Friday, September 18, 2015


Year 7, Day 261 - 9/18/15 - Movie #2,153

BEFORE: Day 2 of the McConnaughey chain, and I've decided to go chronologically, more or less.  I had a couple of chains earlier this year that ended up going in reverse chronological order, and it's a little weird watching an actor get younger as the chain goes on.  Finally I've had enough time to plan a chain that goes in the correct sequence.  So a couple years after filming "Amistad", Matthew M. was in this one, which I think gave him a few more chances to be shirtless.  It seems a little weird to go from a historical drama right into a silly comedy, but hey, that's McConnaughey.  Get your bongoes out, here we go.

THE PLOT: A video store clerk agrees to have his life filmed by a camera crew for a television show.

AFTER: I made my choice back in 1999, there were two similar films out in theaters, and I went with "The Truman Show" - and it's taken me all this time to get around to watching the other one.  It's weird how one film still feels like a fantasy, but this one came so much closer to predicting the world of reality television.

There was barely any reality TV when this came out - maybe "The Real World", but that's about it.  "Survivor" ("The Real World" on an island) and "Big Brother" hadn't aired yet, and nobody had any desire to keep up with any Kardashians.  But the big error this film made was assuming that people would watch a show about a regular guy, and then the genre went on to have its biggest successes with shows about already famous people, like Jessica Simpson and Anna Nicole Smith.  But since we've got shows about rednecks who make duck calls and people who work on fishing boats and people who ride trucks over icy roads, I guess someone ended up coming pretty close to the mark anyway.

And we HAVE a TV channel called TruTV now, much like the True TV network in the film...

But the point of the film is that the act of observing someone has the potential to change what is being observed.  That's the quantum physics of reality shows (or, alternatively, people tend to change what they are doing when they KNOW they're being observed.)  So Ed's camera crew inadvertently causes his brother's cheating to be made known to his girlfriend, and then Ed starts to form a relationship with his brother's ex, which everyone watching at home saw coming like, a mile away.  The show-within-a-film also effects his mother's relationship, and puts Ed back in touch with his dad - all the family's secrets find their way on to the show.

However, big NITPICK POINT here, not even live TV is "live".  There's always a delay for the purposes of censorship, in case anyone in a crowd on the street happens to shout out a curse word.  (And reality TV shows are now heavily edited, they certainly don't air live.)  Many times in the film people find out where Ed is at a given moment by tuning in to the show, but the show would always be a bit behind reality in time, simply for the time for the signal to get beamed from the mobile truck to the satellite, and then to pass through the network censors.  Otherwise there would be no control over the content of the show.

Also starring Woody Harrelson (last seen in "Seven Psychopaths"), Jenna Elfman (last seen in "Keeping the Faith"), Ellen DeGeneres (last seen in "Coneheads"), Sally Kirkland (last seen in "Private Benjamin"), Martin Landau (last seen in "Ready to Rumble"), Rob Reiner (last seen in "The Story of Us"), Dennis Hopper (last heard in "Alpha and Omega"), Elizabeth Hurley (last seen in "Bedazzled"), Adam Goldberg (last seen in "Zodiac"), Viveka Davis, Clint Howard (last seen in "The Paper"), Ian Gomez (last seen in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"), Gedde Watanabe (last seen in "Volunteers"), with cameos from Harry Shearer (also last seen in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"), Michael Moore (last seen in "Fahrenheit 9/11"), Arianna Huffington, Don Most, RuPaul, Rusty Schwimmer (also carrying over from "Amistad"), Rick Overton, George Plimpton, Merrill Markoe, Bill Maher (last seen in "The Interview"), Jay Leno (last seen in "Delivery Man").

RATING: 4 out of 10 death threats

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