(2002) dir. George Clooney
This movie was also surprisingly bad. Well, bad might be a little rough. I had higher hopes for it, that’s for sure.
When I saw that Clooney was directing it, though, my hopes weren’t quite so strong. It may be that, as an actor, Clooney chooses some of Hollywood’s best scripts/productions of the past couple of years (Clooney or Johnny Depp, though Clooney is far more ensconsed in the mainstream). But, rather unsurprisingly, he doesn’t seem to know how to work material cleverly when he’s the one behind the camera, so to speak.
While any given sequence of this film has a polished, yet funky (read: Soderbergh-like) sense of composition, rhythm, and editing, the film as a whole seems simply like a lot of such sequences strung together without a great sense of an overall concept. The film’s narrative is pretty hilarious, the (pseudo-?)autobiographical story of Game Show producer and host, Chuck Barris as both entertainment industry phenom and hired assassin for the CIA. The level of absurdity is so implicit to the story that the film just takes it seriously throughout…which is maybe the intent anyways — I haven’t read the original text to know that.
The screenplay is by Charlie Kaufman, of Adaptation. (2002) and Being John Malkovich (1999) notariety, and it shows his penchant for unlikeable protagonists who are full of self-loathing. In a sense it’s refreshing to see films that have this sort of subversive misanthropy at their heart, but it’s also kind of depressing.
It’s a great notion for a film, but just pretty mediocre as it turned out.