Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Gong Show Movie (1980)

Director: Chuck Barris

Writers: Chuck Barris, Robert Downey Sr.

Composer: Milton Delugg

Starring: Chuck Barris, Robin Altman, Mabel King, Harvey Lembeck, Jamie Farr, Murray Langston, Vincent Schiavelli, Rip Taylor, Jaye P. Morgan, Roosevelt Grier, Tony Randall, Phil Hartman, Danny DeVito, Kitten Natividad, Taylor Negron

More info: IMDb

Tagline: All the stuff Chuck Barris had to keep under his hat until now!

Plot: A week in the life of "The Gong Show" host and creator Chuck Barris who lives through a series of outrageous competitors, stressful situations, a nervous breakdown and other comical characters involved in his life and work on the TV show.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  Yeah.

As a kid in the 70s I loved watching THE GONG SHOW (1976).  It was silly, wacky, stupid, zany and really fucking funny.  It played right to my 7 year old self.  A few years later I watched this movie on HBO and I about pissed myself when Jaye P. Morgan (who I adored on the show) showed her tits.  NICE! I would've been about 12 at that time.  Cut to 35 years later and I finally watched it again.  It's still a funny flick.  It's kooky like the show but that's the point.  Barris has reluctant charisma.  He comes off a little shy but he's a blast to watch.  He's naturally funny but he has something about him that seems like he's a little uncomfortable being in front of the camera.  I love this guy.  The film does such a great job of giving you a look into what his life must've been like at the height of TGS's success.  So much so that I believe it.  It's exaggerated a little but not by much (my opinion).  Barris is just too likable not to enjoy and his chemistry with Robin Altman (who plays Barris' girlfriend, Red) is so natural and fun.  It's not so surprising to find out that they married the year this came out.  I really like this film and it's hard to discern how much of it is due to nostalgia.  Not all of the gags work but there are so many of them that there are still more laughs than your average comedy.  Nearly every scene has someone that you'll recognize but won't know their names. Oh, and this is for that 12 year old back in 1981...

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