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

  • Writers Guild Posts Scathing Video Attack

    Writers Guild Posts Scathing Video Attack on Agency Packaging

    The Writers Guild of America, which is threatening to require members to fire their agents, has posted a scathing video attacking how major agencies conduct packaging. Titled “Agency Conflicts of Interest,” the video explains that compensation for writers has declined by 23% between 2014 and 2014 and blames the agencies for taking packaging fees on [...]

  • CAA Owner TPG Buying Payroll Specialist

    CAA Owner TPG Buying Payroll Specialist Entertainment Partners

    TPG Capital, the massive private equity firm that owns Creative Artists Agency, is buying payroll specialist Entertainment Partners for an undisclosed price. Entertainment Partners’ management team, led by president and CEO Mark Goldstein, will continue in their roles. The agreement was announced Tuesday with plans to close the deal during the second quarter. “We’re thrilled [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Agents Accuse Writers Guild of Threatening to Throw 'Industry Into Chaos'

    UPDATE – The dealmakers appear to be getting nowhere. Negotiators for Hollywood agents and the Writers Guild of America have achieved little progress at their seventh session on Tuesday, with a chaotic scenario looming on April 7. “When Guild leadership is ready to move on from their declared threatening phase, we stand ready to work [...]

  • Zoe Lister-Jones The Craft

    'The Craft' Remake Finds Director in Zoe-Lister Jones

    “Life in Pieces” star Zoe Lister-Jones will write and direct Sony Pictures’ remake of “The Craft” for Blumhouse and Red Wagon Entertainment. Doug Wick, the producer of the original “The Craft,” will return in the same capacity along with partner Lucy Fisher through their Red Wagon banner. Jason Blum is also producing and his Blumhouse [...]

  • Carol Burnett

    Carol Burnett's Mother-Daughter Story 'Carrie and Me' in Development as a Movie

    Carol Burnett’s bestseller “Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story” is in the works as a movie at Focus Features with Burnett, Tina Fey, Eric Gurian, and Steven Rogers producing. Burnett will produce through her Mabel Cat Productions with Fey and Gurian under their production banner Little Stranger along with Rogers (“I, Tonya”). The sibling [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Plans for Agency Pact Expiration: 'There Will Be Difficult Moments'

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have sent members contingency plans for the possible expiration of its agency franchise agreement on April 7 — and admitted that it may be a rocky road. Members received the letter Tuesday from the guild’s negotiating committee as the WGA and agents were about the hold their seventh [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content