What was ahead of its time—many people dismissed the premise of a TV studio adopting a child, around which a reality show would be taped, as ridiculously exaggerated—may now seem trivial or irrelevant. The lengths to which The Entertainment Industry will go for an audience (not to mention advertising, including product placement) always surprise us for some reason. In light of the births of current celebrity babies—the mothers of whom take future brand identity into consideration when naming them—it might be wise to revisit this movie and consider the impact of a scenario that’s not likely to be hypothetical for much longer.
I’m always wary of a movie with a plethora of seasoned actors; it has the potential to feel like a required class, in which Hollywood’s upperclassmen sit around chewing scenery. In this instance, I was pleasantly surprised. The true unsung hero, however, is the screenwriter, who not only chose to focus on overlooked perspectives of JFK’s assassination (a story that’s threadbare from handling) but who also prepared a medium through which the stars could best showcase their craft. Texas’ historically underappreciated hospital finally gets its moment in the sun.
Cantankerous Harvey Pekar’s beefs with everyone around him became the subject of an everyman comic based on his life. His following of underdogs grew until he found himself on Late Night with David Letterman, the antithesis of his entire life so far. The real-life and fictional versions of the lovable loser team up to narrate the story with a few cameos by characters you’ll soon come to know as if they were your own friends.