Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.
A fascinating look at one of our most interesting voices.
A surprising powerful and interesting look into the mind of one of the most intelligent, innovative and personally inspiring minds existing in our current culture. Conan O'Brien is a brilliant man who was treated very unfairly by NBC and this picture does a great job of documenting all of the turmoil and conflicting emotions that came as a result of that debacle, along with his concert tour that came afterwards when he was banned from being on television. Conan is brave enough for letting this relatively dark chapter of his life be put on film forever, and the makers of the film used it as an opportunity to showcase the man behind the hilarious hour of television he gives us four nights a week.
The film did a superb job of stripping back the layers and showing every side of this man, from his self-effacing humor to his anger over the pressures of the tour and his unjust treatment by NBC, to his genuine joy for life and performing in front of an audience. This is a man who spent over a decade getting to perform to a crowd and make people laugh several times a week, living his dream only to have it stripped away in one of the most childish and bizarre disasters in late night television history. We get to see what happens when that dream of his came crashing down and he had to build himself back up. There are so many great scenes throughout, ones that had me in stitches like when he laughed at the fact that he would never be caught dead on a network like TBS and ones that had me almost in tears of joy or frustration, like when one of his back-up singers brought in about a dozen people to meet him after an exhausting show he performed that he now had to entertain or when he was forced to schmooze a Hollywood crowd at a party for hours before having to do another insanely exhausting show. They really highlighted the pressure that was put on this guy almost every day and how easily people take for granted someone with a genuinely kind heart who just wants to make people happy.
That being said, they didn't make Conan ever seem like this martyr for amusement all the time, they definitely didn't shy away from showing some unlikable characteristics of his. They let him have his moments where he was just being a frustrated jerk, which made the whole thing very human and authentic. I love Conan to death and he will always inspire me and the film would have rang very false if there hadn't been moments where he as kind of a prick. In his situation I feel like it would be pretty impossible not to have a ton of moments where the pressure and frustration become too much and you just want to lash out. But his honest craving for making people happy shines through almost all of the time, even in his darkest moments of depression and confusion over what he was supposed to do at that time.
It's a fantastic documentary and it really exceeded my expectations. It made me laugh even more than I was expecting it to, which was a ton, and provided a surprising level of insight into his psyche at that time and who he really is behind everything. His relationships with those around him were heartwarming, especially the comradery between him and his assistant Sona; I thought their sarcastic back-and-forth and constant support of one another was really beautiful. Their relationship alone is enough to merit watching the film. In the end, it's a film that had me laughing frequently and thinking quite often about the levels of who Conan is and, ultimately, the levels of who I am as well. He will always be a huge inspiration to me and this exploration just further solidifies that.
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