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Talk Radio (1988)

 -  Drama  -  13 January 1989 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 8,739 users  
Reviews: 73 user | 35 critic

A rude, contemptuous talk show host becomes overwhelmed by the hatred that surrounds his program just before it goes national.

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Title: Talk Radio (1988)

Talk Radio (1988) on IMDb 7.2/10

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3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Laura
...
Stu
...
Dan
...
Dietz
...
Linda Atkinson ...
Sheila Fleming
...
Jeffrey Fisher / Francine
...
Sid Greenberg
Tony Frank ...
Dino
Harlan Jordan ...
Bill Johnson ...
Fan #1
Kevin Howard ...
Fan #2
...
Woman at Basketball Game / Denise
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Storyline

An acerbic radio talk show host based in Dallas starts what could be an important few days when he discovers that his controversial late night show is about to be "picked up" by a nationwide network of radio stations. However, all is not perfect for him, because on top of troubles with his love life and fears that the management of the network will try to alter the content of his show he has to cope with a neo-nazi group who have been angered by his forthright opinions. Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The last neighborhood in America. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 January 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

As Vozes da Ira  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$3,468,572 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The announcer for the radio station is the voice of Chip Moody, who was the news anchor for WFAA, Dallas' ABC affiliate. See more »

Goofs

After picking up Ellen from the airport the car that Barry is driving is in "Park." This can be seen in the shots through the windshield. See more »

Quotes

Chet: So now everyone in the country can hear your big mouth flap.
Barry: Oh, Chet. So nice to hear from you again. Shouldn't you be out burning crosses or molesting children or something?
Chet: I'd rather be talking to you.
Barry: Or training pit bulls?
Chet: You think you're so smart... You get the package I sent down to the station?
Barry: Package?
Chet: You got it, I know you did.
Barry: [Sarcastic] You sent me a present, Chet?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Clerks. (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Bad to the Bone
Written by George Thorogood
Performed by Michael Wetherwax
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Still one of Oliver Stone's directorial triumphs; Bogosian is captivating
10 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In one of the more under-seen films of the late 1980's, at a time when Oliver Stone was riding high with Platoon and Wall Street (and before his opus Born on the Fourth of July), he co-scripted and directed this look at the world of radio, specifically one radio host in the middle of Texas. This man is Barry Champlain, in a once-in-a-career turn from Eric Bogosian, who wrote the original play and also co-wrote the script. Barry is like a mix of Howard Stern and one of those pundits you hear on the radio stations many of us might turn off. He's got ideas on his mind, opinions, and he's not only un-afraid to speak them, but also to stand up against the phone callers. The callers, indeed, are the driving force in the film, as Barry has to combat against the mindless, the obscene, the racist, and the purely absent-minded. As this goes on, he also has to contend with his boss (Alec Baldwin) and a hit or miss deal to go nationwide, outside the confines of the Southern way station he's in.

While after seeing the film I felt curious as to see how it would've been done on stage (I'd imagine it was a one-man show, as Bogosian has had several on the side), the direction of the film is phenomenal. Stone has been known, almost typecast, as a director who loves quick cuts, the limitless effects of montage, and effects with the styles of camera-work and other little tricks, that give his films in the 90's a distinctive, almost auteur look. But in the 80's he had this energy and feverish quality to the look of the film, and wasn't as frenzied as the other films. In order to add the proper intensity that is within the studio and head-space of Barry Champlain, he and DP Robert Richardson make the space seem claustrophobic at times, gritty, un-sure, and definitely on edge. The scenes in the middle of the film, when Barry isn't in the studio, are fairly standard, but the style along with the substance in the radio scenes is among the best I've seen from the Stone/Richardson combination.

And one cannot miscalculate the performance of Bogosian, who can be obnoxious, offensive, angered, passive, and everything that we love and hate in radio show hosts. There is also a funny, near distracting supporting role for Michael Wincott as Kent/Michael/Joe, who prank calls him one night, and the next gets invited to the studio. These scenes are a little uncomfortable for a viewer, but it does get very much into the subculture head-space of the 80's that Barry is as intrigued as he is critical of. The stoner may not 'get it', but as he says to him "it's your show". Indeed, it's hard to cover everything that goes on within the talk, and there is a lot of it. But it's never boring, and like Champlain himself, it's not easy to ignore. And when Bogosian goes into his climactic tirade on air, with the background panning around in a continuous 360 spin, it becomes intoxicating, and a reason why freedom of speech is so powerful.

Stone has been synonymous as a filmmaker of hot-button issues, who takes on subjects that were or still are controversial, and gives them a life-force that isn't always great, but is all his own. Here his skills and ambitions don't get in the way of Bogosian's- it's boosted, if anything, making an extremely skilled vision of what is essentially a near one-man show, which in and of itself is already well-written.


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