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Tom DiCillo is a young director with a strong personal
much reminiscent of some of Hollywood's great directors of
40's such as Lubitch, Leisen and Sturgess.
Like them his films are light, socially critical and above all reveal a genuine affection for his characters so often lacking in the films of his contemporaries.
This is a world of ruthless superficiality. Appearance is
everything and hence the ultimate prize, a real blonde.
In this world we find Joe (Matthew Modine) and Mary (Catherine Keener), he a somewhat gawky 35 year old struggling actor waiting tables while waiting for his big chance for a real acting role, preferably "Death of a Salesman". But instead there's a role in a Madonna video, the chance of a soap opera part, and maybe a serial killer in the offering.
Mary is a makeup artist for photographic models needing constant attention as well as emotional support in their delusional lives. By night she attends a self defence class to deal with men on the street who see her as a female for their pleasure.
The problems of their survival in such a world, both as individuals as well as a relationship in danger, are dealt with insight and above all affection. In true Hollywood tradition the true values prevail.
Both Matthew Modine and Catherine Keener give marvellous performances and their are some fine cameos from Marlo Thomas, Dennis Leary and Steve Buscemi.
DiCillo is a director to watch and hopefully he will continue to develope and make movies as charming as this one.
When I looked at the poster for this film at the theater in Brandon, Florida (I believe the only theater in Florida to show "The Real Blonde") one would assume that the only blonde in the film was Elizabeth Berkley. Elizabeth is the only person displayed on the poster (four times as a matter of fact). Actually there are three blondes (Elizabeth, Daryl Hannah, and Bridgette Wilson) but only one is a real blonde(I won't say who). But the issue of blondeness is important to only one man (Maxwell Caulfield)and strangely considering the title not of any real importance to the story. The story instead revolves around a man (Matthew Modine) and his live in girlfriend (Catherine Keener) who are having problems with their relationship and their individual lives. The film centers around the resolution of their problems making various side trips on the way. Some of these side trips are entertaining and help the basic story. Other do not. Yet the film moves at a nice pace and while sometimes a little confusing is never boring. All persons involved with this film perform very nicely. Bridgette Wilson plays the dumb but loving blonde very well. Darryl Hannah for the first time I know of plays a rather bitchy character but does so with style. Elizabeth in a role smaller that her billing would suggest never-the-less brings life to her character of a young woman who seems to be always left behind. I found this film worth driving 40 miles to the theater.
Joe is an out of work actor who is also struggling with his relationship
with Mary who has lots of rage inside. Joe's actor friend Bob has just got
a job on a soap opera but is caught up in his desire for a `real' blonde
despite having fallen for the available model Sahara. The films follows
their lives in the world of minor celebrity.
Despite having done good with the subject of film making in `Living in Oblivion', the director doesn't do as well when it comes to the world of the minor celebrity. The plot is a little jumbled it wants to make fun of the world but also seriously follow the people it makes fun of in their relationships. Also it makes fun of Bob's acting but yet has plenty of respect for Joe simply because he keeps quoting `Death of a Salesman'. The satirical edge is nice and produces some funny moments but the relationship stuff is muddled.
There are plenty of famous cameos and most are good. Lloyd, Turner, Leary, Buscemi, Chappelle, Von Bargen etc all show their faces. In the leads Modine is OK but because the director doesn't know if he's part of the joke or a serious character then we don't know how to approach him either. Keener tries hard and is OK but Caulfield is the best of the bunch simply because we know he's meant to be a bit of a comedy figure.
The film manages to loose it's laughs in a sea of serious asides. The worst being the theme of the old black woman and her dog getting stolen. We keep going back to her and she has the last theme in the film why? If there was a message I must be too dumb to get it and it certainly didn't really fit in with the rest of the movie.
Overall this has enough good moments to justify watching but it clearly lacks focus and loses it's way really easily.
Set in the world of struggling actors and models, this is an intelligent comedy with just a hint of seriousness. It's well-written with good performances by its large, mostly younger cast. The humor is for adults, so if you're looking for big belly-laughs and gross-out situations, you'll be disappointed. The number of characters threatened to be a bit too many but that's not a major problem. I found 'The Real Blonde' funnier and more entertaining than lots of comedies that get far more publicity and have much more box-office success.
I have to say that I was somewhat skeptical of seeing this movie; I'd seen similar movies before and a lot of them ended up just looking weird and unappealing to me. But, I decided to give this one a try because it had some of my favorite actors in it (Matthew Modine, Denis Leary, Kathleen Turner), and I was very pleasantly surprised. It was extremely funny, well-acted, entertainingly satirical, and an overall joy to watch. Easily one of my personal favorites this year. If you've overlooked this one, I suggest you check it out.
