Talk Radio Reviews

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Super Reviewer
February 17, 2011
Barry: You're fascinated by the gory details! You're mesmerized by your own fear. You revel in floods, car accidents, unstoppable diseases, you're happiest when others are in pain.That's where I come in isn't it? I'm here to lead you by the hand through the dark forest of your own hatred and anger and humiliation! 

"The last neighborhood in America"

Talk Radio is one of my favorite Oliver Stone films, and is one that few actually know about. It's an underrated and under seen film of immense power. It has a simple, straightforward narrative, but the actual material is anything but simple. This is a movie that will stick with you; one that is unforgettable. I just watched this for the second time, and I'm still amazed by how Stone and Bogosian suck me in with the character of Barry Champlain. The film is at its most interesting when only the character of Champlain is talking, and luckily, that is most of the movie.

Talk Radio follows a talk radio host named Barry Champlain. Champlain's character is based on a real life host name Alan Berg, who was murdered after a show. Champlain has a night time show where rants his opinions to the people of Dallas, and most of them hate him for it. Yet they still listen and call in. Soon, Champlain's show is going to go national, so everyone in America can hear his opinions on drugs, racism, and anything else you can think about. Champlain is a character that you think would have a lot of strength. His voice and his opinions show strength. Yet, he starts to unravel with all of the hatred from callers. 

Most of the film takes place in the talk room. There's a few scenes outside of the room, but very few. We are left with Bogosian as Champlain and all of his callers. Bogosian more than exceeds standards. He is simply amazing as Champlain. He wrote the original play, and co-wrote this script with Stone. The two of them brought the play perfectly to screen with a lot of power and a lot of intellect. The ending will leave you haunted more than anything. I don't think there's any better word to describe this film with, then haunting.

I wouldn't know what genre to put this into. The closest one there is is drama, but even that doesn't fit it all that well. It has no real genre limitation. It's funny, it's sad, it's scary, it's honest. It's everything in one film and I love it for that. Talk Radio is a must see, and not just for film buffs, but for everyone. It's one of Oliver Stone's best achievements and pretty much no one has heard about it. Track this movie down and give it a look. 
Super Reviewer
April 27, 2009
When I was a kid I listened to talk radio (yes, I was THAT kid). The guy I listened to was He Who Goes Bump in the Night, Jim White on KMOX out of St. Louis. I think I stumbled on the guy after a Cardinals game. Jim White had been on the air in St. Louis for years and his shows were usually open format. Most callers were congenial, but every once in awhile a tirade would start either from a caller or from the host himself. There was the occasional Nazi or someone without a clue. These are the people that listen to the radio late a night. Check out Coast to Coast AM if you don't believe me.

With Talk Radio we get to take a look at Barry Champlain (Eric Bogosian), a nigh time talk radio host who is no holds barred and tells it like it is even though most of his listeners don't like it. Most callers hate him. When he goes out in public his ridiculed. But his shows popular as hell. So popular he's about to go national. But is that what he really wants? National hatred.

Barry's main argument to people is to turn off the damn show. That may be what you and I have in mind. But you have to remember the old story about a car accident. It's disgusting, it's horrible, but you sure as hell can't look away. You may hate what he says, but you just can't not stop listening to him because you have to know what he's going to say next.

Oliver Stone directs this film base on Bogosian's play and the film does have some of Stones flourishes, but it's really a claustrophobic piece. By the end of the film you're ready to get the hell out of that studio. You feel as stuffy and confined as the characters and during the times you do get out it's not for a breath of fresh air or freedom, it's more of how the disease from the radio has spread. Excellent performances throughout featuring Bogosians best work to date.

