Starring: Jim Carrey, Martin Landau and Laurie Holden
Directed by: Frank Darabont
To appreciate The Majestic you've got to go in with two
things firmly behind the eyes
a love of old fashioned feel-good
golly-gee Gene Kelly/Jimmy Stewart style films and an open mind
towards one of our greatest comedians. I say open mind because
if you're expecting Jim "The Ass Ventriloquist" Carrey
in this you'll be sadly mistaken - this guy can act and he's left
the monkeys, sarcasm, and howls in his bag of tricks for another
. It's the early 1950's and rising Hollywood screenwriter
Peter Appleton (Jim Carrey) has it all; the budding career, the
beautiful gal and the smart car. That is until the notorious Un-American
Activities Committee is served up his name as a communist.
Peter, unfortunately, innocently attended a meeting back in college
with a gal he was smitten with in a hound-dog way. None the less
this group he hung out with in hopes of humping, according to
the commitee, breeds American hating commies. Peter of course
is innocent as a lamb - the communist part I mean - but the studio
he works for would rather not be associated with him
the dreaded unspoken "blacklist" for him.
movie is cancelled, his contract torn, and of course his gal pal
- a starlet with her sites on fame - skadattles faster then fat
multiples on Rosie O'Donnell's thighs!
Peter. Not only has his life vacated the lot, but he is to appear
before the House Committee and turn in all his fellow commie friends;
which of course do not exist. Peter doesn't mind, he's a writer
just make them up to appease these folks.
overwhelmed by the day's turn of the coats Peter finds solace
inside a bottle of rotgut. After he drinks himself into a stupor
he fancies himself a nice ride up the coast line
+ life trauma + a coast + car = a dramatic accident. Peter finds
himself washed ashore in a small coastal town with a bad bump
on the head and a bad case of amnesia. Peter learns , quickly,
he looks like a local man that never came home from the war. In
fact all the townsfolk believe him to be this missing native named
Luke. So strong is the physical resemblance between the two men,
even the father (Martin Landau) of Luke himself believes (or at
least wants to believe) Pete is Luke.
Peter grows into his new life as this Luke, the government agents,
especially one creepy erroneous dweeb (Bob Balaban), believe if
they "find Peter, they'll find a hornet's nest of commie
bastards." Remember Peter disappeared just as he was to have
"testified" against his "fellow" communists.
Now their witch hunt is rocket fueled.
they catch-up with Peter and drag him back to Hollywood to face
their wrath. But before he's wrangled, Peter has time to learn
this guy Luke had it swell. Luke was a real American who wouldn't
have taken the committee's phony baloney. He believed in our constitution,
standing up for yourself, and our incredible freedom (it's not
even illegal to be a communist by the way!) is what makes America
truly great. Sniff.
adore Jim Carrey - yeah, yeah he's a studmuffin extravaganza of
tremendous proportions - but edible portions aside he can really
act folks. I loved Truman and his spin as Andy Kaufman
in Man on the Moon was nothing
short of brilliant. There are two impeccable "acting"
scenes within all his work here that are of particular note. First
is when Jim is drunk as Peter, it's subtle and realistic. One
of our greatest bendable comics restrained himself and didn't
for a nanosecond honey baked ham the scene up, he showed his immense
talent for the serious and as a result the segment was spectacular.
Another is his final monologue to the beatty eyed rats, er, agents,
on the committee. Jim had to deliver a pretty tough sentimental
all-American triumphant sonnet. And he did it with, again, a strong
subtle spark. He even gets a few well-placed non-slapstick laughs.
Jim embodied this character, it's a remarkable performance and
he's just apple pie sweet through-out.
rest of the cast does a fine job of filling in the pieces. Laurie
Holden, even in the fashions, looked too modern to me. But her
smart-small-town girl was zalright. Martin Landau was a tad over
the top. Then again his character did just rediscover his "son"
after nine years of thinking he was lost at war
. that old
cynicisms slipping in again
cinematography by David Tattersol and production design by Gregory
Melton is breathtaking. The whole film is a masterpiece of cinematic
at times the film is a bit melodramatic and even down right corny
but at others it is surpisingly unpredictable and refreshingly
realistic. Believe me if this were black and white and had the
name Frank Capra (to who's style the film is an homage) it would
be placed in the classics area. And The Majestic is what
it is and claims to be, a sweet romantic old fashioned patriotic
infused yarn in the style of film making long forgotten. Bravo!
recommendation: Cherry cokes and a meat loaf