You are a man in a box.
June 11, 2018 2:29 AM   Subscribe

The last time Michel Gondry and Jim Carrey linked up we got Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Now, they're Kidding.

Created/written/showrun by Dave Holstein; filmed by Shawn Kim; production designed by Maxwell Orgell.
posted by progosk (27 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
People seem really keen on this, but god do I not need a whimsical story about a good-hearted man getting crushed by a greedy and cruel world right now.
posted by Merus at 2:54 AM on June 11 [18 favorites]


I am going to see this, for sure.

About Jim Carey, I recently saw the documentary about the making of his Andy Kaufman biopic, and I was really happy to be able to like Jim Carey again.

He is Canadian, like me, not much older, and was a raving manic asshole (a bit like me, but much funnier and more talented). When he was first on Living Colour, and then Ace Ventura, I thought he was hilarious. But the more I saw of him, his manic never turning it off Robin Williams style interviews and public appearances, it just became too much.

"For fuck sakes, dude, mellow out." And I started really hating him. Super rich, big star, and still raving and jerking way too much, like he needed to grow up.

So back to that documentary, it was such a beautiful relief to see Jim, with his big Canadian beard, and... he was calm. He was mellow, he was reflective.

And really, I was just so happy for him. It seems like playing Kaufman did something useful for him, like he finally got that shit out of his system. I would like to sit and drink a beer with him now.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:01 AM on June 11 [8 favorites]


The proximity of this release to the release of the Fred Rogers documentary is…it feels kinda gross. I'm still thinking about why and how that is, but it has something to do with how this can be read as a "the darker side of" commentary on FR.
posted by LMGM at 3:07 AM on June 11 [8 favorites]


The proximity of this release to the release of the Fred Rogers documentary is…it feels kinda gross. I'm still thinking about why and how that is, but it has something to do with how this can be read as a "the darker side of" commentary on FR.

Not to mention Happytime Murders coming out soon, which is being roughly billed as the dark side of the Muppets. (And looks a lot like Bright in how it's gonna handle itself.)

"Childhood is a lie!" is evidently the hot take right now. Which is a weird take for a nation that dearly wants to believe no one ever needs to grow up.
posted by gusottertrout at 3:36 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]


Carrey's notorious anti-vax stance, particularly campaigning for anti-vaccination legislation in California, has sucked all the fun out of his comedy for me. On top of that, the concept of his portraying a beloved kiddie entertainer is repugnant after he misused images of children for his anti-vax Twitter rants.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:46 AM on June 11 [32 favorites]


Anti-vaxxer eh? Fuck him then.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 4:57 AM on June 11 [13 favorites]


But the more I saw of him, his manic never turning it off Robin Williams style interviews and public appearances, it just became too much.

I disliked watching both of them -- Carrey and Williams -- for that reason. Too will-you-please-shut-the-fuck-up-for-a-second?! hyper for me. But I disliked Carrey more -- for the anti-vax stuff and because he seems to have a mean side to him. Williams seemed nicer. Still too hyper for me to enjoy watching, but sad, not mean.
posted by pracowity at 5:21 AM on June 11


I really don't have much sympathy for Carrey's mental health and plight (given how he unabashedly used his fame and money to perpetuate one of the most harmful lies in public health history that continues to affect countless people) and wish this was fronted by literally anyone else. Is this some sort of subtle redemption story? If so, eh, respect lost for Gondry. If not, what's the message here? Life is cruel? Nice people get fucked up by life? Comedians are hiding their darkness behind a cheerful, silly mask?
posted by Young Kullervo at 5:39 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


I think to myself all the time that I'm done with Metafilter comments, but I think I'm finally done for good. I am tired of updating my cultural shit list. I am tired of finding something to be excited about and then realizing that likeminded people actually find it problematic. This can't be healthy for me anymore, I can't handle this. I'm done. I'm done. I'm done.
posted by weewooweewoo at 6:06 AM on June 11 [13 favorites]


Carrey and Gondry are not the people I think of when I think of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
posted by dobbs at 6:06 AM on June 11 [8 favorites]


This reads like Death To Smoochy meets Falling Down. I really, really dig the surreal puppet stuff, but not so much the kids-entertainer-gets-angry-at-life angle. If I want to see a good film about a put-upon sad sack, I'll watch A Serious Man.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:09 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one who watched this trailer thinking (hoping) maybe Frank Langella was working another one of his Directorate S agents?
posted by lagomorphius at 6:38 AM on June 11


So back to that documentary, it was such a beautiful relief to see Jim, with his big Canadian beard, and... he was calm. He was mellow, he was reflective.
And really, I was just so happy for him. It seems like playing Kaufman did something useful for him, like he finally got that shit out of his system. I would like to sit and drink a beer with him now.


