7.2/10
6,493
3 user 5 critic

My Name Ain't Johnny (2008)

Meu Nome Não é Johnny (original title)
The true story of João Guilherme Estrella ("Johnny"), a young middle-class bon vivant who became a big-time cocaine dealer in Rio de Janeiro in the early 1990s.

Director:

Mauro Lima

Writers:

Guilherme Fiúza (novel), Mariza Leão (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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17 wins & 29 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Selton Mello ... João Guilherme Estrella
Giulio Lopes ... Pai de João / João's father
Júlia Lemmertz Júlia Lemmertz ... Mãe de João / João's mother
Felipe Severo Felipe Severo ... João criança / child
Breno Guimarães Breno Guimarães ... Policial Federal 1
Ellan Lustosa Ellan Lustosa ... Policial Federal 2
Gillray Coutinho Gillray Coutinho ... Advogado / Lawyer Renato
Cleo ... Sofia (as Cléo Pires)
Arthur Lopes Arthur Lopes ... João adolescente / teen
Victor Lisboa Gorgulho Victor Lisboa Gorgulho ... Julinho adolescente / teen
Daniel Torres Daniel Torres ... Boneco adolescente / teen
Rodrigo Amarante Rodrigo Amarante ... Rubão
Tammy Di Calafiori ... Laura adolescente / teen
Ângelo Paes Leme Ângelo Paes Leme ... Julinho
Flávio Pardal Flávio Pardal ... Boneco
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Storyline

In the 90's, In Rio de Janeiro, the middle-class João Guilherme Estrella is introduced to the world of drugs consuming maconha and cocaine first and later becoming a drug-dealer with many connections inclusive in Europe. However, he spends all the money he makes in his addiction, parties with clients and friends and travels, never structuring or organizing a network or saving money. When he is arrested, he is sent to the prison first and later to the judicial asylum for treatment, reintegrating to the society. Presently João is a successful musical producer. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

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Did You Know?

Goofs

In the beginning of the film, when Joao and Sofia sit down together in the sofa, there are some vinyls over this sofa. This scene takes place in the early 1980s, but one of the vinyls is 'Jive Bunny The Album' by the group 'Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers', which was released in 1989. See more »

Connections

References Magnum, P.I. (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

It's a Long Way
Written by Caetano Veloso
Performed by Olivia Broadfield
See more »

User Reviews

 
White Boogie Nights in Rio
9 January 2008 | by debblystSee all my reviews

Fast, hip and mod film adaptation of the true story of João Guilherme Estrella, an upper-middle-class dope-head who turned into serious addict and, against all odds, a top cocaine dealer in Rio de Janeiro in the early 1990s. The film follows his glamorized coke-snorting glory days and his later detention, trial, imprisonment and subsequent confinement in a state institution for mentally disturbed criminals. Based on the biography written by Guilherme Fiúza that provides most of the film's light tone and funny dialog, the film is a comedy -- yes, a comedy! -- about drug addiction and dealing, in the line of Ted Demme's "Blow" and particularly influenced by the episodic structure, pop flavor and sense of humor of Paul Thomas Anderson's "Boogie Nights".

The "rise" of Estrella in the drug world is made to look sexy, cool, adventurous and a lot of fun, though it isn't exactly believable -- his drug connections are never satisfactorily explained, probably because it's still legally dangerous to dot all the "ii". Anyway, it's obvious the filmmakers aren't interested in "denouncing" Rio's drug business, but in audience adhesion and laughter: even Estrella's sojourn in prison and in the appalling mental institution are meant to be funny, instead of depressing and scary, and the long sequence of Estrella being harassed and blackmailed by two corrupt cops seems inspired by the antics of Abbott & Costello or Oscarito & Grande Otelo.

The film is totally centered around Selton Mello, who finds in the part of Estrella the perfect vehicle for his peculiar cinematic persona: ironic, funny, non-chalant, quick-spoken, Mello acts as if he's ad-libbing and is the right choice for this kind of role, though possibly with the wrong physique (it's hard to believe that a man who admittedly sniffed up to 100 grams of coke per week could look this chubby -- but the real Estrella IS chubby, at least nowadays). The rest of the cast varies from fine (veteran Eva Todor, Cássia Kiss, Orã Figueiredo, the lovely and talented Rafaella Mandelli), to insipid (clueless Cléo Pires, whose role is fortunately rather small), from weird (Júlia Lemmertz plays Selton Mello's mother!) to over the top (Flavio Bauraqui and Aramis Trindade overacting once again).

Mauro Lima's direction shows assuredness and objectivity -- he's not a technique freak but there are some exciting dolly shots -- though the film would certainly benefit from a bigger budget and longer schedule (there are sequences in Barcelona and Venice that seem made in a terrible hurry). Lima and producer Mariza Leão wrote the clever script aiming at young audiences used to sitcoms and comic strips; well, the jokes do work and the dialog is above TV average, though the tear-jerking trial scene is longish and maudlin.

There are big issues that the film doesn't really want to discuss, like the fact that Estrella could play for laughs because, being white and middle-class, he knew he would come out alive and free from his failed drug-lord fantasy (whereas black and poor traffickers get dead or rot in prison). Or the fact that, though the film is being (mis)marketed as a "cautionary story" for teenagers who might be curious about experimenting with drugs, it's rather a "feel-good" drug movie that isn't really meant to warn or scare drug neophytes or anyone else, especially because of Selton Mello's "cool" demeanor and the happy-ending. On the contrary: I suspect many teenagers leave the theater with the idea that coke-snorting mustn't be all THAT bad (and we know, don't we, that coke has made its comeback). Despite the potentially violent and tragic overtones of the theme, the ultimate goal of the film is to be fun, cool and hip -- and that, "Johnny" undoubtedly succeeds.

PS: There's a final credit that states that João Guilherme Estrella is now drug-free and works as music producer, singer and composer, but don't scratch your head if you've never heard of him -- he's hardly famous. Following the film's big box-office results (2 million+ tickets sold), Brazilian EMI Music released Estrella's debut album as singer and composer, which was a big critical and commercial flop.


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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Brazil]

Country:

Brazil

Language:

Portuguese | Spanish | Italian

Release Date:

4 January 2008 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

My Name Ain't Johnny See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

BRL6,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,422,746
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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