Television made him famous, but his biggest hits happened off-screen. This is the story of a legendary showman's double life - television producer by day, C.I.A. assassin by night. At the height of his television career, Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell) was recruited by the C.I.A. and trained to become a covert operative. Or so Barris claimed.
This movie was spoofed in a brief article in The Onion titled "Movie Marketed as Six Different Genres" ("a romantic comedy, a spy thriller, a Hollywood satire, a straightforward biopic... a strange, Being John Malkovich (1999)-esque mind-bender," and a chick flick). See more »
Twice in the film Chuck lights a cigarette backwards (i.e. he lights the filter with the tip in his mouth.) The first time is in Chuck's office with him and his secretary (labeled as taking place in LA, 1967), and the second time is in a car with Chuck, Byrd, and Simon Oliver in Helsinki 1967. Also, in each of these scenes Chuck is smoking a different brand of cigarettes, though this may very well have been on purpose. See more »
I wouldn't want to live his life because he hasn't been happy all of his life. All I think is if you can find work, stay healthy, find somebody to share it with, you're the ultimate success. He's had some of the pieces of the puzzle, but not all of them.
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Good directing debut, under Cohen brothers' influence
What is a worse crime - doing bad television, or killing people in the service of the CIA? That's how I would define in a few words the subject of this film.
This film claims to be inspired by real facts, and you may believe it or not. Actually, in the strange world of American pop culture it is not that important. Killing in the name of democracy does as bad a service to democracy as the TV reality shows do to culture. So that if the principal character happens to be a reality show producer and host, as well as a CIA paid killer during his free time, it makes sense or in the language of the movie - it fits the profile.
George Clooney's first film is well directed, and there are little or no elements to show that he is a first timer in directing. The only observation would be that the story telling seems to be too much inspired by the Cohen brothers work, especially 'Oh Brother' where Clooney was the star. However, the Charlie Kauffman's script is as original and as well written as you expect from Charlie Kauffman, and the result is good cinema - in American cinema terms and scale.
Sam Rockwell who plays the main character is little known, and as I hear was chosen after bigger stars were considered. Good choice I would say, and if the choice was Clooney's it proves that the man has a future in directing as well, not only in acting and heart breaking. Drew Barrimore and Julia Roberts are both good in playing the opposite characters of the two sentimental interests of the main character.
Good entertainment, and not a brainless one for a change. 8/10 on my personal scale.
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