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It is truly sad that we have to wait until a person is dead and gone to give
him or her the honor they should have received while alive. Andy Kaufman
was a man of many talents, and I saw him only as this funny little man on a
TV show called, "Taxi" with a cute accent. Who could not fall in love with
that person he was on "Taxi"? He was cute, honest, kind, and funny! Who
knew that while we were all at home laughing, he was crying on the inside
because that wasn't who he was, nor wanted to be. I went to see this movie
about a person who was famous for his "Elvis" personation, and his little
record player, doing the "Mighty Mouse" skit on Saturday Night Live, never
to forget "Latka" on "Taxi." He was a man of many talents, so many that the
world never knew about, so many that only Andy knew who he really was. Jim
Carrey allowed us to come into Andy Kaufman's mind, and realize that this
grown man lived in another place, another time, an entire other world where
Andy was free, and there was peace, and where everyone never grew up, they
stayed children playing "pretend" forever.
Jim Carrey put himself into this part, he lived this role... He was Andy Kaufman. Carrey was able to show me a whole new light on this man I thought I knew. This funny man who could make you laugh just by walking on stage. Jim Carrey showed us that who we saw, was not the man we thought we knew. And it took his death to show the world that Andy Kaufman was in fact a human being, who just needed a hug, and a chance at what he did best.
This sadness me to realize that our joy brought this man pain, who we wanted was not who he wanted to be, and I think everyone should be able to live the dream they choose. I never cry at movies, because I am able to pull myself back and remind myself that it is just a movie, and those are just actors. Jim was Andy, and what I saw was too true for me to tell myself, "It's only a movie."
This is a story about a man who lived and died without being understood. I cry for the person Carrey brought us into, the life he showed us that was hidden for too long. No one could have given Andy such a life as Carrey did. This movie is not a normal movie, it is art in the most beautiful form imaginable. To sit in a theater and be at aw... for two hours is amazing! I only wish we had known Andy Kaufman when he was truly alive. Now it is too late, the curtain has gone down...
I've been an Andy Kaufman fan for quite a while now. True, I was around
when Andy died. But somehow this strange man was able to affect both my
and outlook. So needless to say I was looking forward to this film. And I
was not disappointed.
Critics complain that while engaging, this film does not let the viewer in on who exactly Kaufman was. It's simple: there was no real Andy Kaufman. He was socially inept, utterly brilliant, and a strange and distant individual. His sense of humor (if he even had one) was not for everyone to understand. THAT WAS THE POINT. So why should a film spoil the mystery? MAN ON THE MOON was as an homage to Andy, NOT an explanation, and far better than those dull, lifeless documentaries on E! or comedy central in which uninteresting comedians try to explain why Andy was brilliant. It's common knowledge that explaining a joke renders it humorous (a notion that Andy toyed with in his Foreign Man routine, remember?)
True, some facts were altered for dramatic purposes (though the truth is just as interesting), or maybe just necessity, but the base story is still pretty accurate. Some of the more humorous moments in Kaufman's career were not mentioned (i.e. his stints on Johnny Carson and David Letterman, his work with performance artist Laurie Anderson, his street corner preaching). But lets face it, everything couldn't and didn't need to be included. The film is capable of capturing the essence of Kaufman's world. If you want to see everything Kaufman did, find a recording of it and watch that.
Carrey is brilliant as Kaufman. Some call it an imitation, though that seems overly simplified and absurd. That was an imitation along the lines of Geoffrey Rush in SHINE, or Hilary Swank in BOYS DON'T CRY, or Richard Farnsworth in THE STRAIGHT STORY. Sure, Carrey observes and uses the many Kaufman quirks without a fault, but his observation goes far beyond what any other actor seems capable of. Carrey is Andy Kaufman. So many seem unwilling to admit that Carrey can act.
Taken on it's own, MAN ON THE MOON is a magical, funny, and wonderful film. Taken with the rest of the sources currently available on Andy Kaufman, this is just another facet to a complex career and an homage to a brilliant man.
