Pleasantville

Pleasantville

4.3 23
Director: Gary Ross

Cast: Gary Ross, Tobey Maguire, Jeff Daniels, Joan Allen

     
 

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Gary Ross, Oscar nominated for his Dave and Big screenplays, made his directorial debut with this comedy. The cheerful '50s TV sitcom "Pleasantville" is revived in the '90s for a loyal cable audience. One devoted fan is shy suburban teen David Wagner (Tobey Maguire), who has an almost obsessive interest in the series. Living with his divorced motherSee more details below

Overview

Gary Ross, Oscar nominated for his Dave and Big screenplays, made his directorial debut with this comedy. The cheerful '50s TV sitcom "Pleasantville" is revived in the '90s for a loyal cable audience. One devoted fan is shy suburban teen David Wagner (Tobey Maguire), who has an almost obsessive interest in the series. Living with his divorced mother (Jane Kaczmarek), David sometimes has disputes with his ultra-hip twin sister Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon). She wants to watch MTV just when a Pleasantville marathon is about to begin. They struggle over the remote control, and it breaks. A strange TV repairman (Don Knotts) supplies their new remote, a potent high-tech device which zaps David and Jennifer inside Pleasantville, where their new sitcom parents are businessman George Parker (William H. Macy) and wife Betty (Joan Allen). As "Bud" and "Mary Sue," the teens take up residence in a black-and-white suburbia where sex does not exist and the temperature is always 72 degrees. Life is always pleasant, books have no words, bathrooms have no toilets, married couples sleep in twin beds, the high school basketball team always wins, and nobody ever questions "The Good Life." David revels in Pleasantville's Prozac-styled peacefulness. He fits right in, but Jennifer's 1990s attitude upsets the blandness balance, painting parts of Pleasantville in "living color." Repressed desires surface, cracks appear in the '50s lifestyles, and the Pleasantville populace finds their lives changing in strange, wonderful ways. It's liberating -- but there's also a darker side. This film breaks an all-time record with more than 1700 special effects shots. Shown at the 1998 Toronto Film Festival.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Clark
The directorial debut of notable screenwriter Gary Ross, this whimsical take on television, modernism, and traditional values often tells its tale with a heavy hand (especially in vignettes involving racism and infidelity), but its strikingly-realized mise en scene compensates for the script's meandering. Armed with some of the late-90s' most outstanding acting talent, Pleasantville resonates with noble intentions: one cannot fault the film for lack of ambition, even if it's never as satisfying as it should be dramatically. Ross utilizes truly innovative special effects, combining vibrant color with rich black-and-white, often in the same scene, mirroring the personalities of the characters and their feelings. The second of two high-profile films in 1998 (the other being The Truman Show to address television's relation to society, especially pertaining to spectatorship, Pleasantville also marked the final big-screen appearance of beloved character actor J.T. Walsh, who shines as an old-school values family man.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/31/1999
UPC:
0794043479434
Original Release:
1998
Rating:
PG13
Source:
New Line Home Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tobey Maguire David/Bud
Jeff Daniels Mr. Johnson
Joan Allen Betty
William H. Macy George
J.T. Walsh Big Bob
Reese Witherspoon Jennifer/Mary Sue
Don Knotts TV Repairman
Paul Walker Skip
Marley Shelton Margaret
Jane Kaczmarek David and Jennifer's Mom
Giuseppe Andrews Howard
Jenny Lewis Christin
Marissa Ribisi Actor

Technical Credits
Gary Ross Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Allen Alsobrook Co-producer
Robert Anderson Sound/Sound Designer
Andy Borowitz Co-producer
Susan Borowitz Co-producer
Michael De Luca Executive Producer
Robert J. Degus Producer
William C. Goldenberg Editor
Bonnie Greenberg Musical Direction/Supervision
Jon Kilik Producer
Ellen Lewis Casting
John Lindley Cinematographer
Edward Lynn Co-producer
Judianna Makovsky Costumes/Costume Designer
Randy Newman Score Composer
Jeannine Oppewall Production Designer
Mary Parent Executive Producer
Steven Soderbergh Producer
Allison Thomas Co-producer
Dianne I. Wager Art Director
Chris Watts Special Effects Supervisor
Debra Zane Casting

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