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Real Life (Widescreen)

Dick Haynes , Albert Brooks , Albert Brooks    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 18.54 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Real Life (Widescreen) + Defending Your Life (Bilingual) [Import]
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Product Description


Just as The Twelve Chairs is one of Mel Brooks's least-known movies and most deserving of rediscovery, so is Real Life, the first feature film by Albert Brooks (no relation), a buried treasure.

An expansion of one of the short films Brooks created for the inaugural season of Saturday Night Live (and when will someone release those on video?), Real Life takes its cue from An American Family, the landmark 1973 PBS documentary that unflinchingly captured on film the life and gradual dissolution of the wildly dysfunctional Loud family. As a satire of the media's intrusion into our lives, it would make an ideal double-feature with The Truman Show.

Brooks stars as himself, a comedian who, he states, would have been a scientist had he "studied harder or been graded more fairly." Though obliviously unqualified, he is spearheading a project that endeavors to capture a year in the life of a typical American family.

Charles Grodin stars as put-upon Warren Yeager, the Phoenix, Arizona, veterinarian who watches helplessly as the callous Brooks overwhelms his life. (At one point, Brooks makes an entrance in a clown suit to cheer up the depressed brood.) Frances Lee McCain costars as Grodin's wife, who develops a crush on Brooks. "I'm a shallow fellow," he insincerely dissuades her.

This docu-comedy is vintage Brooks, but so dryly deadpan that the uninitiated might not be in on the joke. Among the scenes that are classics in the Brooks canon are his hilariously inappropriate production number that launches the film (he belts out "Something's Gotta Give" to the locals), his cheery dismissal of the unnecessary but union-imposed film crew ("See you at the premiere!"), the revelation that Mrs. Yeager's gynecologist is a notorious "baby broker" previously exposed on 60 Minutes, and the increasingly fractious production meetings in which an old-Hollywood producer (listening in on speaker phone) insists that Brooks cast James Caan as a neighbor.

Real Life was cowritten by Monica Johnson, who later collaborated with Brooks on Modern Romance, Lost in America, The Scout, Mother, and Harry Shearer (from another classic mockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap), who also appears as Pete the cameraman. --Donald Liebenson

