IMDb > Telling Lies in America (1997)
Telling Lies in America
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Telling Lies in America (1997) More at IMDbPro »

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Telling Lies in America -- Karchy Jonas was born in Hungary and immigrated to Cleveland in the early 1960s, where he felt adrift in a strange sea of American culture. Jonas tries to fit in at his Catholic high school but finds himself a laughing stock. At home, his stern father insists that he adhere to traditional Hungarian ways. Karchy's only respite is the rock & roll he adores. A year before he arrived, flashy, failed disc jockey Billy Magic rolled into town, found a job at WHK and became the host of the High School Hall of Fame contest, something that Karchy decides he must win so he too can be cool and therefore impress his classmate Diney. Eventually, he does win and before long has made friends with Billy. The DJ proves to be a real pal and pays Karchy to run errands and do odd jobs for him. Some of those tasks involve taking money from promoters. When not working, Billy introduces Karchy to life's wild side. But despite the fun, there is much the naive youth is destined to learn the hard way about his new buddy Billy.
Telling Lies in America -- US Theatrical Trailer from Banner
Telling Lies in America -- Open-ended Trailer from Banner


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Down 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writer (WGA):
Joe Eszterhas (written by)
View company contact information for Telling Lies in America on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
15 October 1997 (USA) See more »
Dress sharp. Drive fast. Look cool. Laugh last. See more »
Karchy (Brad Renfro) is a boy in school who has moved from Hungary to America in the 1960's. He is struggling... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win See more »
(13 articles)
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  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Kevin Bacon ... Billy Magic

Brad Renfro ... Karchy 'Chucky' Jonas

Maximilian Schell ... Dr. Istvan Jonas

Calista Flockhart ... Diney Majeski

Paul Dooley ... Father Norton

Jonathan Rhys Meyers ... Kevin Boyle

Luke Wilson ... Henry
Damen Fletcher ... Amos 'Blood Smith'
Jerry Swindall ... Andy 'Croak' Stas
K.K. Dodds ... Justine

James Kisicki ... Cecil Simms
J.J. Horna ... The Blind Kid
Ben Saypol ... Timmy Morelli

Tony Devon ... Danny Hogan
Rohn Thomas ... Sgt. Disapri
Joe Baka ... Det. Carpenter

Tuesday Knight ... WHK Receptionist
Dave Buckel ... WHK Newscaster

Matt Miller ... Asst. District Attorney
Jack Skelly ... Immigration Judge John J. Donnelly (as Jack Skelley)
Jane Jean Miller ... Groupie #1
Wendy Waltz ... Groupie #2
Angelique Osborne ... Giggly girl
Abdullah Bey ... Old man
Kevin Willigham ... Driver
Patrick White ... School Kid
Ron Lewis ... Musician: Blood Smith and the Tenderloins

Billy Lockwood ... Musician: Blood Smith and the Tenderloins (as Will Lockwood)
Christopher Jenning ... Musician: Blood Smith and the Tenderloins
Phillip O'Rourke ... Musician: Blood Smith and the Tenderloins

Niles Rivers ... Musician: Blood Smith and the Tenderloins (as Niles River)
Daryl Trammer ... Musician: Blood Smith and the Tenderloins
Matt Bunner ... Member of Kevin Boyle's Gang

Tom Nagel ... Member of Kevin Boyle's Gang / Sock Hop Dancer
Tom Palmieri ... Member of Kevin Boyle's Gang / Sock Hop Dancer

John Sloan ... Member of Kevin Boyle's Gang
John Woyton ... Member of Kevin Boyle's Gang
Mike Ross ... Member of Kevin Boyle's Gang
Courtne Benson ... Sock Hop Dancer
Dottie Dixon ... Sock Hop Dancer
Ben Harvey ... Sock Hop Dancer
Lucas Haugh ... Sock Hop Dancer
Tjader France ... Sock Hop Dancer (as Tjader Jamal)
Stacey Woodson ... Sock Hop Dancer
Monica Reed ... Sock Hop Dancer
Renzy Parnell ... Sock Hop Dancer
Brendon Berns ... Sock Hop Dancer
Justin Leach ... Sock Hop Dancer
Matt McBride ... Sock Hop Dancer (as Matthew McBride)
Melanie Rademaker ... Sock Hop Dancer
Maureen Winston ... Sock Hop Dancer
Brooke Devereaux ... Sock Hop Dancer
Sunny Jenkins ... Sock Hop Dancer
Jennifer Nicolino ... Sock Hop Dancer
Molly McDougal ... Good Looking Girl at Diner
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Maggie Gibbons ... Girl in classroom (uncredited)
Brad Hoss ... Schoolboy (uncredited)

