“Jim [Carrey] & Andy [Kaufman]: The Great Beyond” (Netflix documentary)

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by AKA, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. rburly

    rburly Sitting comfortably with Item 9

    That's how most people thought of him originally. He didn't have a talent, or did he? I thought some of his stuff was hilarious, but mostly because he seemed like a whack-job. No one that I knew could ever expected instant funny, but you never knew when he was serious and when it was supposed to be a role he was playing. I think Kaufman was similar, but not as talented, as the likes of Jonathon Winters, Robin Williams or Carrey.Butt, he kept your attention, so we watched.
    carrick doone likes this.
  2. Thwacko

    Thwacko Forum Resident

    Fort Mill, SC
    I enjoyed "Man on the Moon", and assumed it was a success based on all the hype. I was surprised to learn recently it was a financial flop.
  3. Grunge Master

    Grunge Master 8 Bit Enthusiast

    My problem is that it seemed like Carrey was just imitating Andy Kaufman's stage persona, all of the time. Like with Jerry Lawler; Lawler says in the documentary that he and Andy appeared to be enemies on screen, and off it they were friendly. Jim Carrey was an idiot towards Lawler and his girlfriend all of the time, at one point even throwing water on them and calling names (you can see some of that in the footage). He didn't channel Andy as much as he channeled Andy's stage persona. And I think it's pretty stupid that he would sit there and talk to Kaufman's daughter like he was actually Kaufman. That seems slightly gross to me.

    I've never watched MOTM, as I remember reading that Andy's family didn't like it. And they also don't care for Bob Zmuda, who was Andy's personal collaborator and still seems to try and cash in on Andy's name.
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  4. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Detroit Mi USA
    Throwing the drink on Lawler was a WORK. The one who didn't know what was happening was Letterman. Lynn Margulies and Bob Zamuda were often his foils and were usually the only ones that REALLY knew what Andy was up to.
  5. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Exactly. Carrey seems to have bought into the notion that Kaufman was his stage persona, which could not be further from the truth. Kaufman did not act like that all the time, and for Carrey to do so is not at all an accurate way of "staying in character" at all. It's like an actor playing Mr. T and going around telling everyone to "shut up, fool" constantly. It reflects a profound misunderstanding of what Kaufman was about.

    MOTM was a real by the numbers autobiography. They altered the events in Kaufman's life to give it a predictable, "E True Hollywood Story" arc, exaggerating Kaufman's unpopularity due to the wresting stuff so that they could make it look like he'd fallen on hard times, and then contriving a false "comeback" towards the end of the film. There really was no depth to the film at all.
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  6. Grunge Master

    Grunge Master 8 Bit Enthusiast

    No, I'm talking about in the movie. Jim Carrey (in his Andy persona) threw stuff at Lawler and his girlfriend and and constantly heckled them. Which, yeah, Andy did on camera. Off camera he didn't, and that's where Carrey gets it wrong. He was Andy Kaufman's stage act all the time.

    And, Zmuda was with Andy a lot, that's true. I'm not disputing that. I'm saying that he appears to be a guy that appears to want to try and make a quick buck off of Andy's name.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
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  7. nojmplease

    nojmplease Forum Resident

    I couldn't help but wonder how much of this "film behind the film" was in itself a Kaufman-Zmuda inspired form of performance art played on us. In other words, how much of Carrey's antics were happening when the cameras were off? Or was it just another "gag" that plenty of folks on the set were in on, and no one really cared as much as they make it seem? After all, we don't hear from anyone else in the present day except Carrey himself.
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  8. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    Ive always thought Jim was funny as hell at what he is good at. Which is mostly physical comedy and over the top situations. When these guys start thinking too much, they lose their edge. Very much like Jim's spiritual awakening. Im sure he is sincere, but he comes across as trying to be the wise old legend now and "very deep". He comes across to me as someone who has a shallow understanding of philosophies and thinks he has more intellectual prowess than he really does.

    I do think some of his paintings are pretty cool though.

    Jim is an instinctual artist. He isnt some deep thespian. He had a good run in comedy. But old guys trying to do what he did 15-20 yrs ago look akward and uncomfortable doing that kind of comedy. Robin Williams was about the only one who pulled it off as an actor. And that was rare imo. I dont see Jim doing this. He always looks like he is trying to do something indepth on screen.
  9. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident

    I think some of the backstage stuff was a work as well, the cameras were backstage for a lot of it, maybe not planned out but a wink and a nod.
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  10. The difference between Andy and Jim is that Andy made a living off of uncomfortable laughter, while, with Jim it's all on-the-cuff zaniness - no real mystery there. When Jim tried to get uncomfortable like Andy, though, Jim just came across like an ass.

    Just because both Andy and Jim created their own unique brand to succeed, that doesn't mean they're alike as Jim wants to to believe.

    Personally, I like Jim in more serious roles. He has talent.