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love him or hate him June 24 2004
Albert Brooks is one of this culture's most revealing litmus tests. Some people don't find him the least bit funny. The fault was once believed to lie in Brooks's "understated, subtle-to-the-point-of-non-existent" humor. New findings, however, point to a flaw in the brain of the viewer. Specifically, the congenital underdevelopment of a region in the Occipital cortex known as "Schmegegy's Area", long thought responsibe for sense of humor. While it's not a serious brain disorder, the name of the syndrome is "Serious Brain Disorder". Real Life isn't the funniest movie of all time. That honor belongs to Modern Romance. Real Life is the second funniest movie of all time. The "Airport" line is my favorite. Buy at your own risk. If you don't love it, you've self-diagnosed yourself as having a most unfunny brain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This may be the funniest movie I've ever seen. I have watched it countless times and I never get tired of it. You have to watch this more than once to catch everything. Albert is SO obnoxious and SO egotistical to the point of utter madness. One of the funniest scenes is when Dr. Cleary abandons the project. You've got to see it to believe it. There are so many unforgettable funny lines in this film, too. "I'm not a scientist, I'm a comedian, I can afford the luxury of honesty." SEE THIS MOVIE------STUDY IT------WORSHIP IT
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hysterical Life at 24 frames per second May 10 2002
Albert Brooks started his career as a comedian for the tonight show and made short sketches for Saturday Night Live. In REAL LIFE he stars as Albert Brooks a comedian who made short films for a Saturday Night comedy show with appearances on other late night talk shows. In this, his directorial debut, he films the entirety of someone's real life, but falters because the cameras automatically make the 'real life', false and troublesome.
Charles Grodin is hysterical as the head of the chosen household, and is given much of the hysterical material. His scene with a veterinary operation is stellar. And much of the humor is punctuated by the consistent appearance by cameramen, wearing an obscene and silly contraption, sort of a camera helmet. (Harry Shearer is one of the cameramen...) Still, by the films end, this is a well-executed one-joke comedy and like other Brooks films, the structure suffers by the third act.
REAL LIFE is a funny film and a great start for Brooks. A must for fans of his work...
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Format:VHS Tape
As a (comparative) young'n, I first experienced Albert Brooks through his movie Defending Your Life, which I adored for years (still do). I checked out each movie after that ("Mother" and "The Muse") with equal glee. Having finally checked out his previous films, I was amazed to find that "Real Life" and especially "Modern Romance" are rather different beasts from the inventive but largely harmless later works. Brooks in his prime is not just a brilliant satirist, but a master of the goulishly uncomfortable situation!
Observe the palpable fear given off by Charles Grodin as he tries to dissuade Brooks from showing the footage of him losing one of his patients (he's a veterinarian, so he loses a horse. Big animals are funnier than little ones.) on the table due to his error. Or check out the "put your couch pillow over your face and scream silently" scene in "Modern Romance" where Albert calls a random woman in his roladex, having just broken up with his on-again, off-again girlfriend. Of course, the uncomfortable nature of the scene is intensified by the fact that Albert has just taken two quaaludes before making the call. Watch him confess his love to a woman who he later admits, "I'm not QUITE sure who she is or where I know her from." Wow! A long way from the clever but unassuming takes on the afterlife and the misadventures of a greek muse in the 20th century. The closest he's come in recent films is "Mother," which I had the mis/fortune of seeing with my own mother! What a relief that my own laughs of recognition were covered up by hers, as she related all of the matronly satire to her own mom!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Released in 1979 and Really Prophetic About 2001 June 15 2001
Writer-director-comic actor Albert Brooks has done consistently solid work since this film but it remains his very best. It is a parody, astonishingly enough, of TODAY'S work on tv yet he made this film in 1979! Tv today is parlaying extensive money out of real life situations, whether based on survival or marrying millionaires or some other new trend of the day. These are big reasons why I don't watch tv anymore. If you are unfamiliar with Brooks, who also plays the "auteur" director in the film, you must understand two things about him. One, he always plays obnoxious characters and this is perhaps his most obnoxious ever. Two, he is absolutely merciless on portraying himself as obnoxious. His delivery is straight on and deadpan and totally works. Brooks's character does not have an iota of real self awareness and this too is typical of the roles he creates for himself in all of his films. This is Brooks's satiric look at a documentary purportedly capturing a year in the life of a typical American family. Charles Grodin, low key as usual, is fantastic as Warren Yeager, the Phoenix, Arizona, veterinarian who is largely passive and ineffectual. He, his wife and two children are easily overwhelmed by the callous Brooks as auteur. There are so many delights to this film that it is hard to name them all so here are just a few. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss the Trailer
This has got to be Albert Brooks near his best. A real funny movie. Make sure to get the DVD version of this with the extra interview with brooks (circa 2001)
and don't forget... Read more
Published on July 5 2003 by Mark Fullerton
5.0 out of 5 stars ...
Ironically there is a scene in "Real Life" where Albert Brooks (playing himself) considers ripping off the ending of Star Wars to end his own film. Read more
Published on Sept. 22 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant satire of a genre that didn't exist yet.
This film was a satire on a (mostly forgotten) documentary about the Loud family, in which they followed the family through every facet of their lives. Read more
Published on March 2 2001 by Vinnie Bartilucci
1.0 out of 5 stars WARNING
Published on Feb. 28 2001 by J. Figler
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay.
Perhaps I just got a bad tape, but the color quality of the film seemed to be lacking, sort of like a washed out old home movie. Read more
Published on Aug. 15 2000 by Tesla
5.0 out of 5 stars Like The Truman Show, but funny!
Albert as his most brilliant. Based (I presume) on the appalingly dull PBS program "An American Family"... Read more
Published on July 12 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars FIRST OF ITS KIND
The concept alone of this film is hilarious, and I think it's really the first of its kind - a pre-cursor to films like EdTV and The Truman Show. Read more
Published on Aug. 4 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A great off-center comedy!
I can't believe I never heard of this movie 'til now. Albert Brooks has always been great, and this ties "Lost in America" as one of his best. Read more
Published on July 18 1999
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