Directed by
Guy Ferland 
Writing credits
Joe Eszterhas (written by)

Produced by
Fred C. Caruso .... co-producer (as Fred Caruso)
Naomi Eszterhas .... executive producer
Fran Rubel Kuzui .... producer
Kaz Kuzui .... co-executive producer
Mickey Liddell .... executive producer
Ben Myron .... producer
Brian Swardstrom .... executive producer
Original Music by
Nicholas Pike (music programmer)
Cinematography by
Reynaldo Villalobos 
Film Editing by
Jill Savitt 
Casting by
Susan Brown 
Emily Schweber 
Production Design by
James A. Gelarden  (as James Gelarden)
Set Decoration by
Sarah Young 
Costume Design by
Laura Bauer  (as Laura Cunningham)
Makeup Department
Roy Bryson .... key hair stylist
Jeannee Josefczyk .... key makeup artist
Mariella Kaufman .... makeup artist
Pamela Priest .... key hair stylist
Maxi Spisak .... makeup artist (as Maxi Spesak)
Sandi D. Verzi .... hair stylist
Production Management
Kate Amer .... production manager
Robert Rothbard .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Dennis T. Benatar .... first assistant director (as Dennis Benatar)
Regan Forman .... second assistant director
Matt Papp .... second second assistant director
Kahlil Pedizisai .... second second assistant director
Cynthia Slavens .... second assistant director
Art Department
Terry Ball .... on-set dresser
Mychael Bates .... property master
George Blogna .... co-construction coordinator
Sue Brook .... painter
Paula Collins .... construction production assistant
Lynette Grabau .... construction production assistant
Matt Jennings .... carpenter
Bill Kingsley .... construction coordinator
Peter Lambros .... assistant property master
Mike Lehane .... on-set dresser
Ruth Loshe .... scenic artist
George McDougal .... carpenter
Russ Milner .... carpenter
Thomas H. Paul .... set designer (as Thomas Paul)
Jennifer Richeson .... painter
Mary Kay Stone .... lead person
Scott Swank .... on-set dresser (as Scott A. Swank)
Karen Usher .... art department coordinator
Mike Zitello .... carpenter
Sound Department
Jonathan Andrews .... sound mixer
Carmen Baker .... co-supervising sound editor (as Carmen Hocson Baker)
Mike Boudry .... adr recordist
Jim Brookshire .... sound editor
Jeanette Browning .... dubbing recordist (as Jeannette Browning)
Betty Burkhart .... assistant sound editor
Tim Chau .... sound designer
Tim Chau .... sound re-recording mixer
Tim Chau .... supervising sound editor
Christopher Flick .... supervising dialogue editor
Joan Giammarco .... supervising adr editor
Rich Green .... foley coordinator
Doug Jackson .... sound editor
Nils C. Jensen .... sound editor
Doc Kane .... adr mixer
Adam Kopald .... sound editor
Donald J. Malouf .... sound editor
Ken McCahan .... sound utility
Kenny McCann .... cable assistant
Mel Metcalfe .... sound re-recording mixer
Judy Nord .... pdl
Michele Perrone .... adr editor
Terry Porter .... sound re-recording mixer
Richmond Riedel .... assistant adr editor
Joan Rowe .... foley artist
Sean Rowe .... foley artist
Joel Trent .... boom operator
Scott Weber .... foley mixer
Dan Yale .... sound editor
Dean A. Zupancic .... sound re-recording mixer (as Dean Zupancic)
Jeannette Cremarosa .... pdl (uncredited)
Jeffrey Gates .... sound recordist (uncredited)
V.B. Paravati .... sound transfer technician (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Steve Cates .... second assistant camera
Tom Kiousis III .... electrician
Dennis Knight .... electrician
George Kohut .... camera operator
Scott W. Leftridge .... dolly grip (as Scott Leftridge)
Andrew McDowall .... first assistant camera
Frank McKeon .... company grip
Pat Meehan .... video playback operator
Russ Milner .... company grip
Lester Park .... electrician
Deborah Samuel .... still photographer
John 'Fest' Sandau .... gaffer (as John Sandau)
Jim 'J.T.' Tucker .... best boy grip
Roy Van Keuren .... electrician
Don Verba .... company grip
Joe 'Jody' Williams .... camera production assistant (as Jody Williams)
Russ Wulf .... best boy electric (as Russell Wulff)
Dennis Zoppe .... key grip
Casting Department
Marc Andreyko .... extras casting
D. Lynn Meyers .... local casting (as Lynn Meyers)
Debra Secher .... casting associate
H. Spencer Young .... extras casting (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Karen Driscoll .... set costumer
Heather Priest .... assistant costume designer
Michelle A. Sampson .... set costumer