Evidently, while filming Man on the Moon is when Carrey learned Transcendental Meditation. Did they touch on that at all in the documentary? That would be interesting to see.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 6:50 AM on June 11


Not to mention Happytime Murders coming out soon, which is being roughly billed as the dark side of the Muppets.
I’m willing to cut Happytime a little slack because one of Jim Henson’s kids wrote and directed it. Kidding just looks terrible.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:54 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


A series about a beloved children's television show starring a strident and irrepressible IRL anti-vaxxer?

That's like casting Harvey Weinstein to play a forward-thinking movie mogul who revolutionizes how women are portrayed in Hollywood.

Or something.

This Showtime series is sickening.
posted by mistersquid at 7:51 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: likeminded people actually find it problematic
posted by SPrintF at 8:05 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]


The proximity of this release to the release of the Fred Rogers documentary is…it feels kinda gross

I just saw Won't You Be My Neighbor last night and that's immediately what I thought. (MILD, VAGUE SPOILERS) It was fantastic. Fred Rogers was just so pure in the face of darkness that I feel like this kind of cynical dark thing might not work for me anymore. "Kind man in a cruel world" is a big part of Won't You Be My Neighbor, from assassinations up to and including 9/11, (even his memorial service was tainted with some jaw-droppingly ignorant, dark shit) and it's really moving and inspiring to see Mr. Rogers grappling with really difficult stuff in a way that I don't think I ever could. It's way fucking easier to be dark.
I'd be all over this show a few years ago but the premise and the trailer are viscerally repelling me. Maybe once the Mr. Rogers wears off a bit and I'm a grouchy asshole again I'll check it out.
posted by chococat at 8:51 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


I am tired of finding something to be excited about and then realizing that likeminded people actually find it problematic.

For what it's worth this is something I've lately been struggling with a lot as well, weewooweewoo. There definitely seems to be a growing undercurrent of "this person holds an opinion I find abhorrent, therefore their entire body of work is shit" -- both on MeFi and in the general culture.

I mean, it's waaaay better than the norm it's replacing, which was to generally excuse monstrous behavior by talented people. Bill Cosby was a brilliant comedian, Kevin Spacey was a great actor, Woody Allen was a genre unto himself, and the fact that none of that shielded any of them from the consequences of their actions is an unambiguously good thing. Should have happened a lot sooner, in all three of those cases. Plenty more where that came from.

But there's a point where it can start to go beyond consequences for actions and instead turn into an ideology test; I'm a lot less comfortable with that, and I genuinely can't decide which side of that line we're on in this particular case. I'm not saying y'all are wrong to boycott Carrey over his demonstrably stupid miscomprehension of science, but I'm not sure I'm on board with it either. Just for another example Clint Eastwood's politics are terrible, but that hasn't ruined my enjoyment of his past work. Maybe it should, though, because Roseanne Barr's has. I can't form a logically consistent position on this. It's something I struggle with. So I hear you, is I guess what I'm failing to say.

Anyway. If this were a movie I'd probably watch it. Wacky rubberface Jim Carrey stuff does nothing for me; but this feels more in the Truman Show / Spotless Mind vein, where I feel like he's done some thoughtful and meaningful work. Premise feels a little thin to spread out over a full series, though, and Gondry's style works best for me in small doses.
posted by ook at 9:11 AM on June 11 [15 favorites]


Well there are certainly those on the right that abhor particular actors for their political activism; and shun their work, and bad-mouth their careers based on their political advocacy. This seems to be an increasing trend on the left as well (perhaps it was always there, but metafilter certainly reminds that this is a thing).

One of the most savvy things an entertainer can do is not to ever express controversial opinions - to not weigh in on subjects that may alienate some of their potential fans. This of course includes expressing any opinions about potential major overseas markets (eg: weighing in on Tibet would potentially alienate a market of a billion people).

As consumers of entertainment, if we were to take this to the logical extension, we'd only consume media acted by, and produced by people that held ideological opinions that were the same as our own.

I don't say these things to even begin to defend Carrey's anti-vaxxing activism or statements; I find them abhorrent. And I certainly wouldn't advocate anyone give their entertainment dollars to a serial rapist (actions and advocacy are separate thing in my mind). But I think it is awful to conflate these two things.

