by Jim Wunderle
"The Truman Show"
Directed by: Peter Weir
Starring: Jim Carrey, Ed Harris
Without a doubt, "The Truman Show" has been the movie with the biggest "buzz" of 1998. Long before the June 5 opening, pundits far and wide were proclaiming the film the best of the year some even said the best of the decade.
This film was to be a ground-breaking one for Jim Carrey, where he would prove to be more than an overpaid, rubber-faced, slapstick comic.
I tried to ignore the hype, and I was willing to give Carrey a chance. I absolutely hated "The Cable Guy" and walked out on "Liar, Liar," but heck, I thought, if he wants to turn over a new, sensitive leaf, I'll give him a chance.
The best thing about the film, though, is the fact that it's directed by Peter Weir. From the surrealistic feel of "Picnic at Hanging Rock" to the taut drama of "Witness," Weir has always found a good story and told it in an interesting way.
As we all know from the unending promos, previews and talk show appearances, the story that is "The Truman Show" is another great one, and one that promises to be ultra relevant in the media-driven culture of pre-millennium America.
Carrey plays Truman Burbank (Truman, True Man, get it?), the first person ever legally adopted by a corporation and a guy whose every moment, from birth to the present, has been captured and broadcast to TV viewers worldwide.
Truman lives in a place called Seahaven, and unbeknownst to him, he's on the largest soundstage ever constructed, being watched by more than 5,000 video cameras and billions of couch potatoes. Everyone else in Seahaven from his mom, to his wife, to his neighbors, to the guy at the newsstand is an actor.
As the film opens, things around Seahaven are starting to unravel a bit. A theatrical light falls from the sky in front of Truman, and his radio begins picking up directions from the show's producers.
As the film progresses, Truman becomes increasingly aware that something is not quite as it should be.
Without a doubt, this is a great premise for a film. The biggest problem with it, though, is that after you know the setup, and have pondered the implications, the movie doesn't go anywhere beyond what you've already imagined.
I didn't feel any differently about Truman after seeing the film than I did after seeing the first preview. Weir could have dived into the back story, about how the show came to be, and let us see more reactions from people in the "real world" who are devoted followers of the show.
All in all, I think "The Truman Show" is worth your time, but it could have been done a lot deeper and a lot better.
As for Carrey, I still think he's an overpaid, rubber-faced, slapstick comic, but he is taking a step in the right direction.
(Jim Wunderle works at Associated Video Producers and is a Springfield free-lance writer and musician.)
Adrianna Norris became a first-time business owner with the opening of Finley River Chiropractic; PaPPo’s Pizzeria & Pub launched its newest location; and Huey Magoo’s opened its second store in the Ozarks.