6.6/10
2,945
24 user 24 critic

Insignificance (1985)

R | | Drama, Comedy | 2 August 1985 (USA)
Four 1950s icons meet in the same hotel room and two of them discover more in common between them than they ever anticipated.

Director:

Nicolas Roeg

Writer:

Terry Johnson (screenplay)
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Emil Michael Emil ... Professor
Theresa Russell ... Actress
Tony Curtis ... Senator
Gary Busey ... The Ballplayer
Will Sampson ... Elevator Attendant
Patrick Kilpatrick ... Driver
Ian O'Connell Ian O'Connell ... Assistant Director
George Holmes George Holmes ... Actor
Richard M. Davidson Richard M. Davidson ... Director of Photography (as Richard Davidson)
Mitchell Greenberg Mitchell Greenberg ... Technician
Raynor Scheine ... Autograph Hunter
Jude Ciccolella ... Gaffer
Lou Hirsch Lou Hirsch ... Charlie
Ray Charleson Ray Charleson ... Bud
Joel Cutrara Joel Cutrara ... Bar Drunk
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Storyline

Four 1950's cultural icons (Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio and Senator Joseph MacCarthy) who conceivably could have met and probably didn't, fictionally do in this modern fable of post-WWII America. Visually intriguing, the film has a fluid progression of flash-backs and flash-forwards centering on the fictional Einstein's current observations, childhood memories and apprehensions for the future. Written by Jeanne Baker <jbaker@erim.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

'The story of life, death, sex and the universe . . . relatively speaking' See more »

Genres:

Drama | Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 August 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Insignificancia See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview, A Conversation with Theresa Russell by Sam Wasson, actress Theresa Russell said of this film: "Actually, originally I turned it down. Here's what happened. [Producer] Alexander Stewart kind of approached me before he even approached [director] Nic [Roeg] to do it. I don't know if Nic will even remember that, because he kind of rearranges history sometimes like his movies [Laughs] - but that is in fact how it was. Maybe he wanted Nic all along, I don't know, but he came in that way. I knew the writer of the play [Terry Johnson] didn't want me to do it. He wanted Judy Davis, who had done the play in London. I think they were kind of an item for a while. So he was not happy with me doing it. Also, there had been a slew of Marilyn things going on, and Madonna was in her Marilyn phase, and I was just like, Oh, God, I just can't even think of going there, it's just too silly. I just don't want to . . . I loved the play. I just thought it was a terrific play. But to be Marilyn seemed so daunting, and I didn't know how I would begin to go there in a way that wasn't a caricature-so obviously it was just easier to say no! But then when Nic wanted to do it, that's when it got to another level. See more »

Goofs

When the Actress buys balloons at a newsstand, several vintage magazines are prominently displayed, but mid-80s magazines can also be seen, including an issue of PC World. See more »

Quotes

The Ballplayer: You think I'm stupid, right? Well, lemme let you in on a little secret. I am NOT stupid. Heh, heh. I just enjoy giving the appearance of being stupid. You see, from an early age I've reveled in the appearance of stupidity which is given me a great deal of time to think. So I been thinking... No more TV. No more TV dinners. If you like, no more baseball.
See more »

Connections

Edited into 365 days, also known as a Year (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Life Goes On
Words by Will Jennings
Music by Stanley Myers
Sung by Theresa Russell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Insignificance
30 December 2011 | by MartinTellerSee all my reviews

Joe DiMaggio, Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe and Senator McCarthy (or rather, unnamed facsimiles of them) converge in a hotel room. The result is a thematically sprawling work, covering topics like celebrity, guilt, the plight of the Native American, the shape of the universe, Communism, and nuclear destruction. I haven't been a fan of Roeg at all, but there is something that draws you in to this film, asking you to sort it out and piece it together. The problem is, I don't think it can be pieced together. It's messy... perhaps uniquely messy or intriguingly messy, but messy nonetheless. The story (based on a stage play) flits from one idea to another, too busy trying to cram them all in to make them resonate. And I had big problems with the performances. I can't stand Theresa Russell. Partly it's her vacant, husky voice but I also just don't think she's a good actress. Tony Curtis does what he can, but the characterization of McCarthy is too cartoonish and savage to take seriously. Michael Emil is annoyingly nebbishy as Einstein, as if he'd been plucked out of a Woody Allen film. Amazingly, that leaves Gary Busey as the best member of the cast, but all he really has to do is be a dumb lout. Honestly, if the performances were just a little bit better I'd probably rank this film higher. There are at least two fantastic scenes: one where Monroe explains the theory of relativity to Einstein, and the horrifying but gorgeously surreal finale where Einstein envisions the room being ravaged by nuclear carnage. But taking the film as a whole, it's just too all over the place.


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