Real Life

( 1 )

Overview

Albert Brooks made his feature-length debut as a writer and director with this wickedly funny satire, in which Albert Brooks plays "Albert Brooks," an arrogant and self-centered comedian who has decided to make a documentary film. Following the lead of the infamous pre-Real World PBS series An American Family in which a "typical" family was filmed during most of their waking hours and eventually self-destructed on camera, Brooks moves in with the Yeager family of Phoenix, Arizona and chronicles their lives, with ...
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Overview

Albert Brooks made his feature-length debut as a writer and director with this wickedly funny satire, in which Albert Brooks plays "Albert Brooks," an arrogant and self-centered comedian who has decided to make a documentary film. Following the lead of the infamous pre-Real World PBS series An American Family in which a "typical" family was filmed during most of their waking hours and eventually self-destructed on camera, Brooks moves in with the Yeager family of Phoenix, Arizona and chronicles their lives, with the support of a battery of psychiatrists and sociologists. He arrives at the Yeagers' doorstep with a two-man crew, wearing high-tech cameras that look like space helmets from a grade-B sci-fi movie, and it quickly becomes obvious that he is incapable of being unobtrusive. The Yeagers are driven to distraction by Brooks, who repeatedly ignores the advice of his team of experts and wishes there were some way to make the family's life more interesting leading to perhaps the least expected homage to Gone With the Wind in film history. Of all Brooks' features, Real Life most resembles his cutting but deadpan short subjects for Saturday Night Live; Brooks never fails to cast himself in an unflattering light, and the supporting cast does admirable work in reacting to him, especially Charles Grodin and Lee McCain as Mr. and Mrs. Yeager. Harry Shearer contributed to the screenplay and plays a small role.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Eddy Crouse
Albert Brooks -- a genius who more than once made Johnny Carson cry from laughing -- is one of America's most underrated comic minds. His 1979 debut feature, Real Life, begins as a satire of the much-lauded PBS verité series, An American Family with Brooks playing himself, explaining the scientific technology involved in choosing and screening a genuine model American family. All of the resultant humor emerges from the weird collisions between reality, fiction, family, director, and the various psychiatrists and scientists assembled for this remarkable motion picture. Arguably the very first theatrically released mockumentary barring the Rutles biopic, All You Need Is Cash, and Citizen Kane's newsreel, Real Life ultimately piles gag upon gag, growing in scope and poignancy as it barrels forward. The DVD includes a priceless trailer which Brooks, bizarrely, shot in 3-D -- "so you can literally feel the excitement."
All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
In 1975, comedian Albert Brooks was offered a gig as permanent host of TV's new late night sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live. Instead, Brooks opted to write and direct short films for the fledgling show. Though his tenure lasted only one season, Brooks' films, including the classic and prescient Show Us Your Guns, were mini-masterpieces of the mockumentary. For his debut as a feature filmmaker a few years later, Brooks spun off one of his SNL shorts into this spoof of the PBS mini-series An American Family (1973). The film starred Brooks as an obnoxious, Hollywood version of himself, attempting to ape the success of An American Family with his own documentary about "real" family life. Real Life met with critical acclaim and established Brooks as a cult favorite among aficionados of intellectual comedy. Others experimented with mockumentaries at the same time (most notably Eric Idle of Monty Python with his Beatles parody The Rutles (1978)), but it could be argued that his SNL films made Brooks one of the first and best practitioners of the form. The films certainly fit seamlessly into Brooks' overall body of work: his earlier comedy albums and infamous TV talk show appearances displayed a similar proclivity for deconstructing accepted standards and blurring the lines between entertainment and reality. One of Brooks' best friends, Rob Reiner, later achieved great success with his own debut as a director, This Is Spinal Tap (1984), often cited as the greatest example of the mockumentary form -- and a film that bore more than a slight resemblance to both Real Life and The Rutles, a similarity perhaps due at least in part to actor and comic Harry Shearer, who co-wrote and co-stars in both Real Life and This Is Spinal Tap.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/1/1998
  • UPC: 097360128734
  • Original Release: 1979
  • Rating:

  • Source: Paramount
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charles Grodin Warren Yeager
Frances Lee McCain Jeanette Yeager
J.A. Preston Dr. Ted Cleary
Matthew Tobin Dr. Howard Hill
Albert Brooks Himself
Dick Haynes Harris
Lisa Urette Lisa Yeager
Robert Stirrat Eric Yeager
David Spielberg Dr. Jeremy Nolan
Jennings Lang Martin Brand
Norman Bartold Dr. Isaac Steven
James L. Brooks Evaluator
Susan Clark Nurse
Adam Grant The Feltons
Johnny Haymer Dr. Rennert
Mort Lindsey Himself
Zeke Manners Driver
Julie Payne Dr. Kramer
James Ritz Jack
Harry Shearer Pete
S.W. Smith
Technical Credits
Albert Brooks Director, Screenwriter
David Finfer Editor
Monica Johnson Screenwriter
Mort Lindsey Score Composer
Linda Marder Art Director
Eric Saarinen Cinematographer
Harry Shearer Screenwriter
Penelope Spheeris Producer
Linda Spheeris Art Director
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Real Life is funny

    The Barnes & Noble writeups on this movie are pretty accurate, IMO. I just wanted to share this this little experience with 'Real Life:' The last time I saw this film I was in the Tower Video retail showroom on the east Side of Greenwich Village in NYC over by Broadway. That afternoon there were no more than six people in the room including staff. 'Real Life' started running on the house video monitors, and, one by one, each one of us ended up guffawing uncontrollably as we half-watched this thing while browsing the racks or whatever. We all kind of spontaneously bonded over this video for those minutes. Proof positive, in my opinion. For my taste, Mr. Brooks is a very funny person. And of course there's Charles Grodin too ... How can you miss, really.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews