Television made him famous, but his biggest hits happened off screen. "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" is the story of a legendary showman's double life - television producer by day, CIA assassin by night. At the height of his TV career, Chuck Barris was recruited by the CIA and trained to become a covert operative. Or so Barris said. Written by
When Chuck Barris applies to work at NBC, the application says "National Broadcasting Corporation" rather than "National Broadcasting Company". See more »
I wouldn't want to live his life because he hasn't been happy all of his life. All I think is if you can find work, stay healthy, find somebody to share it with, you're the ultimate success. He's had some of the pieces of the puzzle, but not all of them.
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What if the creator and host of two of the 1970s biggest and lamest television game shows was also a part-time CIA hitman? That he used The Dating Game and The Gong Show as a cover to stage assassinations in the netherworld of Cold War espionage. Ridiculous you'd say. But that's what exactly what Chuck Barris claims in his autobiography, and Charlie Kaufman accepts carte blanche as the premise for his screenplay. The film plays it straight up as if Barris were telling the truth.
Can Charlie Kaufman, the screenwriter, and George Clooney, the director pull it off? Mostly. It is competently acted by Sam Rockwell as Barris, Julia Roberts as a fellow spy, Drew Barrymore as his love interest, and director George Clooney as his CIA recruiter and handler. The bizarre landscape, a marriage of television and espionage, is presented without a smirk or wink. If Barris is telling the truth, this is what it must have been like. It's an interesting idea, and Clooney and Kaufman have taken it and crafted an enjoyable film.
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