"Man on The Moon", indeed. I remember seeing Andy Kaufman's act on TV as a
teenager, and I admit, I wrote him off as another comedian, with an
incredibly expressive face and a flair for silliness. Years later, I'm
watching him on "Taxi" reruns. I admired the easiness where he could go
loving Latka to malicious Vic with ease, and I thought, "Wow, this guy
really loves what he does". And then I watch "Man on The Moon". Reality
This picture, I believe, redeems Andy Kaufman. He endured five grueling years in "Taxi" just so he could get some laughs out of people. He did wrestling stints just for the heck of it. He came real close of hitting rock bottom just to save himself at the end. He died of cancer at the age of 35, ridiculously young, and even then his own family didn't buy it. He lived misunderstood, and died misunderstood. And years later, he gets a biopic. Just what he deserves. It is sad that many people will know Andy's talent and understand him only after watching this film. But still, let's face it, at the end he did get the last laugh.
The true cornerstone in this film is Jim Carrey. Yes, you've heard endless reviews about him immersing himself into Andy, not just playing him. But this is acting beyond your dreams, trust me. Especially when he plays Andy's foreign character, Carrey lived and breathed Kaufman air. This is the movie where his silly-putty face comes handy, as it seems to help Jim turn into Andy. (If only we could do something about those teeth...) NEWSFLASH FOR THE ACADEMY: Jim Carrey can act!!! I remember Tom Hanks beginning with the same kind of movies that Jim did: loud, colorful, goofy and silly (films like "Bachelor Party" come to mind). Then he did "Big", then came "Philadelphia". When is Carrey's "Philadelphia" coming along? I can't wait to see him at the Academy Awards this year.
Man on the moon, indeed.
Having liked the contrived Latka Gravas, but never really knowing much more
about Andy Kaufman than the Headlines, Man on the Moon offered some
incredible depictions of this one of a kind enigma.
I was never a big fan of his off-Taxi antics, but then again, Man on the Moon made it clear that I simply did not understand them. I'm not any more of a Kaufman fan than I've been, but Man on the Moon has left me with an incredible appreciation for his genius.
Jim Carrey's performance is chilling. His normal on-screen presence has often made it hard for me to see him as the characters he's played. This time, I forgot that I was watching an actor portraying Andy Kaufman. It was frighteningly good. The entire supporting cast was just as stellar.
Though interesting throughout, mostly because it explained so much that I never knew about events that were so highly publicized, Man on the Moon's amazing insight into the "why" behind the "what" of his antics completely left out the "why" behind the "what" of the person. I now know a lot about what he did, but I still know very little about who he was.
If the creators' intent was to let the world get to know Andy Kaufman the man, then I think the film missed its mark. However, that has nothing to do with the fact that it was an outstanding film in every way. It would be as unfair to detract from the film for this as it would be to call a hammer useless because it doesn't drill holes. A film isn't about what I expect, it's about what it is. In this case, it's astounding from beginning to end.
I saw a special sneak preview of "Man on the Moon" last week in Boston.
Quite simply, the film is magnificent, and truly provides the audience with
a glimpse into the genius of Andy Kaufman. There are moments of true
hilarity, and moments that will break your heart.
Of course, this film would be nothing without the inspired performance by Jim Carrey. Within the first moments of the film, you completely forget that it is Jim Carrey on screen. Rarely have I seen an actor truly transform into the persona that he is portraying. Jim Carrey was Andy Kaufman.
At the very least, Mr. Carrey is deserving of every honor that is given in acting. No other performance this year comes even close to this. Without question, this is a film for the ages, and gives everyone a look into the mind of a genius.