    I turned the documentary off halfway through. Maybe it was because I was pretty stoned; it just brought me down. I should have known better. Andy Kaufman was just a lucky guy who ran out of luck PDQ.
  11. Kossoff is God

    Kossoff is God Non-expert on things that pertain to pointlessness

    Robin Williams studied theater at Juliard which gives him the advantage.
  12. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    Yeah. There was a kid in my frat who was a Jim Carrey type, always make funny faces. mimicking cartoon sounds and doing impressions of Johnathan Winters. I wanted to brain him but would always sit there trying to laugh. I always figured he was ADD or something. :p
  13. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    Yeah. I didn't find it very respectful. I can see Andy appreciating what Jim did, but did he really have to do it to such an extent? I think it was just in keeping with his obviously tremendous rush he was on at the time. Someone had to chime in with this old chestnut, but isn't it someone like Alec Guinness or Lawrence Oliver who said they found all the Brando-esque posturing and motivation seeking silly, and much preferred walking on the set, doing one's role, and leaving after a good day's work? You know, they saw it as a professional craft, not primal scream therapy. I can warming up and doing plenty of prep work for a role. But all the time, Jim? Poor Milos. Yes.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
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  14. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    True. But I also think its an innate ability.
  15. MarkTheShark

    MarkTheShark Forum Resident

    What is all this business recently with Zmuda now claiming that he believes Kaufman did indeed fake his death?
  16. Publicity stunt?
  17. GreggF

    GreggF Forum Resident

    I was at the Letterman taping with Kaufman and Lawler and did not know it was staged until just before MOTM came out some 16-17 years later.
    Even during the break at the taping there was a lot of mayhem and the sense that something awful might happen was real. Kaufman really knew how to keep the audience off balance.
  18. RoyalScam

    RoyalScam Luckless Pedestrian

    Watched the documentary the other night. My favorite parts were watching Paul Giamatti's reactions to Carrey's antics behind the scenes. Man, I'd love to talk to him about his recollections. Ditto Danny DeVito.

    My wife nodded in and out of a nap while I was watching. Her only question was, "WTF happened to Jim Carrey? He seems so monotone and overmedicated now..."
  19. The Zodiac

    The Zodiac God's Lonely Man

    He had a book to sell. Just needed to make some headlines.
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  20. The Zodiac

    The Zodiac God's Lonely Man

    I liked the "Man on the Moon" movie well enough. I saw it in the theater multiple times (guess I had a lot of free time back in '99). I mostly liked it because I like Andy Kaufman. As with the majority of films I like featuring Jim Carrey, I'd like the movie even more if he wasn't in it (see also: "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "Peggy Sue Got Married"). I think Nick Cage was mentioned as a potential Andy, and I think he would have been a better choice.

    I watched the doc. It would make a cool bonus feature on a blu-ray release of the film. Carrey seems like a bit of a jackass, but that's his bread and butter, I guess. I don't think it's all that remarkable or challenging to be obnoxious to your co-workers.

    I saw "Tony Clifton" in concert about seven years ago, and it was seriously one of the best shows I've ever been to. Over three hours of great music. He had a hell of a band behind him. For this reason I have a soft spot for Zmuda, but his recent trashy tabloid book makes me question his (and Lynne Margulies') motives.

    His first book on Andy, "His Best Friend Tells All", was a very entertaining read (even if Zmuda made sure to remind us that he had a hand in Andy's success on just about every page). I'm sure a lot of it was embellished, but it was embellished in ways that Andy would have approved of. I don't think even Andy would like the more recent book.
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  21. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical Omnivore

    Victoria, Canada
    Isn't Jim Carrey basically a manic-depressive ala Robin Williams? he goes full-bore zany at times anyway. Sometimes he's too much, and sometimes he can be very subtle and an excellent actor, just like Williams. I agree he is not that much like the real Andy Kaufman so the fact he got as close as he did is actually pretty impressive. Courtney Love too, nobody mentions her. I was astonished just to see a coherent normal-seeming woman from her! I think that might be as big an accomplishment.

    I remember following Andy from early Saturday Night Live, and the best thing about youtube initially was all his stray stuff and robot pilot that found it's way on to it. We used to be starving for new Andy Kaufman 'back in the day', with youtube appearing it was like overdose, call the ambulance! The actual Tony vs. Dinah Shore footage was genuinely scary though.
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  22. jwb1231970

    jwb1231970 Forum Resident

    Yeah, in a way it's cool how Jim stays in character and blurs those lines between reality and somewhere else, coupled with his introspective words regarding where he is in life....
    but then it might be he's really self centered and out of touch with the world that we have to live in. He's got a load of money and doesn't have to do anything but sit around thinking about life. It's hard to figure which way to go with this doc.
  23. jwb1231970

    jwb1231970 Forum Resident

    But Jim would say that he wasn't channel anything, it was beyond him to do anything but let it happen. I think that's what he was saying. But anyone can call BS on him just for the fact that he is ultimately in control and making choices no matter how he wants to think about it.
  24. TFEC

    TFEC Opinion Holder

    People certainly are revealing a lot about themselves in this thread.

    Bravo Jim & Andy!
  25. Grunge Master

    Grunge Master 8 Bit Enthusiast

    We're just channeling unhappy message board members.
    TFEC likes this.

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