Nancy Shaw .... set costumer
Barbara Shiff .... costume supervisor (as Barbara Schiff)
Editorial Department
Gary Burritt .... negative cutter
Andrew Loschin .... apprentice editor
Alain J. Romi .... assistant editor
Jim Schulte .... assistant editor
Jim Passon .... color timer (uncredited)
Location Management
Frank Fletcher .... location manager
Michael Rochford .... location assistant
Rondell Sarrett .... location assistant
Music Department
Peter Afterman .... music supervisor
Julie East .... music engineer
Mark Green .... music editor
Giovanna Imbesi .... musician: piano (as Joyce Imbesi)
Michael Jay .... music editor
Andy Paley .... composer: additional score
Nicholas Pike .... musician: sync programmer
Michael Thompson .... musician: guitar
Elizabeth Wendel .... assistant music supervisor
Margaret Yen .... assistant music supervisor
Transportation Department
Jeff Blake .... driver
Dale Checovich .... transportation coordinator
Glenn Gibson .... driver
Tim Lewis .... driver
Greg Lipari .... picture car coordinator
Tom Litto .... driver
Nick Lytwynenko .... driver
Julio Machado .... driver
Mike Majewski .... driver
Nick Mandic .... driver
Pat McCartney .... driver
Terry Moore .... driver
Nick W. Pastrano .... driver (as Nick Pastrano)
Marc Scott .... driver
Ray Skender .... driver
Jim Steinbicker .... driver
Richie Summers .... transportation captain
Ray Truhlar .... driver
Other crew
Catherine Albers .... dialogue coach
Erik Baker .... stand-in (as Erick Baker)
Cheech Bradford .... insurance
Brian Brown .... assistant chef
Jeanne Byrd .... script supervisor
Thomas Clark .... choreographer
Len Critcher .... assistant: Judy Sharinger
Joe Eszterhas .... presenter
Laurie Fisher .... executive: Kuzui Enterprises
Brian Fox .... stand-in
Gina Frosini .... office production assistant
Bernadette Gillota .... production coordinator
Karl Greenow .... stand-in
Matt Gregor .... office production assistant
Dennis Griesmer .... assistant production coordinator (as Denis M. Griesmer)
Fred Grossman .... production accountant
Mariann Grossman .... assistant accountant
Laura Grover .... production assistant: Andy Paley
John Haight .... studio teacher
Joe Hanna .... chef
Ebbins Harris .... clearance
Christine 'Crystal Hoeller .... assistant: Maximillian Schell
Mihaly Horvath Sr. .... dialogue consultant
Tony Hoty .... studio teacher
Richard Ingram .... assistant: Guy Ferland (as Richard 'Bruno' Ingram)
Elizabeth Knowle .... choreographer
Chip Kocel .... craft service production assistant
Jacqueline Lundquist .... local publicity liaison
Sean McDermott .... assistant: Ben Myron
Greg McDougall .... stand-in
Susan Mieras .... assistant: Kevin Bacon
Mike Miller .... craft service
Marilyn Munro .... assistant: Ben Myron
Tom Nagel .... stand-in
Michael Nicholson .... office production assistant
Jeff Preston .... stand-in
Everett Ray .... studio teacher
Albert G. Ruben .... insurance
Rebecca Russell .... alteration supervisor
Judy Sharinger .... completion supervisor
David Thal .... stand-in
Pan Theophylactos .... stand-in
D.J. Vaulton .... assistant: Brad Renfro
Michael Barnes .... financial legal services (uncredited)
Larry Garrison .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Roger A. Budnick .... special thanks
Bob Clayton .... special thanks
Steve Cover .... special thanks: Ohio Film Commission
Leigh Davis .... special thanks: Cleveland Film Commission (as Lee Davis)
Jim Davison .... special thanks
S. Michael Franz .... special thanks (as Rev. S. Michael Franz)
George Gates .... special thanks
Carla Gold .... special thanks
Joan Kalbourn .... special thanks
Jeff Kinzbach .... special thanks
Tim Moore .... special thanks: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Norm N. Nite .... special thanks
Patricia O'Brien .... special thanks
Jim Pogras .... special thanks
Charles Scaravelli .... special thanks
Samuel Scaravelli .... special thanks
Peter Taylor .... special thanks: Cleveland Film Commission (as Peter Clark)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Seventeen" - Japan (English title)
See more »
Rated PG-13 for sex related situations
101 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:13 | Canada:14 (Nova Scotia) | Canada:AA (Ontario) | Finland:K-12 (video premiere) | Hong Kong:IIA | Iceland:L | Spain:T | UK:15 | USA:PG-13
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