Tom DiCillo is a wonderful director who should be seen more often. As
he has demonstrated with his previous films, he is a man that brings a
great dimension to the subjects he selects for his movies. Mr.
DiCillo's strength lies in the magnificent performances he gets from
his casts by making them underplay their roles and the irony behind his
"The Real Blonde" was Mr. DiCillo's third film and he shows a firm hand in moving all the characters in so many interesting ways as they go about their lives in this complex city of New York. The film deals with the way young people are trying to cope with careers and relationships in this complicated city.
At the center of the action we find Joe, a good guy who works as a waiter in order to pursue his ambition of becoming an actor. Joe seems to be a bit confused about what he wants to do and doesn't have his feet planted on the ground. He doesn't have anyone pushing for him, no experience to speak of, yet he perceives himself into doing roles such as Biff in "The Death of a Salesman". Talk about reality!
Joe is living with a down to earth woman, Mary, who is a makeup artist and knows her way around the city and the people she has to deal with. Bob, who is Joe's best friend, and fellow waiter, lands himself in a soap opera that nets him a lot of money. Joe, the idealist, believes Bob is selling out, going too commercial.
Mr. DiCillo brings together the different worlds in which these characters are living into perspective with great style in a fun movie that is a lot of fun, at the same time.
Catherine Keener, who has worked with Mr. Dicillo in several films, comes out the best in her role of Mary. Ms. Keener is one of the best actresses working in films today and has a natural charm that graces everything she does. Matthew Modine gives a good performance as Joe. Daryl Hannah, Maxwell Caulfield, Elizabeth Berkley, Marlo Thomas, Bridgette Wilson, Buck Henry, Christopher Lloyd, Katheleen Turner and Denis Leary, are seen in supporting roles.
A charming film by one of America's best kept secret director: Tom DiCillo!
I rented 'The Real Blonde' on video at the same time that I rented 'The
Curse of the Jade Scorpion', because my favourite actress (Elizabeth
Berkley) is in both and I wished to have a quiet afternoon in watching two
of my favourite screen star's movies. 'The Real Blonde' was not only funny,
it was well-scripted, well-acted and well... great!
The cast all did an absolutely fine job of bringing their characters to life, despite the fact that some didn't get a lot of screen time. Honestly, I had no idea that Bridgette Wilson could be so funny! I've only ever seen her on TV a few times, and she didn't really strike a huge chord with me there. But in 'The Real Blonde'... wow! Kathleen Turner, Daryl Hannah, Christopher Lloyd and my favourite, Elizabeth Berkley, are nothing short of hilarious as well. The satire was excellent and the ending was practically inspired. Great!
Does anyone happen to know the title of the song that was played in the Madonna video scene? That song was goofy. I liked it! :)
A great yet overlooked film with interesting and thought provoking messages. Excellent cast. Excellent direction. Any one living in new york city as a struggling artist will appreciate its take on success, exploitation, Holding to your beliefs, and handling life when things don't happen exactly how you wished they would. A very funny offbeat movie!
Though this movie is not perfect, I thought it was a lot better than what
people felt, looking at the comments and the box office. The acting, for
part, is excellent. Modine does a great job of seeming clueless and clumsy
his approach to his acting career, but I rooted for him because his
REALLY wanted it, he just hadn't figured on how to get it. Keener was at
sparkling, sassy best.
I think it's main problem is not so much the meandering, or the foibles of the characters: it's that the entire setting is so particular to New York I'm unsure about how much of the humor translates. This is not a patronizing jab at the
universe beyond the five boroughs; my experiences made me howl at things
that others may find completely stupid. Anyone who's ever been an actor or in the fashion industry in NYC would find so many scenes uproariously funny. The catering scenes, especially, would be dear to the heart of any working actor
who's struggled in New York.
This, by the way, was not an independent movie, it was a Paramount release.
DeCillo, after the dismal box office, is back on the indie side of the fence. Good luck to him, I hope he continues to make movies.
I checked some of the comments below and see there's quite a few people
trashing this film. Perhaps those people were the type of audience
lots of action scenes and explosions. (Or maybe they're just too young to
understand a character-driven plot!) This was a great satire on the
Entertainment Industry, and what kept it all together were the characters.
Joe Finnegen (Played by Matthew Modine) was not too bright, but there was
good cause in his character which made it sympathetic. The plot may be a
little thin but it was more of a series of interwining characters and
Forget the negative reviews about this movie and check it out, there's nothing to dislike about it. Another great gem from Tom DiCillo! (Living in Oblivion)
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