Reality TV

Editor’s note: This review originally ran during Cannes 2012, but we’re re-running it as the film’s limited theatrical release begins this weekend. Those expecting Matteo Garrone to follow up 2008’s excellent Gomorrah with another authentic new world crime drama might be surprised to hear that his latest project replaces the seedy criminal underworld for a thoroughly modern exploration of the current fascination with reality TV and its particular brand of disposable fame. In Reality, we follow the tragi-comic story of Luciano (Aniello Arena), a Neapolitan fishmonger with aspirations to find his fortune on the Italian version of Big Brother at the behest of his family who see him as a star and inspired by the success of former housemate Enzo (Raffaele Ferrante). We also follow his subsequent delusional breakdown. Reality is effectively Garrone’s take on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, replacing the golden ticket with the chance to make it into the Big Brother House and instead of giving Charlie his fantastical pay-off, tricking him and trapping him in a perpetual hunt through Wonka bars for his one big shot. Offered an irresistible glimpse at what the prize would mean for his future, and intoxicated with the modern Fame Disease, Luciano quickly turns from charming family man to an obsessive, paranoid reclusive, convinced that the casting team of Big Brother are testing him for selection long after the show has started.

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Susan Boyle

The sort of fame that comes from appearing on reality television can be fleeting. Remember Puck, the filthy bike messenger who put his finger in Pedro’s peanut butter on MTV’s The Real World? No? Let’s go with something more recent. How about Richard Hatch, the manipulative nudist from CBS’ Survivor? Still no? Omarosa, that bitch from The Apprentice? William Hung, that Ricky Martin wannabe from American Idol? At one point these people were the darlings of popular culture, and now their names conjure up barely a glimmer of recognition. Hopefully for Fox Searchlight the name Susan Boyle is recent enough that it’s still at the tips of everyone’s brains though, because Deadline Hollywood is reporting that they’ve just signed off on a deal that gives them the rights to her life story. It turns out that, in the time since her revelatory 2009 performance on Britain’s Got Talent, where she taught the world that even people who aren’t 16-year-old girls with hair extensions can sing, Boyle has been spending her time doing things like cutting albums and signing deals to have a stage musical about her life story made.

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If you’ve been closely following the career of Pee-wee Herman performer Paul Reubens (and shame on you if you haven’t been), then you know he’s been crowing about the fact that he’s got a new, Judd Apatow-produced Pee-wee movie in the works. It was almost two years ago when he first broke word that the movie was happening, and then he let everybody know he had turned in the first draft of the script a year after that. While news of a new Pee-wee movie was initially a cause for celebration, after two years of talk one has to begin wondering if this thing is really happening or not. If Apatow and company are really on board and looking to make this movie, then why is it taking so long to get things together? Reubens has been talking again, this time to ComingSoon, and he says he can explain the wait. “I actually wasn’t supposed to talk about it initially,” Reubens admits, “I was talking about it in this very veiled, secret way going, ‘Oh, I wish I could talk about it.’…It got leaked about six months to a year before it was supposed to.” I guess we can chalk that up to Pee-wee’s trademark giddy enthusiasm, but what’s the real scoop when it comes to this movie? Are we actually going to see it anytime soon?

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turnedon-haney

This week our resident sex columnist Bethany Perryman has our woods and our balls in a vice. We really wish that she would treat us with more respect — we have feelings, ya know.

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published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+
published: 12.05.2014
C+


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