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Where Genius is Born of Insanity, Even when forced.
Let me start by saying my respect for Clooney as a producer and now a director continue to go up. Backing this one was also Steven Soderbergh... and as a result you get stellar (for scale only) performances by Julia Roberts and Drew Barrymore. Also watch for Brad Pitt and Matt Damon in fleeting, non-speaking cameo roles.
The film (and book) explore the double life of Chuck Barris who was once described as lowering the bar on television for ever. The double life however, is the life of a CIA contract assassin.
The premise is hard to buy into. But then again, so was the man. True or not, the film and story raise Barris up to the level of Andy Kauffman. In a Tyler Durdensque manner this Beautiful Mind takes you thru Barris' theoretical hell or coming to terms with his own personality foibles.
Rockwell is spot on in his portrayal both on and off the small screen as Barris. The reproduction of Gong Show Antics are spooky to say the least. The film is inter-cut with appearances from actual colleagues from Barris' past (such as J.P. Morgan, Gene Gene the Dancing Machine, and others) in an almost Harry-Met-Sally style of nostalgic interview.
Clooney's use of live scene cuts to transition fluidly from thought to thought or scene to scene are reminiscent of The Graduate's Poolside swan-dive directly into Mrs. Robinson's bed. This is a film that has a touch of "Fight Club", "Forrest Gump", and "La Femme Nikita"... all tied together by the man that brought up Rip Taylor's $1.98 Beauty Show.
The film presents more questions than it answers. Matter of fact the only question the film really answers is whether or not someone really answered the weirdest place they ever had whoopie.
I saw this on Starz thanks to the marvel that is Tivo. The DVD is now definitely on my wish list.