Sunday, January 18, 2015

Chump Change (2000)

Director: Stephen Burrows

Writer: Stephen Burrows

Composer: Matt Cartsonis

Starring: Stephen Burrows, Tim Matheson, Traci Lords, A.J. Benza, Fred Willard, Clancy Brown, McNally Sagal, Jon Chardiet, Willie Etra, Abe Vigoda, Roger Clinton, Stefane Zamorano, Theo Greenly, Mandy Levin, Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Fame, Fortune, Cheese, and Beer.

Plot: A failed Hollywood actor returns to his home town in Wisconsin and reminisces about his life in L.A. to a potential new girlfriend about his faults, auditions, misadventures, and confrontations with the evils of Hollywood.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

OMFG where has this movie been?  I laughed my fucking ass off.  It's a semi-autobiographical of writer/director/star Stephen Burrows' adventures in the movie industry.  The script is funny, smart and very good.  The actors he surrounds himself with are outstanding and I'm not just talking about the faces you know like Matheson, Willard, Brown and so on.  Lords is fantastic (and funny) and she's perfectly cast opposite of Burrows.  They've got great chemistry.  Part of that's the dialogue and the other is just how well these two actors get along.  Burrows is great and hilarious.  It's his show all the way but he gives everyone else their moments to shine. The comedy troupe he puts together with McNally Sagal (I LOVE her in this) and (I think) M.C. (Jon Chardiet) has a montage of a bunch of bits that will slay you.  The Transvestite Leave It To Beaver about killed me with laughter.  The Hollywood types (agent, publicist, studio head and so on) are made to be over the top but I can't help but think that there's a lot of truth in those scenes and performances.  I'm sure they can be that fucking stupid and ass-kissy.  Check out the Wiki or IMDb pages for Burrows and get some great background info on what this guy's done.  The Mirimax DVD has a nice anamorphic widescreen print and the extras include 7 deleted scenes (with optional commentary by Burrows), 4 outtakes (with optional commentary by Burrows), Burrows reading outrageous focus group comments for three hilarious minutes which goes to show how dumb focus groups can be, a director's commentary, a director's commentary on the director's commentary, a non-anamorphic widescreen trailer and a 12 minute interview with Traci Lords by Burrows.  It's currently on Netflix streaming.  This needs to better known.  Not only is it hilarious but it's sweet and it's got heart and not in that cheesy, forced way.  Highly recommended. 

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