John Candy lobbied to play the role of Billy Magic. But Candy's agent convinced him not to pursue the part.See more »
Anachronisms: About two-thirds through the movie, when Karchy picks his girlfriend up at the store after (her) work, they walk down a handicap wheelchair ramp which didn't exist in the 1960's.See more »
Karchy Jonas:[sing while combing his hair] Hey, hey, what do you say... Karchy Jonas is coming your way...
Karchy Jonas:...How are you darlin'?
See more »
Little DianeSee more »


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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
Liars, 2 March 2005
Author: jotix100 from New York

"Telling Lies in America" is a film that seems to have gone directly to video. It certainly deserved a wider audience because what Guy Ferland, the director does with the screen play Joe Eszterhas wrote for the film. Mr. Eszterhas is a man that can write, although some of his efforts have misfired.

If you haven't seen the film, perhaps you should stop reading here.

The basic problem with the film is the casting of Brad Renfro as the main character of the film. While this actor is not a bad actor, he seems miscast as this Karchy Jonas. Most comments in this forum focus on the fact Karchy has no accent, but having been in Cleveland for about seven years, explain that he already has a command of the language. Yes, he might stumble upon certain words, as shown in the film, but basically the character is believable. The only thing is that Mr. Renfro looks an older fourteen, rather than the seventeen he is in the film.

This fact becomes painfully apparent in his relationship with Diney, and with the older woman Billy decides to have him experience sex for the first time. We are not saying it's not possible, because it can easily have been the case, which might have been derived from an experience of Mr. Eszterhas life.

The other thing that doesn't ring true is the relationship between Karchy and his father. It appears that he can do whatever he wants and it's OK with the old man. Usually in the case of immigrant families, it's just the opposite. People immigrating to this country tend to be more protective, demanding discipline and obedience that is nowhere to be seen in the film. Also, Karchy's behavior in school would have probably grounded him forever, but it never comes into play.

The marvelous Kevin Bacon is the best asset this film has going for itself. Not only is Mr. Bacon the most versatile of the current actors working in films, he brings such an intelligent take to his take on Billy Magic, the DJ of the local radio station that sees right through the lies Karchy Jonas tells. Being a liar himself, Billy can pick a liar whenever he sees one, as is the case when he meets Jonas. Billy Magic has no scruples. He takes money from the record companies, but he has Karchy pick the envelopes.

The cast is good. Maximilian Schell, plays the father, Dr. Jonas, a man so decent, one wonders where did Karchy go wrong. He seems to be a loving father, albeit a distant one. Is it perhaps the fact that the son has embraced the American culture with too much gusto? That might explain the difference, although Karchy is never disrespectful to the old man.

Calista Flockhart is seen as Diney, the mousy worker at the poultry shop where young Karchy works after school. Ms. Flockhart is perfect as the older girl that inspires love in the young man. Luke Wilson is seen as the man in charge of the shop. Paul Dooley makes a wonderful Father Norton, the man who dares put Karchy in his place.

Notable in the film is the use of the popular songs that one hears in the sound track. It made perfect sense the use of those tunes since the background is a popular radio station that catered to teenagers.

This is a film that should be seen by more people because of the good work the director and screen writer have done.

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