|Index||4 reviews in total|
I was lucky enough to see the world premiere of this mockumentary at
the Raindance Film Festival in London, with the titular Coolest Man on
the Planet in attendance. A light satire on the paparazzi,
entertainment industry and the self-righteousness of documentary film
makers, this low-budget indie comedy is good for a few laughs.
Michael Madsen, playing himself, has been accused of killing an extra on one of his films by a slimeball paparazzo, Billy Dant (Jason Alan Smith). He sues Dant for slander, but when he loses, decides to teach him a lesson by sending a documentary film crew to stalk him and give him a taste of his own medicine. The plot reveals itself mostly through talking head interviews, and it takes a while for the film to warm up and for it to become clear what is going on. Once it gets going, though, it is quite funny and compelling.
Davis Mikaels, Kathy Searle and Doug Tompos are great as the film crew, each in the business for very different reasons, and all ringing true to life. The real draws, however, are the cameo talking heads by friends of Madsen, like David Carradine, Harry Dean Stanton, Daryl Hannah and his sister, Virginia Madsen, all making fun of themselves.
The film reminded me in places of a Christopher Guest one, and I certainly enjoyed it as much as For Your Consideration, which is on a similar subject (although also the least good of Guest's films). For something that only took ten days to shoot, the film makers have done an amazing job. Unfortunately, it perhaps still doesn't add up to enough for a cinema release. Being Michael Madsen should find its home on DVD or on something like HBO, where it will give fans of Mr. Madsen a treat, and everyone else a diverting hour and a half or so.
Before Being Michael Madsen was making rounds in the festival circuit,
two young gals came into the store where I work asking for ANY DVD that
starred Madsen. "He's just the coolest, hottest guy ever!" they gushed.
I informed them that I knew of a film called Being Michael Madsen that
would be released some day, and their eyes just lit up, making sure
they wrote that title down. I still smile when I think of that, now
having seen the film when it was screened at the Dances With Films
festival in June of 2009 in Los Angeles. I can now say I agree with
those gals, and while this film seems to be about Michael it's obvious
everyone else is getting their share of the fun. He has some good
competition with his sister Virginia here as well. Michael is so cool
you want him to be your pal, though you might get the feeling he still
could punch you. But you'd appreciate that he did.
Director/writer Michael Mongillo has done something I've always wished would happen: turn the tables on the paparazzi and/or tabloid reporters and have THEIR lives invaded and exposed, showing the skeletons in their closets. And while Being Michael Madsen turns out to be a mockumentary, there are still times when you forget about the faux part of it since actual facts about Madsen's life are intermixed with fiction. Whether or not you feel that completely works, there's no doubt you'll be hooked and go along with the ride. The full audience at the screening seemed to be willing and had a lot of fun. It's very apparent that when you have people putting together a film and enjoying doing that instead of it being just a "process" for them, something good will result.
The film sets up a scenario that a well-known tabloid's reporter/paparazzo Billy Dant wrote an article that Madsen killed a film extra (though no body was ever found), then gives us a background to Madsen's life and career, to then bring us back to the Dant situation. He then hires a three-person documentary crew to follow Dant and basically make his life hell. It was nice to see Mongillo regulars like Davis Mikaels (The Wind) as the camera guy, you just knew anything he was going to say in the rest of the film was going to make you laugh. Throughout all this we get interviews with Madsen's sister Virginia (who is absolutely amazing and very, VERY funny in her "seriousness") as well as friends Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, and Harry Dean Stanton (who got the entire theatre laughing by simply uttering the word "bullsh*t"). Of course the documentary crew has its own inner conflicts, so things get mighty out of control very quickly.
Re-enactments of past situations were wonderfully performed in stiff, schlocky form, and I never imagined that a scene of a woman undressing could be so hysterically funny instead of erotic. That scene alone brought in some hearty laughs, along with Billy Dant getting bonked in the head with a boom mic.
Those that go in thinking this film is a real documentary will not be disappointed after realizing what's really going on, and those that already know the joke will still get a kick out of all the fun. The cast is having a great time (you can bet Paige Davis was having a grand time of it), and while some may say this is not a perfect film, its sheer entertainment makes it worth getting high marks. Some may say it's not a mass audience pleaser because of it poking fun at a particular part of the Hollywood scene, however that's not the case here since there's something for everyone. Fans of the Madsens, film insiders and officionados, and word of mouth can especially make this one a winner as well. Sit back with some snacks and enjoy! Be sure to stick through the credits for some surprises.
Michael Madsen says in the film: "There's one thing I can't live with: a flat-out lie." *WINK - WINK* !!
Actor Michael Madsen turns the tables on notorious paparazzo, Billy
Dant, by hiring a trio of documentary filmmakers to chronicle Dant's
life, loves, and troubles.
I love that such fine actors as Lacey Chabert, Debbie Rochon, David Carradine and others appeared here. I am a bit confused how Chabert got the role, though, as she was not playing herself and it seems that she might be easily recognized by anyone watching this who does not know if it is real or not.
I love the feigned bitterness of Virginia Madsen towards her brother's success. I also love that the "celebrity" they used was Paige Davis -- that was pretty funny, because she is probably rather obscure and hardly worthy of tabloid coverage.
All in all, great -- Madsen lovers will love it.
I am a photographer for the wire service Retna and I just finished covering the 30th Starz Denver International Film Festival. I covered all the red carpets, saw a bunch of films, but one film REALLY jumped out at me. "Being Michael Madsen" was one of the highlights of the festival. It is a "Mockumentary" that takes you into the life of celebrities and the paparazzi. It centers around actor Michael Madsen and a paparazzi named Billy Dant who has written an tabloid article claiming Madsen killed a girl. This send Madsen's career into turmoil and forces Madsen to take matters into his own hands. What happens next is hilarious and sometimes reflects today's reality for celebrates in an almost scary way. I got to meet and photograph Director Michael Mongillo who is a very friendly and approachable person. He and two members of the cast Jason Alan Smith who plays Billy Dant and Doug Tompos who plays Mark Pollard were in attendance and gave me their time. We talked about the film and did some great photos. This film features cameos by some very big Hollywood talent such as Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, Virginia Madsen and Harry Dean Stanton and the mostly unknown cast is just as strong. This film needs to get the attention it deserves and it really needs to get full distribution so everyone gets a chance to see it. If there is anyone out there in Hollywood that would like to be responsible for finding the "Spinal Tap" of the movie industry, pick up this film NOW! Go on DO IT!!
|Plot synopsis||Ratings||External reviews|
|Official site||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|