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Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Unimpressive debut for Clooney

Author: Steve from Kailua Kona, HI
28 January 2003

Because of the questionable nature of it's basis in fact, a story like this could have and deserved to be told in an entertaining fashion. Clooney instead stumbles as he tries to make deep, Nietzschian tale from the rather pathetic life of Chuck Barris the supposed CIA-hitman game show host. This guy's self-image was wacked from the start as his warped childhood clearly illustrates. It always surprises me that movie audiences will plaster themselves into a movie seat for this kind of junk. There are plenty of positive, inspirational lives to turn into films. "Ghandi", "Lawrence of Arabia", and even epics like "Braveheart" are examples of films that were based on uncommon lives of people who made a difference. Did a CIA hitman or a game show host ever really make a difference? Not unlike, the "Gong Show" audiences the fans of this film will most likely get a perverse pleasure watching pretty-boy Clooney falling flat on his face. Clooney should stick to acting where his limited range is at least pleasant to watch and his affable nature comes through. He should let the professionals do the directing. Just because Clooney worked with Soderberg doesn't mean Steven's talent or creativity rubbed off.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:


Author: Steve Sheppard from Denver
27 January 2003

Sorry George, no offense. This film was shallow, pointless, tiring and unbelievable. Of course Chuck Barris was never a CIA agent, but I do think this idea helps him to explain some of his wierd behavior. Caught pointing a gun at people in your studio? Just say you were looking for the mole. Then no one would suspect you were free basing! Haha. Pass George a joint and a script, heck we can all get high. There were a few good scenes but they never added up to a worthy plot, and Sam Rockwell was the only thing keeping me awake. Called in a favor with the two names in the dating game, but we kept waiting for some reason to stay. Ultimately it was Sam and the great photography, otherwise, thumbs down. Why not tell the truth that Barris was schizo? Oh yea, Beautiful Mind already scooped that.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

If I had not paid for this, I would have walked out of the opening in the first ten minutes.

Author: Robert L Hartshorn ( from Pine Colorado
15 November 2003

This is a movie that shows the degenerate view of the "Hollywood" perspective of the American base of values and moralities. I am married to a " New Yorker" and she was offended by the depiction of New Jersey and New yorkers use of the f--- word injected in every other word. Is this real? I have been in the "real world" and am no saint, but this is too much.

I watch movies for entertainment value. This was not entertainment, but an obscene and sick movie to grab the profits of a degenerate audience.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Cheeky, but overly cute

Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
21 June 2007

Chuck Barris, who became a television icon in the mid-1970s while acting as producer-creator-host of TV's "The Gong Show", has his humble and strange beginnings reenacted by first-time director George Clooney, who curiously displays a loving affection for innocent American nostalgia and yet a puny breadth of imagination behind the camera. Clooney's set-ups for each scene are in joshing good humor, spiked by fantasy visuals that give the project a light, jovial mood, but--aside from an amusing camera-shot peering through a cut-out shape of the United States and a tricky bit involving Julia Roberts and two coffee cups--nothing from Clooney shows much originality or chutzpah (the handling of the picture is as canned as a TV laugh-track). The performances are intentionally over-scaled, which doesn't give us a good grip on the personal strife and drama that frames the film, and the alleged CIA sub-plot is a squashy mess. This was a life story no one really wanted to see adapted to the screen, and even Clooney (as both director and supporting actor, playing the CIA operative who recruits Barris) is more cheeky than serious. ** from ****

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Dangerous? Dull is more like it.

Author: JJStudCty from Studio City, CA
30 December 2002

By all rights, it SHOULD have been horrible -- misogynistic, racist, offensive, lewd, crass and obnoxious. But it's not.

It's just boring.

Unfunny, unfocused, uninvolving and, most of all, unendurable.

As a director, George Clooney has a curious fixation on male butts and a difficulty finding any sort of rhythm or pace. Voiceover dialogue drones on forever and there's no fun at all. Whether you love him, hate him or (most likely) fall somewhere in between, you never would have described Chuck Barris as boring. But that's exactly what he is here.

The only enjoyment at all comes from the meticulous recreations of the sets of "The Dating Game," "The Newlywed Game" and "The Gong Show." Then again, you could just tune in to the Game Show Network. It would be much more entertaining.

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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Terrible Film

Author: Tim ( from Phoenix, AZ
30 January 2003

I had some hope for this movie, in that it would be original. I found however a film that despite what some critics say to be poorly paced, forced, and at times not funny, but just silly. The acting was fair, but the direction and the editing didn't add to any sense of narrative.

Save even your rental fee on this one. Perhaps in a few years, around 3am on HBO when watching an informercial is your only other alternative will be a good time to watch this.

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9 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Another Failed "Adaptation" for Kaufman

Author: Vinny-28 from Los Angeles
24 January 2003

This film could have and should have been a barrel of fun, but has been turned into a ponderous, overlong, self-important, repetitive, and ultimately confused and pointless movie. The trouble is at the basic level. You can't really make this brooding "showbusiness" tale when most of the film is taken up with the ludicrous idea that Barris was a CIA hitman. The film should have been a small wild lark. But this thing is written and directed with a heavy and pretentious hand. And it is a uniquely unpleasant experience to watch. The only fun comes from the period game show recreations. The rest is a repetitive bore with a completely unlikable, uninteresting, and unsympathetic character. I can't believe I'm saying it, but Chuck Barris deserved better. Check out the "Gong Show Movie" from 1980, you'll have more fun....

