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Man on the Moon

Posted by admin on May 15, 2013


A performer is only as strong as how they see themselves. Actors have got to find their sensitive side in order to fully explore how to play the best out of the character. Singers have got to search to the core of their heart to play the sound that expresses their life. As a writer, I find myself constantly looking at anything and asking myself, “how am I supposed to consider this thing and use it?”. Watching a movie is easy, but taking it all in to find the moral is not. You can give me a TV movie, and I’ll probably give you the Hallmark greeting that you could have found on your own, but give me something different, and that makes for a curious exploration.

Give the story of performer Andy Kaufman. When this man entered the stage scene,  a lot of people didn’t know what to make of this guy. At one point, he was a weird foreign guy trying to tell some awful jokes, but then he’ll pull off the greatest Elvis impersonation. It was all a trick. Kaufman’s gimmick was that he would pull pranks on his audience. But did most of the audience understand that? Not always, but Kaufman didn’t care. This made him unique and his biopic Man on the Moon makes it clear that he was the original pranker of Hollywood.

In the mid seventies, a nightclub performer named Andy Kaufman (played by Jim Carrey) is struggling each night with a small audience that doesn’t understand his intentional bad jokes. Children’s songs may have not been the best way to look for a mainstream audience. It is not until one performance where he introduces his famous “foreign man” sketch that everybody seems quick to judge until the ending that reveals it was all a joke. Among in the audience is a talent agent named George Shapiro (played by Danny DeVito). He signs Kaufman as a client and is able to get him on the sitcom Taxi. Though he agrees, Kaufman feels that this is the wrong direction for his career. Stubborn as a mule, he purposely creates “Tony Clifton”, an obnoxious loudmouth who pisses everyone off. He continues through the years of purposely antagonizing his audience with a inter-gender wrestling TV show and supposed fight on Late Night with David Letterman. It is all a show and Kaufman seemed to enjoy most of it.

Man on the Moon is certainly a dramedy that Andy Kaufman would have wanted his audience to see. This is basically his message of “Relax, it’s all a joke”.  As a look of  not only the story of Andy Kaufman, but on the entertainment industry, this is a pretty good movie. It may not be the most exposing of the Hollywood cruelty and it’s not even the funniest of comedies. I think the reason I liked it was that this story felt honest. The movie clearly tells how much Andy Kaufman loved to perform, but hated the business of show business.

This is the only movie I have to seen Jim Carrey in a biopic. As for playing this surreal comic, he does fine…to his extent. Let me make it clear that I’m a Jim Carrey fan. I know he’s always trying his hardest. But given that he does have a distinctive character, it hard to see him beyond his persona. It feels like I’m watching a movie of Jim Carrey playing Andy Kaufman. But to be honest, he does better then another actor would. Jim Carrey definitely makes you believe that this guy was disgruntled about the Hollywood system.


I’ll give this four and a half mighty mousses out of five. As a biopic, it’s not the strongest. But as an honest opinion of becoming a professional performer and working with the frustration, it’s great. Check it out if you wanna know about Andy Kaufman. He would definitely tell you “Thank you very much”. 


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