With news of today's passing of late-night TV legend Johnny Carson, I am thinking of a movie that centers on a hopelessley untalented wanna-be comedian and his late-night TV idol (obviously based on Johnny Carson).
And that movie is...
Martin Scorsese's "The King Of Comedy", from 1983. Starring Robert DeNiro as Rupert Pupkin, and Jerry Lewis as the talk-show host Jerry Langford.
Pupkin idolizes Langford and very much wants to meet him. When he does, he starts getting obsessive to the point that he is stalking and eventually kidnaps him, with the help of a groupie, played by Sandra Bernhard.
Ironically, Johnny Carson himself was offered the role of Langford, but turned it down.
The biggest treat in this movie (for me, at least) is Jerry Lewis' beautifully understated performance. It's a long way from his comedies of the 50's and 60's.
While it is meant to be a dark, satirical comedy, the underlying themes of celebrity obsession, stalking, fan idolization are troubling. And when you think about it, the subject matter really isn't amusing at all. That might be the reason why this film was a box-office flop, since so many people probably expected this to be laugh-out-loud riot fest --- also knowing that Jerry Lewis was in it --- some moviegoers may have been let down because this film had no heroic character, and nobody to root for at the end. But I thought this was fascinating!
Has anyone else seen this movie? And what are your opinions of it?
[ 23. January 2005, 16:10: Message edited by: StevenHW ]
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