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Sam Rockwell's best acting manifestation

Author: lasttimeisaw from China
15 March 2013

I have no idea who Chuck Barry is, but I guess I should not miss Mr. Clooney's director debut, furthermore Charlie Kaufman is billed as the screen writer, so the premise looks rosy. The film kicks off with a self-inspective unreeling of Chuck's life-long hustle and bustle jostling with his TV show-runner identity and a clandestine CIA assassin, interspersing with black & white snippets of interviews with people who know Chuck in the real life (but mostly are pithy sound-bites whose only purpose is to mystify his personage), occasionally the film switches into an over-saturated, over-exposed hue which may engender some hallucinatory reverberation, since the most obvious selling point is the enthralling double life scenario and leaving all the traces which could be siphoned (by viewers) to make one's own judgment whether it is plain fictional or not.

But the ramifications are as much ambiguous as what George Clooney (an exemplar of the mainstream Hollywood mindset) wants us to believe, it does manage to shape a believe-it- or-despise-it logjam and according to the film's depiction, Chuck Barry is nothing but a pipsqueak (there is no reference of any flair in his ascending in the show business), a lunatic has a very troubled mental state (a dreadful imagination of someone is going to finish him off), a repellent womanizer/sex-addict has big commitment issues if we simply remove the " hit-man" halo, so from which one could imply is that the "other identity" suits well to rationalize his personal mire, it is his last straw, but from the eyes of an audience, it flunks by blatantly over-beautifying the double-identity situation, I never feel the frisson albeit the film is being cunningly shot in a retro-redolent grain, with a friendly comic tone and lively interactions between the cinematography and the editing, plus an ace soundtrack with the trademark of its time. But pitifully Charlie Kaufman's script doesn't have too much to bite.

The biographic nature demands a wider range of chronicle, which may also be the Achilles heel of the genre, without zooming in any enhanced center-pieces, everything runs episodic, leaving no instant aftertaste at all to be amazed and appreciated. All sidekicks are come-and- go (with Drew Barrymore and Julia Roberts the female auxiliaries have longer stints, both equally awful I must say, Barrymore doesn't age at all along a two-decades span which is so dragging viewers out of the picture), the sole comic relief is the performance from Sam Rockwell, who was largely unknown at that time and overlooked by the awards season (a SILVER BERLIN BEAR for BEST ACTOR is his only trophy), his panache proffers the vitality of the film against its slightly mind-bogging narrative tempo, also his personal charisma transcends his character, and sublimates his character Chuck, a connection has been substantially built across the screen, a triumphant achievement in deed.

Rutger Hauer, a fellow assassin, said in the film "killing my first man (in the WWII) is like making love with my first woman", which strikes a chord with my previous argument in DR. STRANGELOVE (1964, 8/10), war and killing may truly be the by-product of heterosexual men's hegemony in the society, if actually the raving stupidity germinates from the biologic impulse, along with evolution, let us hope a less macho but peaceful world is ahead of us.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Prince Of Unknown Minds

Author: getyourdander from United States
13 January 2009

This is an interesting conversion to the screen of Chuck Barris novel about his life in which he claims to be a CIA hit-man. Actually, I credit the screenplay and George Clooney in his first directing effort for bringing a take on the material which to me is quite accurate. There is a large and varied cast and some real footage from Barris game-shows worked in for good measure and a major number of songs from the 1960's and beyond.

While many viewers might find this movie has a surreal feeling, my take on the conversion has to do with the era Barris came along in. The 1960's were a time of liberation, featuring hippies and recreational drug use. This screen play gives me the feel that Chuck Barris imagines he is a CIA hit-man while he is almost certainly taking trips on these drugs. Using the pot, LSD combo of the 1960's, folks would lose weeks of their life during the abuse. That is what appears to happen here.

The storyline actually works pretty well and the viewer only gets slightly lost but then is brought back from a drug induce brink. Barris claims to have murdered over 30 people as a CIA hit-man. It might be he saw that many folks over-dosed at drug blasts.

I give credit to these folks for putting together a well told story. It does prove the mind can be a dangerous thing, especially when abused which by the torture shows on the screen, Barris mind was definitely abused. This film even employs a classic NewlyWed game sequence where the wife answers that the most unusual location they have ever had sex was in the .... without being bleeped. This really did happen as Gameshow Network ran the clip on a show recently.

Overall, this film is well done, but the depth of the script and the who cares what happens to anyone lowers in down in my estimation. Still I have seen worse movies.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Clooney has a long way to go

Author: kundan-nitrkl from India
19 February 2008

Frankly speaking, I was expecting more from the film. It could have been better had it been directed by some experienced directors like Spielberg or Scorsese but nonetheless, Clooney did a good job. I actually appreciate his handling of the suspense. For any movie it is very important and delicate. For some time I forgot about it but Clooney bought it on my face with beauty. Rockwell was good but I liked Clooney especially. His facial expressions were saying it all and his screen presence was influential. Drew also looked mature and so was Julia. Cameo by Brad Pitt and Matt Dillon was duly noticed. I wouldn't like to comment on the story selection by Clooney but somethings in the movie were indigestible. I made some search on the internet and found that Chuck Barris may be lying about his CIA stunt. This made me feel light but again "Truth is stranger than Fiction".

Watch it for the turns and twists and amateur direction by Clooney!!!!!!!!

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