Saturday, 4 February 2012

Film Review: MAN ON THE MOON (1999)

Man  0n The Moon - poster Director: Milos Forman
Writers: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Running time: 118 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
Genre: Biography/Drama/Comedy
UK Release date: 5th May 2000
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 4th February 2012.
This is a film I have seen three times now and I must admit I love it! Apart from his portrayal of Latka (I know I spelt that right) on the TV show ‘Taxi’, I knew very little about Andy Kaufman. Of course much of his work was focused on the US and so we didn’t really hear much about it here in the UK. He was quite a character who had a very controversial career, some of it worked and was brilliant and some of it was a bit too wide of the mark for many. Either way, I found it a very interesting and entertaining film with a stand-out performance from Jim Carrey. I will tell you more after this brief summary.
Man  0n The Moon - 4 We begin with a very young Andy Kaufman putting on shows for his kid sister. Moving on, he’s doing stand-up in a club when an agent, George Shapiro, sees him and offers to represent him. This leads to him landing the role of Latka in ‘Taxi’, a role which, we are lead to believe, he didn’t really want to do. Another character, Tony Clifton, puts in an appearance at this point. He is a cabaret singer and a very good friend of Andy’s; in fact, Andy would only agree to play the part of Latka if Tony could also appear in the show. Moving on, Andy and his writing partner, Bob Zmuda, turn their attention to wrestling and Andy begins to play the bad guy, wrestling women. One of the top wrestlers in the country, Jerry Lawler, doesn’t like it and challenges Kaufman to a fight! It all comes to a head when they come to blows live on the David Letterman chat show. Little did people realise, but it was all staged and Kaufman and Lawler were really good friends. Andy eventually meets Lynne Marguiles who becomes his partner and they move in together. Sadly, it’s not long after that he is diagnosed with cancer. Whilst fighting it he fulfils his lifetime ambition and puts on a show at Carnegie Hall in New York. I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Biopics Division) will be making my biopic a little shorter.
Man  0n The Moon - 3 A well made film with many people playing themselves which is either a testament to Andy Kaufman… or they needed the work (that’s a joke by the way). For me, the stand-out performance came from Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman; his best performance to date (IMO)! Danny DeVito did a great job as George Shapiro, as did Courtney Love as Lynne Marguiles and Paul Giamatti as Bob Zmuda. But, for me, a film that can bring together the likes of; Marilu Henner from ‘Taxi’, Judd Hirsch from ‘Taxi’, Carol Kane from ‘Taxi’, David Letterman and Christopher Lloyd from ‘Taxi’ has to have something special.
Man  0n The Moon - 2 I think the reason I like Jim Carrey in this so much is that it gives him the opportunity to play the crazy zany stuff he’s famous for while at the same time giving him the chance to show the audience what a fine dramatic actor he is as well. The title comes from the REM song about Andy of the same name, refrains of which can be heard throughout the film, which I thought was a nice touch. As I said at the beginning this is the third time I’ve watched this film and it’s the third time it’s touched me emotionally. Not many films do that these days and so I have no problem in giving it a higher score than many and also deeming it ‘highly recommended’.
My score: 8.6/10
IMDb Score: 7.4/10 (based on 59,843 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 62/100 (based on 117 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 74/100 (based on 89,423 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Man  0n The Moon - 1 FAVOURITE QUOTES: George Shapiro: You're insane, but you might also be brilliant.
Andy Kaufman: I am from Caspiar, an Island in the Caspian Sea. It sunk.
Tony Clifton: Can I use the bathroom? I may have shit my pants.
Security Guard: Not on the lot.
Tony Clifton: Drink of water?
Security Guard: [shakes head]
Tony Clifton: Aspirin?
Security Guard: [shakes head]
Tony Clifton: Moist Towelette?
Security Guard: [shakes head]
Tony Clifton: Well, in that case, a good day.
George Shapiro: Andy, you have to look inside and ask this question: who are you trying to entertain - the audience or yourself?
Man  0n The Moon - 5 Andy Kaufman: Since you've all been such good boys and girls, I would like to take everybody in this entire audience out for milk and cookies. There are buses outside. Everybody follow me.
Tony Clifton: So... ya wanna see Andy? Anybody gotta flashlight and a couple of shovels?
Man  0n The Moon - 6 LINKS: (Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site:


Lionel Braithwaite said...

The characters name is Latka, not 'Ladka'.

Andy Steel said...

Spelling corrected... Thanks Lionel Braithwaite for pointing out the error...