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Man on the Moon (20-Dec-1999)

Director: Milos Forman

Writers: Scott Alexander; Larry Karaszewski

Music by: R.E.M.

Producers: Danny DeVito; Michael Shamberg; Stacey Sher

Keywords: Drama, Biography

Biography of Andy Kaufman.

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
Reiko Aylesworth
9-Dec-1972   Michelle Dessler on 24
Richard Belzer
4-Aug-1944   Munch on Homicide, Law & Order: SVU
Peter Bonerz
Film Director
6-Aug-1938   Sitcom and film director
Brent Briscoe
21-May-1961   A Simple Plan
Jim Carrey
17-Jan-1962   Rubber-faced fartsmith
Danny DeVito
17-Nov-1944   Short loudmouth from Taxi
Budd Friedman
6-Jun-1932   First Comedy Club The Improv
Michael Kelly
22-May-1968   Det. Crocker on Kojak revival
David Koechner
24-Aug-1962   SNL alumnus, character actor
Jerry Lawler
29-Nov-1949   Bitchslapped Andy Kaufman on Letterman
Gene LeBell
9-Oct-1932   Stuntman, wrestler
Courtney Love
9-Jul-1964   Kurt Cobain's widow, Hole
Patton Oswalt
27-Jan-1969   King of Queens
Mary Lynn Rajskub
22-Jun-1971   Chloe O'Brian on 24
Caroline Rhea
13-Apr-1964   Hilda Spellman on Sabrina
Vincent Schiavelli
10-Nov-1948 26-Dec-2005 Character actor and cookbook author
Tracey Walter
25-Nov-1942   Miller in Repo Man
Chuck Zito
1-Mar-1953   Hell's Angel, Bodyguard to the Stars, Oz


Jim Carrey   ...   Andy Kaufman
Danny DeVito   ...   George Shapiro
Courtney Love   ...   Lynne Margulies
Paul Giamatti   ...   Bob Zmuda
Vincent Schiavelli   ...   ABC Executive
Peter Bonerz   ...   Ed Weinberger, Taxi Producer
Jerry Lawler   ...   Himself
Gerry Becker   ...   Stanley Kaufman, Andy's Father
Leslie Lyles   ...   Janice Kaufman, Andy's Mother
Greyson Pendry   ...   Little Michael Kaufman
Brittany Colonna   ...   Baby Carol Kaufman
Bobby Boriello   ...   Little Andy Kaufman
George Shapiro   ...   Mr. Besserman
Budd Friedman   ...   Himself
Tom Dreesen   ...   Wiseass Comic
Thomas Armbruster   ...   Improv Piano Player
Pamela Abdy   ...   Diane Barnett
Wendy Polland   ...   Little Wendy
Cash Oshman   ...   Yogi
Matt Price   ...   Meditation Student
Christina Cabot   ...   Meditation Student
Richard Belzer   ...   Himself
Melanie Vesey   ...   Carol Kaufman
Michael Kelly   ...   Michael Kaufman
Miles Chapin   ...   SNL Assistant
Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld   ...   NBC Executive
Molly Schaffer   ...   Maynard Smith's Assistant
Howard West   ...   ABC Executive
Greg Travis   ...   ABC Executive
Maureen Mueller   ...   ABC Executive
Phil Perlman   ...   Mama Rivoli's Angry Guy
Tony Clifton   ...   Himself
Jessica Devlin   ...   Mama Rivoli's Diner
Jeff Thomas   ...   Andy's Stand-In
Randall Carver   ...   Himself
Howard Keystone   ...   Taxi Marching Man
Howdy Doody   ...   Himself
Brent Briscoe   ...   Heavyset Technician
Ray Bokhour   ...   Blue Collar Guy
Patton Oswalt   ...   Blue Collar Guy
Caroline Gibson   ...   Sorority Girl
Conrad Roberts   ...   College Promoter
Jeff Zabel   ...   College Student
Marilyn Sokol   ...   Madame
Angela Jones   ...   Hooker
Krystina Carson   ...   Hooker
Gerry Robert Byrne   ...   Taxi AD / Stage Manager
Mark Davenport   ...   LA Times Reporter
Bert F. Balsam   ...   Taxi Security Guard
Lonnie Hamilton   ...   Taxi Security Guard
Ron Sanchez   ...   Taxi Security Guard
Billy Lucas   ...   Taxi Security Guard
Patricia Scanlon   ...   Ed Weinberger's Secretary
Max Alexander   ...   Harrah's Booker
Ed Mitchell   ...   Harrah's Conductor
Reiko Aylesworth   ...   Mimi
Michael Villani   ...   Merv Griffin
Maria Maglaris   ...   Irate Merv Spectator
Heath Hyche   ...   Merv's Guest Coordinator
Robert Holeman   ...   Boxing Trainer
James Ross   ...   Wrestling Commentator
Tamara Bossett   ...   Foxy Jackson
Gene LeBell   ...   Foxy Jackson Referee
Bob Zmuda   ...   Jack Burns
Brian Peck   ...   Friday's Announcer
Caroline Rhea   ...   Friday's Melanie
Mary Lynn Rajskub   ...   Friday's Mary
Phil Lenkowsky   ...   Friday's Tech Director
Rob Steiner   ...   Friday's Control Booth Tech
Claudia Jaffee   ...   Friday's Floor Director
Mando Guerrero   ...   Jerry Lawler Referee
Lance Russell   ...   Ring Announcer
Ladi von Jansky   ...   Stadium Photographer
K. P. Palmer   ...   Memphis Paramedic
Mark Majetti   ...   Memphis Paramedic
Deana Ann Aburto   ...   Memphis Paramedic
Mews Small   ...   TM Administrator
David Elliott   ...   TM Administrator
Fredd Wayne   ...   Bland Doctor
Tracey Walter   ...   National Enquirer Editor
David Koechner   ...   National Enquirer Reporter
Jeanine Jackson   ...   National Enquirer Reporter
Johnny Legend   ...   Wild-Haired Guru
Doris Eaton Travis   ...   Eleanor Gould
Greg Sutton   ...   Carnegie Hall Conductor
Sydney Lassick   ...   Crystal Healer
Yoshi Jenkins   ...   Jun Roxas
Lance Alarcon   ...   Comedy Store Patron
D. J. Johnson   ...   Comedy Store Waiter
Melissa Carrey   ...   Comedy Store Waitress


