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Telling Lies in America (1997)

PG-13 | | Drama, Music | 15 October 1997 (USA)
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A loner befriends a local celebrity, Billy Magic, but soon begins to tell lies in order maintain the friendship and the newfound status.

Director:

Guy Ferland

Writer:

Joe Eszterhas
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Bacon ... Billy Magic
Brad Renfro ... Karchy 'Chucky' Jonas
Maximilian Schell ... Dr. Istvan Jonas
Calista Flockhart ... Diney Majeski
Paul Dooley ... Father Norton
Jonathan Rhys Meyers ... Kevin Boyle
Luke Wilson ... Henry
Damen Fletcher Damen Fletcher ... Amos 'Blood Smith'
Jerry Swindall Jerry Swindall ... Andy 'Croak' Stas
K.K. Dodds ... Justine
James Kisicki James Kisicki ... Cecil Simms
J.J. Horna J.J. Horna ... The Blind Kid
Ben Saypol Ben Saypol ... Timmy Morelli
Tony Devon ... Danny Hogan
Rohn Thomas ... Sgt. Disapri
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Storyline

Karchy (Brad Renfro) is a boy in school who has moved from Hungary to America in the 1960s. He is struggling in school and trying to adjust to America's culture. He then hears about a radio DJ, Billy Magic (Kevin Bacon), who holds a contest for a Student Hall of Fame every week. When Karchy finally wins after several weeks, he spends more time with Billy Magic...a man with money, girls, and glam. Karchy thinks that, by spending time with Magic, he can become "cool". He then starts telling lies, to make himself seem greater than he really is. But when his lies begin hurting the people he cares about, he realizes that it isn't worth telling lies if it affects your friends. Afterwards, he learns to accept himself for the person he is, and gives up lying. And as for Billy Magic, it turns out that he pays his price for all the lies that he has told as well.... Written by <Aya704@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Just don't get caught. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sex related situations | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 October 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Magic Man See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,470, 19 October 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$252,318, 16 November 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Joe Eszterhas in his book, "Hollywood Animal", he wrote the script for this film in the early eighties and spent years trying to sell it. Then his wife read it and suggested that he should increase the role of Karchy's father, who was "too much in the background". Eszterhas followed her advice and re-wrote the script, changing the original title "Magic Man" to "Telling Lies in America", so it would look like a brand new script. Director Guy Ferland eventually read it and committed to do it as he was willing to do a "coming of age" film. See more »

Goofs

About two-thirds through the movie, when Karchy picks his girlfriend up at the store after (her) work, they walk down a handicap wheelchair ramp which didn't exist in the 1960's. See more »

Quotes

Karchy Jonas: [sing while combing his hair] Hey, hey, what do you say... Karchy Jonas is coming your way...
Karchy Jonas: ...How are you darlin'?
See more »


Soundtracks

Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko Bob
Performed by Little Anthony and the Imperials
Written by Robert Smith
Courtesy of Rhino Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pants on Fire
14 December 2008 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

In the early 1960s, Cleveland, Ohio immigrant teenager Brad Renfro (as Karchy Jonas) struggles with adolescence and assimilation. Mr. Renfro is working on eradicating the remnants of his Hungarian accent (his "th" sound). Meanwhile, slick disc jockey Kevin Bacon (as Billy Magic) arrives in town (one step ahead of the law), to spin "sweaty collar and dirty fingernail music" on the local rock 'n' roll radio station. Mr. Bacon is a payola player, who needs an underage kid to handle money illegal exchanges. When Renfro cheats on a radio contest, Bacon offers him big bucks to serve as "unwitting accomplice"...

Bacon swaggers through his role with perfection. And, Renfro is incredible, in a very difficult role; capturing the vulnerability of youth, as he struggles to both adopt and resist Bacon's seductive persona. Calista Flockhart (as Diney Majeski) is very effective, as Renfro's "older woman" love interest. Their performances should have received some award consideration. Maximilian Schell (as Istvan Jonas) would have been more believable as Renfro's grandfather, to support the obviously wider than envisioned cultural gap between the characters. A few of the scenes are silly, but many more work, due to director Guy Ferland and his convincing cast.

"I make things up sometimes," Renfro reveals. Don't we all. "Telling Lies in America" certainly breaks no new ground - but, it revisits cinematic themes in great style. The film builds to a fine conclusion, and the music is terrific.

******** Telling Lies in America (8/2/97) Guy Ferland ~ Brad Renfro, Kevin Bacon, Calista Flockhart, Maximilian Schell


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