Monday, August 30, 2010

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

Director: George Clooney

Starring: Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, George Clooney

More info: IMDB

Tagline: Some things are better left top secret

Plot: Television made him famous, but his biggest hits happened off screen. "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" is the story of a legendary showman's double life - television producer by day, CIA assassin by night. At the height of his TV career, Chuck Barris was recruited by the CIA and trained to become a covert operative. Or so Barris said.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Oh, yeah!

As a kid in the 70s, one of the TV highlights was watching Chuck Barris on THE GONG SHOW (1976). True story, I used to strut around with his mannerisms, his closed-eyes wackiness, grinning ear to ear, spittin' out shit like "Here he is, Gene Gene the Dancing Machine!" and then do the dance while singing the tune, clapping my hands while looking down and shaking my head, undressing Jaye P. Morgan...oh, wait. I wasn't old enough at that point to make those kinds of thoughts. Hell, I even used to put a paper bag over my head and pretend to be The Unknown Comic (Murray Langston).

Many years ago I was in Vegas and Langston was performing in the lounge of my hotel that evening. The tickets were 8 bucks. Sold...that is until I walked out the front door onto the strip where a HUGE billboard was staring me in the face. Don Rickles posed in a boxing stance. Sorry, Murray, but I couldn't resist. It was the first of two Rickles concerts I ever saw but it's always bugged me that I had to trade off one childhood legend for another. I think I made the right decision but if I ever get the chance again to see The Unknown Comic, I'm taking it.

I loved that show. CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND is nothing short of impressive. It's Clooney's directorial debut and you'd never know it by looking at it. He sure knows how to tell a story. It's my introduction to Sam Rockwell. I'd seen him in other things but this was the movie that put him in the "holy shit can that guy act" spotlight. I've found myself watching some movies only because he's in them.

He's a fucking beast as Chuck Barris. Sometimes it's downright scary. The rest of the cast is terrific as well. Drew Barrymore is adorable as hell and she needs to have my babies. Who doesn't need to have my babies and almost ruined the picture for me is Julia Roberts. She's one of the few actors I just cannot stand. She's over-rated, unattractive and she's not that great of an actress. I know I'm burning my bridges here by saying that and that I'll never work in Hollywood again but I don't care. Somebody has to stand up and say what everyone else is afraid to. The only thing that saves it is her fucking awesome exit from the picture. Nice!

AWSOME! It's Rutger Hauer, kids!!!

So, the question doesn't get answered whether it's true or not but it's pure genius that Barris wrote his autobiography and said that he moonlighted as a hitman for the CIA when creating, producing and hosting those wacky game shows. I don't believe a word of it but it makes for great fun from a guy everyone thought was a talentless douchebag that brought the American TV audience into the gutter. I was 7 when the GONG SHOW aired. I loved taking that trip to the gutter then and I love it and appreciate it even more now. So ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Gene Gene the Dancing Machine!

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