It is truly sad that we have to wait until a person is dead and gone to give him or her the honor they should have received while alive. Andy Kaufman was a man of many talents, and I saw him only as this funny little man on a TV show called, "Taxi" with a cute accent. Who could not fall in love with that person he was on "Taxi"? He was cute, honest, kind, and funny! Who knew that while we were all at home laughing, he was crying on the inside because that wasn't who he was, nor wanted to be. I went to see this movie about a person who was famous for his "Elvis" personation, and his little record player, doing the "Mighty Mouse" skit on Saturday Night Live, never to forget "Laudka" on "Taxi." He was a man of many talents, so many that the world never knew about, so many that only Andy knew who he really was. Jim Carrey allowed us to come into Andy Kaufman's mind, and realize that this grown man lived in another place, another time, an entire other world where Andy was free, and there was peace, and where everyone never grew up, they stayed children playing "pretend" forever. Jim Carrey put himself into this part, he lived this roll... He was Andy Kaufman. Carrey was able to show me a whole new light on this man I thought I knew. This funny man who could make you laugh just by walking on stage. Jim Carrey showed us that who we saw, was not the man we thought we knew. And it took his death to show the world that Andy Kaufman was in fact a human being, who just needed a hug, and a chance at what he did best. This sadness me to realize that our joy brought this man pain, who we wanted was not who he wanted to be, and I think everyone should be able to live the dream they choose. I never cry at movies, because I am able to pull myself back and remind myself that it is just a movie, and those are just actors. Jim was Andy, and what I saw was too true for me to tell myself, "It's only a movie." This is a story about a man who lived and died without being understood. I cry for the person Carrey brought us into, the life he showed us that was hidden for too long. No one could have given Andy such a life as Carrey did. This movie is not a normal movie, it is art in the most beautiful form imaginable. To sit in a theater and be at aw... for two hours is amazing! I only wish we had known Andy Kaufman when he was truly alive. Now it is too late, the curtain has gone down...
Your fondness for `Man on the Moon' may well be predicated on your feelings
for Andy Kaufman, both as comic performer and offstage human being. And,
this film suggests, there was not, ultimately, a very wide gap between the
two. Indeed, the point of the film seems to be that, with Kaufman, the
characters he showed to us on stage and T.V. pretty much reflected the man
who existed in real life.
This may be both the strength and the weakness of the movie itself. Kaufman's purported genius has always eluded me. Ostensibly, it lay, I imagine, in his metaphorically giving the finger to his audience while entertaining them at the same time. That audience, ultimately discovering that it was the butt of the joke, then was able to go a step further and become a willing part of the act, allowing them all to feel superior to the uninitiated masses still deluded enough to be on the outside looking in. Kaufman's act became, then, a kind of exclusive comic club, a collective act of defiance against the social norms of theatrical convention and good taste. Thus, we see him in the film reading the entire novel `The Great Gatsby' verbatim to a stunned and ultimately hostile college audience; we see him wrestling women while spouting inflammatory chauvinistic rhetoric and deliberately muffing his lines on live national television in a brilliant blurring of the line between reality and theatricality. The problem, however, is that iconoclasm has never been a source of humor in itself, and much of Kaufman's act and persona came across as heavy-handed, smug and self-conscious, particularly in his grating Lithuanian `Taxi' character. In short, Kaufman always seemed too full of himself and so dazzled by his own cleverness and cuteness to ever be truly funny. It was like he was always pointing his thumbs back at himself saying, `Look how funny I am.' Such unctiousness inspires us not to laugh.
The film itself is an uneven study of the man. The first half is particularly shaky. After a clever 5-minute view of Kaufman as a performance-obsessed child, we move to his young adulthood where we see him bombing in a local nightclub with an act so aggressively unfunny that we cannot even imagine that it could possibly be real. Then, virtually in the blink of an eye, he is discovered by his future manager, again, in a scene of staggering incredibility, in which Kaufman somehow manages to reduce his audience to helpless laughter with material that couldn't possibly evoke even titters let alone room-shaking guffaws. Before we know it, Kaufman has somehow landed a hosting job on `Saturday Night Live' (yet another bad performance) and has become so much in demand that he not only secures a role in a new sitcom, `Taxi,' but is allowed to make all sorts of demands from the producers in exchange for his services. The chronicle of his meteoric rise to fame simply lacks the detail necessary to make it credible.
The movie finds surer footing as it moves ahead in time. If anything, the gross lack of humor of many of his performances recreated for the film simply underlines the overrated comic gifts of Kaufman himself. Although the writers, Scott Alexander and Larry Karasczewski, and director, Milos Forman, convey an obvious attitude of affection towards Kaufman, they do not shy away from portraying the self-centered petulance that governed many of his actions both in his professional and personal life. The most poignant moments come when he discovers he has lung cancer, yet cannot convince many of the people who are closest to him that he is really sick, so skeptical has his life of duplicity made them. Though Courtney Love is very good indeed as the woman who learns to love Kauffman, the portrayals of her character and their relationship as a whole remain sketchy and superficial throughout. We never really sense much chemistry between them since they never seem to experience much in the way of revelatory conflict. She simply loves him unconditionally, and she is given little to do but beam pleasantly at him or look perpetually concerned for his health and well being.