Review by Walter Frith (posted on 9-Jun-2007)

I'm sure that there is something to behold within the personality and act of the late Andy Kaufman. But I just don't see it. Director Milos Forman's 1996 bio pick on the life of pornographer Larry Flynt is a seriously under rated and brilliant film that didn't get the credit it deserved. I never liked Larry Flynt or the things he did but his right to free speech was and is absolute and although I never liked his lifestyle, I still thought the film about him is a classic and it was my favourite film the year it came out. So my dislike for 'Man on the Moon' has nothing to do with the way I feel about Andy Kaufman. This is simply a one dimensional and totally non lethal motion picture that never finds a way to tell its story above the level of mediocrity, a quality a lot of people thought Andy Kaufman possessed. The first thing that has to be noted is the casting of Jim Carrey. It came down to casting either him or Edward Norton. Carrey looks more like Kaufman that Norton but what's really disappointing about the movie is that instead of Jim Carrey playing Andy Kaufman, Carrey plays Andy Kaufman PLAYING JIM CARREY! And shame on the powers that be for selecting Carrey over a real actor simply for box office reasons. Andy Kaufman (1949-1984) died at the age of 35 of lung cancer and the film opens in the late 1950's when he is just a boy and shows how he always had the desire and ambition to become a performer. The film then zips forward to the mid 70's when Kaufman is in his mid to late 20's and how he got his start in the profession of stand up comedy. This is how the film begins its downfall. It fails to avoid mirroring its own subject and can't find a way to be a grand piece of film making and can't elevate itself very far to give its structure depth and remains totally mediocre for two hours. There is also no room for real characterizations. Carrey as Kaufman is the only mildly interesting character in the entire movie. Danny DeVito plays his agent, George Shapiro and is neither colourful nor absorbing. Courtney Love, who was so good in 'The People vs. Larry Flynt' isn't introduced in the film until almost a full hour into it and never shows any strong characteristics in a very pivotal role. Aspects of popular culture cannot be explained to people. You either see the art of you don't. It's like the Andy Warhol contribution of the Campbell's soup can as art. No one can explain it as you either see it or you don't. The only contagious part of 'Man on the Moon' is the pro wrestling reference. As a fan of pro wrestling myself, I thought the segments involving Andy Kaufman and Jerry Lawler were worth watching. Pro wrestling is like a male soap opera with circus like performers who make it big based on personality and microphone skills rather than pure wrestling talent. Again, when realizing this, you either see the concept or you don't. Another aching part of 'Man on the Moon' is that it spends too much time showing Kaufman in his stand up performances and his antics on stage, including the creation of a character Kaufman created named Tony Clifton. Carrey brings aspects to the Andy Kaufman portrayal by using scenes from 'Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls' (the bongo playing) and 'The Cable Guy' in the way he showcases Clifton. There is a scene in 'The Cable Guy' where Carrey, dressed up with bad hair and a bushy moustache, beats up a guy in the men's room in comic fashion. Carrey looks like that and acts like that in his portrayal of Clifton. There is too much Jim Carrey on screen and not enough Andy Kaufman. All of Kaufman's involvements with the entertainment industry only scratch the surface, except for the pro wrestling stuff. There was a need in this film to place more emphasis on the personal side of Andy Kaufman's life with the woman he loved. More interaction with the cast of 'Taxi' was not shown and it should have been. Writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski have written what looks more like a television script and you won't see director Milos Forman's stamp of sub text on any part of this movie. The movie also has serious problems with its continuity. A reference is made to Jimmy Carter as president of the United States and then it later shows Kaufman on the first broadcast of Saturday Night Live which 1975. Carter didn't take office as president until January 1977 so how could a reference be made to him as president in 1975. Also, a scene where Kaufman and his lady go to the movies shows a poster of 1980's 'Coal Miner's Daughter' and 1982's 'E.T. the Extra Terrestrial' side by side. The film is also technically flat. The climax of a Christmas palladium act near the end of the film looks more like a college production than a professionally put together movie. As movie making, 'Man on the Moon' fails on almost every level and was a shocking disappointment from a two time Oscar winning director like Milos Forman and as for Oscar talk about Jim Carrey, this film looks like Robin Wiliams' first Oscar nomination for 'Good Morning Vietnam' in 1987. It's simply the comedian playing himself more and not enough of the character the script called for. What a let down! Visit FILM FOLLOW-UP by Walter Frith

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