Monday, November 14, 2011

Lenny (1974)

Featuring: Dustin Hoffman, Valerie Perrine. Director: Bob Fosse

Warning: This movie is only supposed to be available for streaming until Nov. 20th so act fast!

I really wanted to love this movie. I admire Lenny Bruce and I seem to remember hearing about an up-and-coming actor named Dustin Hoffman who is supposed to be pretty good. It seemed like this movie should have had it all, but throughout the film I kept getting the feeling that something was lacking. The acting was very good and the material was very interesting, but I think what was missing might have been spectacle.

The movie seemed a little too quiet and deliberate for a biopic about a man as controversial as Lenny Bruce. Now, I'm not saying there should have been as much spectacle as there was in The People vs. Larry Flynt, because no one did spectacle quite like Larry Flynt. It is worth making the comparison, however, because the two films (and the lives of their two subjects) did follow very similar paths. Controversy, tragedy, and (justifiable) obsession with the first amendment. Sadly, Lenny Bruce passed away before his fight for  first amendment rights could yield any fruits. Maybe that's the real reason I don't like this movie as much as The People vs. Larry Flynt, there was no vindication, no moment of glory, no spectacle. Just tragedy.

According to Netflix this movie will stop streaming on 11/20/11. Of course, sometimes they lie.

The Standard 5:

Why is it in your queue? Dustin Hoffman as Lenny Bruce, how could I resist?

Is it artsy? Yes, in that sort of artsy way that is particular to movies from the 70's. Black and white, a ton of close ups.

What stood out the most to you? How much more interesting the second half of the movie was then the first.

What mood should I be in to watch this movie? Don't expect it to be very funny just because it's about Lenny Bruce, it's actually a pretty depressing movie.

What rating did you give it on Netflix? 3 Stars.

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SPOILER ALERT: Talking about the movie is encouraged in the comment section. Read at your own risk.

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