You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Being Michael Madsen

Michael Mongillo's modestly clever mockumentary "Being Michael Madsen" could generate smiles of approval among showbiz insiders and media-savvy civilians as homevid and pay-cable fare.

Michael Madsen - Himself Dexter Hilt - Davis Mikaels Billy Dant - Jason Alan Smith Mark Pollard - Doug Tompos Jackie Starks - Kathy Searle Vanessa - Lacey Chabert

It’s far too in-jokey to draw masses to megaplexes, but Michael Mongillo’s modestly clever mockumentary “Being Michael Madsen” could generate smiles of approval (and shocks of recognition) among showbiz insiders and media-savvy civilians as homevid and pay-cable fare. Madsen earns points as a good sport for offering himself as the punchline of the pic’s central running gag — i.e., he’s such a superstar celebrity, he’s constantly hounded by paparazzi and exploited by tabloids. Faux testimonies by many of the actor’s real-life friends and associates add a touch of Pirandellian cheekiness to the satirical construct.

In the pic’s alternative universe, Madsen takes drastic measures when a slick-but-slimy tabloid reporter (persuasively played by Jason Alan Smith) concocts a story about the actor’s involvement with an alleged murder. Specifically, Madsen hires three idealistic (but cash-strapped) documentarians (Davis Mikaels, Doug Tompos, Kathy Searle) to turn the tables by recording the activities, and uncloseting the skeletons, of the fabulist journo.

Innocents are corrupted and just desserts are served in predictable but funny fashion, while interviewees (including David Carradine and Daryl Hannah, Madsen’s “Kill Bill” co-stars) provide sporadic commentary. More than one sagely notes that, alas, too many people confuse Madsen with the character he played in “Reservoir Dogs.”

Mongillo gets laughs with well-chosen, spot-on details: One of the documentarians winds up on the cover of MovieMaker magazine, past events are rendered as melodramatic (and stiffly acted) re-enactments, and several of the interviews — including one with a straight-faced, hyper-critical Virginia Madsen, Michael’s sister — could easily pass for the real things on many reality TV shows. Indeed, you can’t help suspecting the entire pic could be dropped into the middle of A&E’s program lineup, or MSNBC’s primetime “Doc Block,” and most viewers wouldn’t get the joke.

At 90 minutes, “Being Michael Madsen” could benefit from judicious trimming. But apt production values enhance the illusion of a documentary within a documentary.

Being Michael Madsen

Production: A Daniel A. Sherkow presentation of a Mean Time Prods. production in association with Lost Horses Prods., Sunrise Pictures, Dream Makers Music. Produced by Daniel A. Sherkow, Taylor Warren, Lawrence Steinberg. Executive producers, Scott Barber, Lawrence E. Joseph, Dennis D'Amico, Mark Salamone. Co-producer, Michael Madsen. Directed by Michael Mongillo. Screenplay, Mongillo, James Charbonneau.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Jeff Hoyt; editors, Taylor Warren, Mongillo; music, Christopher Klatman; sound, Warren; casting, Danny Roth. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, Nov. 17, 2007. (In Denver Film Festival -- New Directors Showcase.) Running time: 90 MIN.

With: Michael Madsen - Himself Dexter Hilt - Davis Mikaels Billy Dant - Jason Alan Smith Mark Pollard - Doug Tompos Jackie Starks - Kathy Searle Vanessa - Lacey ChabertWith: David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, Harry Dean Stanton, Paige Davis, Virginia Madsen, Elaine Madsen.

More Film

  • C'est La Vie TIFF

    French Films's Overseas B.O. Revenue Drops 51% in 2018

    After bouncing back in 2017, the overseas box office revenue of French movies plummeted by 51% to 237 million euros ($270 million) with 40 million admissions sold, a 52% year-on drop, in 2018. The provisional box office figures were unveiled by UniFrance during a reception hosted at France’s culture minister during which Eric Toledano and [...]

  • Isabela Moner Shameik Moore Kiernan Shipka

    Netflix Casts Starry Ensemble for Adaptation of John Green's 'Let It Snow'

    “Dora the Explorer’s” Isabela Moner, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s” Shameik Moore, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s” Kiernan Shipka, “Lady Bird’s” Odeya Rush, Jacob Batalon, Miles Robbins, Mitchell Hope, Liv Hewson, Anna Akana, and Joan Cusack are set to star in the Netflix pic “Let It Snow.” The film is based on the New York Times bestselling [...]

  • Brian Tyree Henry Playback Podcast If

    Listen: From 'Beale Street' to 'Spider-Verse,' Brian Tyree Henry Was Your 2018 MVP

    Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety / iHeartRadio podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films. Emmy- and Tony-nominated actor Brian Tyree Henry is coming off a sensational year. A second, acclaimed season of FX’s “Atlanta” sent him headlong into a fall movie season that saw featured roles in Yann [...]


    How a Costume Designer Brightened M. Night Shyamalan's 'Glass'

    Paco Delgado’s costumes are as varied as his films. Contrast the drama “The Danish Girl,” the futuristic fantasy “A Wrinkle in Time” and the period musical “Les Misérables.” Now he’s in comic-book territory with M. Night Shyamalan’s newest superhero/supervillain thriller, “Glass,” which Universal releases Jan. 17. The costume designer’s career began in Barcelona and London, [...]

  • The Lego Movie 2

    'Lego Movie 2' Heading for $55 Million Opening Weekend

    Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” is heading for an opening weekend of as much as $55 million at the North American box office on Feb. 8-10, early tracking showed Thursday. Chris Pratt is returning to voice Master Builder Emmet Brickowski along with new character Rex Dangervest. The unfailingly optimistic Emmet has [...]

  • Kevin Hart Monopoly

    Kevin Hart in Talks to Star in Monopoly Movie

    Kevin Hart is in talks to star in Lionsgate and Hasbro’s Monopoly live-action movie, which he will also produce through his HartBeat Productions label. Tim Story is in final negotiations to direct the film and also produce through his Story Company banner. HartBeat’s John Cheng will also produce and oversee the pic with Carli Haney. Story Company [...]

  • Playtime Unveils Three New French Comedies

    Playtime Dives Into Different Waves of French Comedy (EXCLUSIVE)

    Playtime, the Paris-based co-production and sales company which will be presenting Francois Ozon’s anticipated “By the Grace of God” in competition at the Berlin Film Festival, has acquired three offbeat French comedies: Geraldine Nakache’s “I’ll Go Where You Go,” “The Bare Necessity” with Fanny Ardant, and Valerie Donzelli’s “Our Lady of Paris.” “Our Lady of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content