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John Leguizamo: Freak (1998)

Not Rated | | Biography, Comedy | TV Special 10 October 1998
John Leguizamo's semi-falsified, one-man stand-up performance as...himself. This is his autobiographical story, about his life growing up, and his journey to try to be accepted by his ... See full summary »

Director:

Spike Lee
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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Leguizamo ... Himself
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Storyline

John Leguizamo's semi-falsified, one-man stand-up performance as...himself. This is his autobiographical story, about his life growing up, and his journey to try to be accepted by his father. We see this story through a bizarre myriad of characters and situations, which include the eccentric Uncle Sandy, the Fat Boy Called Bitch (John's little brother, Poochie), his mom, his evil grandmothers, and Lee Stratsberg, not to mention a brief appearance by Cantinflas as God. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 October 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Leguizamo's Freak See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lower East Side Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Broadway production of "Freak" by John Leguizamo opened at the Cort Theater in New York on February 12, 1998, ran for 144 performances and was nominated for the 1998 Tony Award for the Best Play. John Leguizamo recreated his solo act in this filmed production and was nominated for the 1998 Tony Award for the Best Actor. See more »

Quotes

John Leguizamo: On the way to our tenement building, it was like the modern day Tower of Babel. The many colors of Beneton were there.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As our lawyers wish us to put it, the characters and incidents portrayed in this photoplay are entirely fictional. See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Best
5 December 2002 | by barbarella70See all my reviews

John Leguizamo's one man shows are hit or miss: Mambo Mouth showed off his intense characterizations and great timing but the material was average, Spic-o-Rama accomplished the former as well but this time the material was funny, Freak is a classic followed by his disappointing Sex-o-holic. But his stuff in Freak showcases his genius and when he's in the spotlight he's without peer.

Freak's semi-autobiographical look at the journey of a young man has power and resonance I don't think even it's creator knew about. By allowing us the chance to see his soul, Mr. Leguizamo gives us an opportunity to project our own life onto his and there can be no greater gift a performer can give. The willingness to drop 'the Wall', expose and share is too terrifying for most actors-they use characters to hide behind-but JL goes full-throttle and gleefully smashes any pretenses. Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor were our best cultural observers/comedians/actors because they spoke from their heart about whatever they noticed in society and the truth provided slashing humor. Combine that with a great actor's gift of mimicry and being in-the-moment (not to mention a sense of humanity) and you'll see John Leguizamo has the power to do the same. At least in Freak he does.

From birth to his first big break and every life altering moment in between, a viewer sees our host and other characters in their most private moments all the while experiencing the pain, hope, and humor that comes with. Looking drained and lean muscled-tight JL is ringing with sweat by evening's end having offered up his crazy life for an audience; Spike Lee's fluid camera work captures the actor's nuances down to the last lip curl and slow blink. The scenarios range from drinking with his machismo-fueled father (when he was 9) to seeing A Chorus Line with his gay, deaf uncle; his first girlfriend's vicious humiliation when he strips naked, eager to have sex. A nightmarish first sexual encounter with a large German woman in the back of a Kentucky Fried Chicken follows an unsuccessful attempt to pick up a "drunk lapsed Catholic" in a bar on St.Patty's Day. Climaxing in a serious showdown with his mother and father, it's here that he shows his true genius: he plays a scene between these two characters and himself and his brother with such a strong dramatic/humourous intensity, you forget you're watching only one person. There's no costume changes, bad wigs, lighting tricks, or makeup. Just an actor giving his all. It's simply amazing.

Other actors/comedians that stand out right now are Eddie Izzard and Chris Rock but they don't dive into themselves as deeply as John Leguizamo does; that's not a criticism, not by a long shot. I love their work but Freak is different. It's moving in a no-b******* way. It's the best one man show out there and no one will be able to touch it for a long time.


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