Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017)

Twenty years ago, Jim Carrey dove head-first into method acting to portray Andy Kaufman in "Man on the Moon." A documentary crew was getting behind-the-scenes footage, but the studio wouldn't release it until now.

Andy Kaufman was a special type of entertainer. He genuinely seemed to not care if his audience laughed or cried, loved him or hated him, as long as they felt something. When Carrey began to prepare for the role, he realized he couldn't just do an impersonation of Kaufman; instead, he needed to actually become him. Sometimes method acting faces criticism, sometimes it sounds sort of ridiculous to never break character, but when it produces great results, it's worth it.

Rather than just a straight look back at the old footage, the documentary also talks to current-day Jim Carrey, asking him how he looks back at that time, the years that led up to it, how it changed his approach to later movies, and his overall philosophy on life. I'm at the right age to have worshipped Jim Carrey when "Ace Ventura" and "Dumb and Dumber" came out, but I also remember Carrey being the first actor that I felt burned out on. I skipped a handful of his movies, and since then have been sort of hit or miss. Lately Carrey has been making news for "going crazy" and claiming that he's gone beyond reality and understands things on a different level. The thing is, the insane things he's talking about actually make sense (or I've just gone crazy myself).

I have a belief that we're all actors. It's not necessarily in the vein of Shakespeare's "all the world's a stage", but I do believe that we all play a role. People work jobs they don't like with a smile on their face, they suck up to bosses, they're polite to rude customers. People stay in relationships when they're not happy, or pretend to be happy to not be in a relationship. People project a certain lifestyle on social media while hiding true feelings. This documentary was a meta-movie, analyzing an actor who is acting like a person who was either acting all the time, or maybe never acting.

Andy Kaufman might be my favorite entertainer of all time. I am a fan of taking a joke too far, I'm a fan of having people be unsure if I'm joking or serious, I'm a fan of saying I'm serious when I'm not, I'm a fan of being serious when I say I'm not, I'm a fan of never letting people know for sure. Kaufman perfected that art, and Carrey truly embodied him for a time.

 

 [Celluloid Hero] gives "Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond" a 9 out of 10.

 

 

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