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This very brief piece, one of numerous special features offered with a Universal DVD version of the Spike Jonze original film, includes most of a segment seen during the final portion of the work, a simulation of a promotional lure targeting a television audience, its purpose being to advertise the newly developed puppetry skills of "former" actor John Malkovich, a hilarious sequence that furnishes cameos of Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, and others. It is arguably the most incisive satiric footage within the entire feature film, achieving a correct balance of stridency and vigour required for most such puffery. The titular dance of Despair and Disillusionment refers to something else entirely, however, in accord with the wildly incongruous ingredients of the entire film; in this instance choreography created by marionette manipulator Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) and later physically restated by John Malkovich playing himself, none of which appears in this section.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Cool faux documentary. It seems to me that another reviewer missed
this: that by titling the piece "Dance of Despair and
Disillusionment:... etc." the writers/producers were actually being
true to the FORM of the documentary, which is essential to satire that
works. It's got to look real, then make you think maybe not, and maybe
even question the legitimacy of the "real" documentaries.
For instance, if there were a documentary on the remaining members of the band the Grateful Dead, and/or the deadheads, it might reasonably be called "A Long Strange Trip", even if the song from which that (partial) line is taken - Truckin' - might not appear in the movie. It is assumed that any audience interested in seeing said movie will know already what it means.
Similarly fans of Mr. Malkovich's work would be aware of his seminal piece "Dance..." and the whole thing works.
So there was no contradiction in the naming of this mini-doc, except insofar as writer Charles Kaufman likes to play with your head and make you think.
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