`Man on the Moon's one element of undeniable brilliance lies in the triumphant performance of Jim Carrey in the starring role. In physical appearance, in mannerisms, in comic stylings, he, quite literally, becomes Andy Kaufman! Whether on stage or behind-the-scenes, Carrey never hits a false note, displaying his uncanny ability to bring out the humanity that might easily have been lost in a portrayal of a very eccentric comic artist. Indeed, Carrey lends some much needed depth to a screenplay that, in its bare-bone plotting, often seems undernourished and underfed. `Man on the Moon' becomes, ultimately then, more compelling as a steppingstone in Carrey's development as an artist than as an elegy for the artist who once was.
Biographies of strange people have always fascinated me, and this is no
exception. And "strange" doesn't really seem to adequately describe
real-life comedian Andy Kauffman. He was REALLY different, many times
very offensive, sometimes very unfunny....but always extremely
interesting and certainly unique.
Jim Carrey shows us once again how comedians can be such good dramatic actors. Carrey is outstanding in this role, and perfect for it. The rest of the cast is good, too, from Danny DeVito to Paul Giamatti to Courtney Love.
Right from the beginning of this movie one sees how original it is, and how original Kaufman was as a comedian. His routines, antics and put-ons are so realistically done that no thinks they are just that. Unfortunately, his "jokes" don't always go over so well, aren't appreciated by most audiences and he is not always the most likable entertainer you will ever see. That means - be forewarned - that there are a number of unpleasant scenes in this film. You have to really appreciate Kauffman's absurd humor and to appreciate Carrey's great portrait of this man.
On multiple viewings (I've seen it four times) I liked this film even more than the first time, even though I knew the surprises. I don't know of any comedian - to this day - who deliberately tried to annoy his audience or truly liked it when his audience hated him. I cannot believe he had the nerve to do the things he did. In summary, this is a fascinating biography, to say the least.
Man on the Moon is one of the most heart-felt endeavors I've ever seen on
film. With each frame, you can feel how much the project means personally
to all involved, especially to star Jim Carrey and producer Bob Zmuda.
Although personal adoration for the subject of one's movie does not always
translate into a film that audience members will identify with, Man on the
Moon succeeds brilliantly. Between Milos Forman's unique directing style,
the actors' performances, and Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski's
writing, the film is able to simultaneously make you a member in one of Andy
Kaufman's audiences, experiencing both joy and
frustration at his antics, and a close friend who sees, or thinks they see,
the Andy Kaufman behind the masks. Just as Karaszewski and Alexander did
with the Ed Wood or Larry Flint biopicks, they challenge our concept of what
it means to be successful by giving dignity to to the seeming misfits of our
society. However, a biopick like Man on the Moon succeeds or fails mainly
on the grounds of the lead performance. Jim Carrey proved his dramatic
talent last year with a performance in The Truman Show that should have
translated into an Oscar, and this year he again gives what will likely be
the best performance of the year. Carrey approaches the role of Kaufman
with a level of professionalism and enthusiasm far greater than that
displayed by many of today's acclaimed actors. Carrey adopts Kaufman's
mannerisms flawlessly and becomes Kaufman so convincingly that you forget
Carrey is acting. The film's other stars, in particular Paul Giamatti,
Courtney Love, and Danny DeVito, all turn in excellent performances as well.
Man on the Moon is both inspiring and thought provoking - a must see.
Jim Carrey delivers on of the greatest acting achievements of the nineties in this stunning biopic about the legendary comedian Andy Kaufman (the man on the moon, according to REM). For me as a European citizen, Andy Kaufman is a complete mystery. I've never seen any of his performances in Saturday Night Live nor have I ever seen any of his live shows. After seeing the movie five times, I as a Dutch not-knowing citizen who had never heard of Kaufman before, can make an image of the man and his brilliance. This is all thanks to Milos Forman and a stunning Jim Carrey, who really becomes Andy Kaufman. According to me, this movie is where Jim Carrey proves that he is just more than a funny guy, and after seeing him in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Carrey has really proved that he is in fact a character actor.
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