Welcome back to another double feature!
Today’s two films have only two things in common: Netflix Originals and 2017 releases. The first is the teen coming of age romantic comedy movie called #RealityHigh. To be honest, I only put this on because I wanted to have something simple to watch in the background. The second is the new documentary that recently landed on Netflix called Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton. The title is so freaking long! Aside from that, the only reason for this was because I like Jim Carrey and this is based on his behind the scenes process and persona he took when he was filming Man on the Moon (which I haven’t seen). We’ll see if that affected my experience of it.
I guess the third common factor here is that they are both impulse viewings off the whole new system I had set to catch up on the Netflix List. Let’s check these out!
Director: Fernando Lebrija
Cast: Nesta Cooper, Keith Powers, Alicia Sanz, Jake Borelli, Anne Winters, Patrick Davis, Michael Provost, Ryan Malaty, Kate Walsh, John Michael Higgins
High-achieving high-school senior Dani Barnes dreams of getting into UC Davis, the world’s top veterinary school. Then a glamorous new friend draws her into a Southern California scene that threatens everything she’s worked for. – IMDB
A lot of you who stop by here know that I’m a huge fan of these kinds of teenage movies. In fact, I’m downright forgiving of them. I’ve liked and loved a lot of them spanning from the 80s John Hughes to the recent The DUFF or Edge of Seventeen and the likes. #RealityHigh should be right up my alley. Except, even in my most forgiving mindset, it wasn’t. The story itself was generic and offered nothing new. The characters themselves seemed wooden as they acted out their roles. Maybe you can argue with me that its them having the teenage awkwardness but it felt so scripted and so unenthusiastic that it just was uninspiring to watch.
However, there are some high points here and there. One of the big ones is having Kate Walsh here. She’s fantastic as always. I’ve loved her since Grey’s Anatomy and in her veterinarian role here, she plays the guidance for our main character really well. It was always fun to see her on screen. Second, there was John Michael Higgins. He was doing a little of the same silly stuff just like the random bits he had in Pitch Perfect however, he somehow did become the highlight here. Another point here does go that one of the characters here called Shannon who is the main guy’s friend breaks out of the norm a little from the typical role and actually takes on the non-cliche path where he seems like he’s much deeper than he appears to be and gives insightful advice.
#RealityHigh is pretty dull. It follows the motion and lacks originality and engaging characters for us to actually care for remotely. While there are some flashes of okay moments, its one that I honestly can’t recommend.
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond –
Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton (2017)
Director: Chris Smith
A behind-the-scenes look at how Jim Carrey adopted the persona of idiosyncratic comedian Andy Kaufman on the set of Man on the Moon (1999). –IMDB
Documentaries aren’t exactly my favorite genre to jump into. I like to watch this to escape from the realities of life but every once in a while, something clicks and the topic interests me. In this case, its Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. The main reason is that (other than Stephen Chow and Robin Williams), I grew up with a lot of comedy of Jim Carrey. The Mask was the first movie I watched of his then Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, both of which I’d like to visit soon. Unfortunately, as mentioned before, I’ve never seen Man on the Moon and I don’t know much about Andy Kaufman other than from this documentary. As much as its about Andy Kaufman, this documentary is truly about Jim Carrey and the process he went through or even struggled through as he took the persona almost completely of Andy Kaufman. Why almost? Because sometimes he’d take on the persona of Tony Clifton and that was Andy Kaufman’s other persona. And when he was particularly in those Tony Clifton moments, he was pretty much absolutely ridiculously annoying and hard to handle. The documentary took a good angle of taking only Jim Carrey sharing his thoughts between the behind the scene footage that followed him around while shooting Man on the Moon. The hook of this was seeing how falling into the persona of Andy Kaufman in some ways changed the way of how he viewed his career and the path he chooses afterwards plus the struggle of whether he had gone too far and simply making peace with the choices he made.
Even without having seen Man on the Moon (and I’m sure it means even more if you had seen it), the journey that Jim Carrey takes for this role is an intriguing topic to dive into. Its a little controversial because he does show a very unlikable side of him in many extreme ways however it is also these type of conflicts that warrant a documentary and makes what he says make sense and pulls it all together. Well-executed and a nice look into what acting and taking on a role is all about, albeit its extreme choices, Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond has some deep thoughts and a lot of entertaining behind the scene moments. It also gives you the benefit of the doubt of knowing who Andy Kaufman is by explaining the type of comedian he is and comparing to his works.
This wraps up the double feature! One meh and one really good one. Call this the unexpected turnout, right?
I ended not liking the genre I normally would like and loving the one that I normally don’t.
Have you seen either of these Netflix Originals?