That Time Jim Carrey Became Andy Kaufman

Anyone who has been a regular reader of my movie blogs knows that we love the undervalued. One of these films is 1999’s Milos Forman’s Man On The Moon starring Jim Carrey as the incomparable Andy Kaufman. After receiving mixed reviews at its release, Jim Carrey went on to win his second straight Golden Globe for his portrayal of the legendary comedian.

The film chronicles Kaufman’s life from childhood thru his rise to fame with his unique and unconventional brand of humor. From the stages of L.A.’s famed Comedy Store to the set of TV’s Taxi, Andy Kaufman made audiences laugh heartily and uncomfortably with his one of a kind brand of comedy. The movie examined and touched on subjects such as his Tony Clifton character to his “wrestling” career to his final legendary performance at Carnegie Hall.

Andy Kaufman was a one of a kind individual who hated his fame but loved his talents. He alienated cast members and fellow comedians, but in the end, most of them saw what he was doing as a borderline genius. Man On The Moon Starring Jim Carrey revealed the truth behind his battles with wrestler Jerry Lawler but still left a little wonderment as to if his death was his greatest joke. The numerous cameo appearances are a testament to peoples love for Kaufman and his ability.

Notably left off the cameo list was Tony Danza who famously did not get along with Kaufman at all; therefore, he was the only Taxi cast member not to appear in the movie. Everyone from his friend and writer Bob Zmuda to the local Memphis ring announcer who called his matches with Lawler.

The shining star of this movie was Jim Carrey’s portrayal of Kaufman and his flawless performance. Within a few minutes of Carrey appearing on screen, the audience is left feeling as if they are watching Kaufman himself instead of Carrey. Carrey gives a once in a career performance, and while he was honored at the Globes, he was snubbed for a second straight year at the Academy Awards despite being one of the best actors of the year.

Courtney Love once again proved she had what it takes to work alongside Hollywood heavyweights for her second film with Forman having been brilliant in The People vs. Larry Flynt. She played  Kaufman’s longtime girlfriend/companion Lynne Margulies.

The comedy of Kaufman is not for everyone. He was an acquired taste that not everyone would like. He none the less made his mark on the comedy world, and whether he wanted to or not, he left a mark on the sitcom world with his lovable character Latka. Kaufman was different but not a bad guy. He saw things differently and expressed himself behind a mask of characters. While he hid most of his life people never really got a chance to know who he was, or maybe that IS who he was.

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Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind Is One Of The Most Unique Romance Movies

I love a good romance movie but it has to be done in a different way to really make me enjoy it. That’s why Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind is unique. It has everything that makes it unique and unconventional and it starts with the writer, Charlie Kaufman. 

Charlie Kaufman gained notarially with his brilliant script for Being John Malkovich which fused one of Hollywood’s most innovative writers with one of Hollywood’s most eccentric people. The film would go on to be a massive independent hit and bring Kaufman an Oscar nomination. The trouble with “Malkovich” is people didn’t get it. It would take five more years, and an upstart production company in Focus Features to help people see that Kaufman wasn’t crazy but just had a detailed profound and different way of looking at everyday life that involved a lot of creativity.

Charlie Kaufman would have 2 Oscar nominations under his belt by the time Eternal Sunshine would begin its production. One for “Malkovich” and one for Adaptation which did bring Oscar gold home for Chris Cooper in his best-supporting-actor role.

Eternal Sunshine is the story of a man named Joel Barish who has recently broken up with his eccentric girlfriend, Clementine. He soon discovers Clementine has enlisted the help of the Lacuna corporation to aid her in erasing Joel from her life and memory. Fueled by his disappointment and anger, Joel then decides to have the same procedure done. It is only at the start and under sedation that he realizes that he doesn’t want Clementine erased from his mind. He wants to keep all the memories, good and bad. The movie then is a trip through the relationship of Joel and Clementine as seen through the eyes of Joel’s memory and their attempt to stay together even if it’s in Joel’s mind.

With a look at relationships and areas of life that most people have felt and have memories they wish they could just altogether forget, Eternal Sunshine shows that life is what it is and makes us who we are despite the great and terrible moments we endure.

Eternal Sunshine would go on to be the movie that would force those in the independent world to take notice of Michel Gondry. It was his American directorial debut and some films to follow would not live up to Eternal Sunshine but would none the less have Gondry’s touch on them all.

Kaufman, however, would continue to make some of Hollywood’s unique and intelligent films which included his debut as a director with Synecdoche, New York starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. Synecdoche would not bring in the viewers that Eternal Sunshine did but would let Kaufman stretch himself as a screenwriter and director.

Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet turned in superb performances which would have made the film mediocre or even bad without such acting. With what, off screen, seemed like such unlikely chemistry, Carrey and Winslet proved they had what it takes to make it work. Winslet was already on her way to being the most celebrated working actress since Meryl Streep (which she has surpassed in the eyes of this reviewer). Carrey would once again get snubbed like he was in ’98 and ’99.

Regardless of awards and recognitions, Eternal Sunshine is a great and different slant on the modern day love story that will leave you thinking about it and then you need to re-live it all over again.