a/perture cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents The Less Desirables Movie of the Week: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), starring Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore and George Clooney.
©Miramax/Walt Disney Pictures
Per IMDb: “An adaptation of the cult memoir of game show impresario Chuck Barris, in which he purports to have been a CIA hitman.”
Chuck Barris (Rockwell) grew up in a weirdly broken home. He became very interested in television, even getting a job as a tour guide at NBC in New York. He wrote “Palisades Park” which went on to become a top 10 hit. He started to think up wacky game shows that were unlike anything else on television at the time. But, there was a dark side. That is, if Barris is to be believed in his book and/or in this film.
He was approached by Jim Byrd (Clooney), an FBI secret agent. Byrd wants to recruit Barris to be an assassin for the government. The money that Barris supposedly makes doing this line of work enables him to develop more of his loony programs. Shows like The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, The $1.98 Beauty Show and, of course, The Gong Show among others. He got his assignments by giving The Dating Game winning contestants trips to other countries where he is their “chaperone” during the day. At night, he kills a few people for the government and meets an operative named Patricia (Julia Roberts). They get close, which causes friction with Barris’ on-again/off-again girlfriend, Penny (Barrymore). What else happened? Does he ever get caught? Does he get the girl, either girl, neither girl? You’ll have to watch to find out.
I was very young when The Gong Show was on television, but I do remember it. I remember Gene Gene the Dancing Machine, the Unknown Comic, Arte Johnson, Jamie Farr and Jaye P. Morgan all being on there. I didn’t understand what was going on, but I remember it. I do remember The Newlywed Game vividly. I loved that show. I also knew about The Dating Game pretty well, too.
I do remember Chuck Barris from The Gong Show, too. I believe that Sam Rockwell did a fantastic job playing Barris. He had his mannerisms down and sounded a lot like him, as well. George Clooney, who not only starred in the film but directed it, was properly creepy and brilliantly stoic in his role as Agent Byrd. I’m not a huge fan of Julia Roberts but she did a great job of playing Agent Patricia Watson. Drew Barrymore is gorgeous and is always fantastic in whatever role she plays. I do find it funny that it seems she is almost always driving a Volkswagen vehicle in a lot of her films. Go watch a few of them to see what I’m talking about.
Do I believe half of this stuff? I don’t know. I don’t think so. It’s plausible and quite possible but mostly improbable. Does the improbability take anything away from the film? Nope. It’s a good film, actually. Interesting, intriguing and entertaining. It’s worth a watch. There were several cameos in the film of note: Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Michael Cera, to name a few.
It was on Netflix a while back but it’s currently only available on Amazon as a two-day rental. I own it on DVD and watched it that way.
I had chosen to do this film about two months ago, putting it on my schedule for this day. Oddly enough, Chuck Barris passed away on Tuesday, but I didn’t find out about it until I had put it in to watch on Wednesday. That’s just weird, to me.
Rotten Tomatoes has it rated at 79% Fresh with an Audience Score of 75%. IMDb has it rated at 7.1 stars out of 10. Like I said, a pretty good film. I rate it 3.75 stars out of 5. Have you seen it? What did you think? What would you like to read/hear me review? Send me some recommendations!
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“We’re goin’ about this all wrong! We’re killing ourselves trying to find good acts. We just book bad ones and kill them! We kill ’em before they’re through, as soon as it gets unbearable, we kill them. Dead.” – Chuck Barris