Confessions of a Dangerous Mind [2002]

Genre: Biography, Comedy, Crime
The memoirs of game-show creator-host Chuck Barris (the man responsible for The Newlywed Game and The Gong Show) are the inspiration for this sneaky biopic, which not only covers Barris's television career, but also his exploits--unsubstantiated, but also not disproved--as a government assassin. As Barris, Sam Rockwell gives a gutsy, manic-depressive, warts-and-all performance, depicting how Barris cheated repeatedly on his longtime girlfriend Penny (Drew Barrymore), was recruited into the CIA by a stone-faced agent (George Clooney, who also makes a stylish directorial debut), created some of the most popular yet reviled TV shows of the 1970s and '80s, and had a torrid affair with a mysterious, beautiful operative (Julia Roberts). For a screenplay by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is pretty straightforward, letting Barris's fevered brain speak for itself. The result manages to be lurid, comic, and oddly philosophical. --Bret Fetzer

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