out to video. Taicher himself has written and directed nothing else. This is a shame. We owe it to Taicher and this fine cast to watch `Inside Out.' Not only does it provide insight on an uncommon phobia, but it is also a fine piece of film-making to experience. 8 out of 10.

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