Look, I have a lot of strong opinions about a lot of controversial topics, and if I only consumed media by people that agreed with me on these topics, I'd literally have no media I could consume. Similarly if I only had friends that agreed with my specific political and policy positions, I'd have literally no friends in the world.

And if I only bought goods that were consistent with my stated beliefs, I wouldn't buy anything again in my life (yeah, that organic farm down the street - that's filled with people that buy their clothes that were made in slave-like conditions, who use electronics that were produced in a country with abhorrent civil rights).

As far as this TV series? Looks interesting; it's the sort of thing I think Carrey might be able to pull off well, I look forward to the reviews of it to see if I'll spend my time on it.
posted by el io at 9:32 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]


It's the same principle we apply to companies. I choose not to shop at a store if they support disenfranchising individuals or work for a company that engages in unethical business practices. Double-so if that ideology has been proven to explicitly harm others. Reputations are reputations, and they spill over into everything, even if the "work" should stand out on its own. If someone, like Carrey, can use their reputation as an actor to further harmful ideologies then that same reputation should face the consequences associated with it.

That's why I'm wondering why directors like Gondry, who have a specific vision, choose controversial actors to represent them. Actors are, unfortunately, not blank slates and empty vessels as we think they are. They come to represent the roles they take (see Morgan Freeman), to be vessels for the message of film or other media, whether or not they want to or not. There's more going on here than "Gee I want to make a movie about the dark side of being a nice guy." There are plenty of other actors/comedians who could have played the role. Why Carrey? He's certainly stopped being relevant and is more of a dumpster fire caused by his own actions currently than anything.
posted by Young Kullervo at 10:01 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


Dang it, Bobby!

This thread just milkshake-ducked Jim Carrey for me. I’ve been a fan of just about everything I’ve seen him do in TV and film, but I had no idea he was an anti-vaxxer. That’s seriously disappointing and I just lost tons of respect for him.

Nevertheless, I deeply resonate with Merus’ comment above. If I do decide to watch this movie, it will probably have to be a few years from now, just for self-preservation.
posted by darkstar at 10:51 AM on June 11


Can't do Jim Carrey anymore. It started with his pretentious art videos, but his behaviour towards the girlfriend who committed suicide was bad enough it's all I can think of when I see him now.
posted by GoblinHoney at 1:32 PM on June 11 [5 favorites]


Can't do Jim Carrey anymore. It started with his pretentious art videos, but his behaviour towards the girlfriend who committed suicide was bad enough it's all I can think of when I see him now.

This was appalling. Their communications were published and I just cannot abide him anymore after reading them, the cruelty and stupidity was breathtaking. Behind the gurning and showboating, he's an awful person. I'm not surprised at all to find out he's spouting anti-vax shit. Goes with the selfishness combined with ignorance he's already displayed.

I'm also not happy about 'Mr Rogers being a nice guy is FAAAAKE shit, nothing in this world is good, idiots! Open your eyes!' coming out so close to the film.
posted by everydayanewday at 1:44 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


I thought Jim Carrey simply retired. I didn't really feel one way or another about him but had seen a fair bit of his stuff and enjoyed it to varying degrees. Then I saw him on Norm Macdonald Live however long ago, and...nah, I'm done with that guy.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:55 PM on June 11


[A few comments deleted. Using my psychic powers I can see the future and "which is worse, anti-vax or serial rape, let's fight" is, amazingly, not going to be a rewarding conversational direction here.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:12 PM on June 11 [9 favorites]


I really like Gondry's vision and I'd watch anything he does. Actors are mostly all uniformly terrible people in some way or another and it won't ruin my enjoyment if Carrey is in this.

I have to admit, though, I'm just a sucker for a well-made trailer. I don't care what the subject matter is, really, the soundtrack, emotions, editing, etc. are pure poetry in this one.

I'm also not vibing much on how people can feel like they know everything about how this series is going to play out merely from the trailer, including one-sentence synopses/dismissals like 'Mr. Rogers is fake shit, open your eyes sheeple' etc. Have some faith that there's more going on in this project than that, guys. FWIW I didn't get that takeaway at all.
posted by naju at 2:57 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


(Also to the people who think that, have you seen any of Gondry's films aside from Eternal Sunshine? Dude almost certainly has sincere love for Mr. Rogers)
posted by naju at 3:04 AM on June 19


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