So many years late and Jim White's retired from the night time airwaves and the Cardinals aren't on KMOX anymore. I'm sure there's another guy at night buy he probably isn't as abrasive as White. Talk radio today is more user friendly with hosts chanting the mantras of the demographic they're designed for. Talk radio is a time capsule of those days when guys said what they though on the radio, not what was expected of them.
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2008
Fantastic script pulled off on the tiniest set. Oliver Stone before he got too overtly political. A great thriller, and a huge recommend.
Super Reviewer
June 3, 2008
A really great film when you don't expect too much more than what's advertised. Bogosian's finest hour by far and really shows you what late-night talk radio is all about. A good film I found for $4 at Big Lots.
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2006
This was one of those films, you really expect nothing from and yet, it pleasantly surprised me. Eric Bogosian plays the role of a radio presenter and he is very convincing in doing so. He upsets practically everyone with his freedom of speech and obnoxious attitude. I liked the controversy of this film which made it quite unique and despite looking a little dated; it was a really enjoyable watch.
Super Reviewer
August 13, 2007
A talk show host dishes out hatred and gets some back. It's somewhat interesting.
Super Reviewer
June 18, 2007
Quite possibly Oliver Stone's best film ever. Eric Bogosian shines bright in this movie where talk doesn't come cheap.
Super Reviewer
May 4, 2013
While among Oliver Stone's less known work, Talk Radio is one of his most interesting films nonetheless. The film looks at a shock radio personality, whose shtick both endears him to some and alienates him from others, culminating in his eventual death, being based on actual events.

Taking place predominately in one setting, a radio studio, Stone was able to create a very noticeable level of intensity and earnestness, albeit a very confined intensity. This is a testament to his style of scene building, with an especially keen sense of framing that both underscores the emotion of the scene, and creates great tension. This works, as the film is essentially a character study, and an exploration of the medium of radio as well, a medium both intensely personal and yet also impersonal.

The performance by Eric Bogosian really anchors the film. His manic energy, his seeming callousness, his cynicism, embodies the role perfectly. Through the progression of the film, we see his character arc, which is done in both an authentic and organic way.

The themes explored in Talk Radio are done well. It captures the societal fascination with decadence and the mundane in powerful way, while also being a commentary on our modern media culture. Some of the dialogue used in the radio scenes can be stilted at times, but it's always sold well by Bogosian.

An overall underrated and overlooked smartly executed gem by Stone.

4/5 Stars
Super Reviewer
November 6, 2012
This early Stone has a few flashes of what we can expect from the director later but it is ultimately imperfect.
Super Reviewer
February 20, 2013
Talk Radio is a decent independent drama from Oliver Stone, but it makes typical indie film mistakes. The opening 30 minutes was amazing, great dialogue, and automatically intriguing. After that it went down on a slope, an got dry. Once it got back to the radio though I was wishing for this to be longer. It's like Network for radio. The pacing was awful as I've already mentioned, but once it was up my heart was racing. The ending took out the realism completely. I liked the idea but not the execution. I do reccomed watching, well listening to the credits though.
Super Reviewer
½ August 20, 2010
One of Oliver Stone's best films, and its also his least talked about. Eric Bogosian's original play is one of the best commentaries on American mass culture in the 80s and this is a great adaptation of it. Oliver Stone was right to insist that Bogosian himself play the role, because I don't think any other actor could have captured the manic intensity of the character like he does.
Super Reviewer
½ May 18, 2012
Eric Bogosian was robbed of an Oscar nomination. This is his film, and he delivers line after line of hate-filled dialogue with an unparalleled amount of force. "Talk Radio" is an absorbing film, mainly due to Bogosian's tour-de-force performance and his cynical, but truthful, screenplay, and it never fails to be interesting. Normally, films adapted from plays are tedious and boring to watch, but Oliver Stone directs with such momentum that it's hard not to get involved. Those 110 minutes flew by quicker than any film I've seen in recent memory.
Critique Threatt
Super Reviewer
½ April 13, 2010
"Talk Radio" is a chillingly creepy film about a talk show radio host who badmouths his listeners on the air. It is also a study into the life of the radio host Barry Champlain played brilliantly by Eric Bogasian. Champlain use to be a suit and tie salesman, and was asked (by one of his famous customer) to come do a radio show. The next thing you know Champlain takes over and tells his listeners how he feels. Champlain gets the job, goes independent as a radio host then one of the top execs wants Champlain show to go public.

This is a good move for Champlain but things start to take course due to his erractic personality. The film also involves his former wife, his days as a bachelor, the co-worker he is sleeping with, and overcourse the feeling of being watched and heard from his controversial listeners. I enjoyed this film because it takes on the subject using macho satire, it's not a long film and rushes by fast, Stone and his cinematographer Robert Richardson uses lovely colors and light to give it a style, and the production designer, the late Bruno Rebeo with the studio moving 360 degrees while Barry Champlain's mind goes into an abyss.
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2011
I liked how it was centered mainly at just the radio station, in his studio. It was more interesting to hear the type of people that called because they really do exist!
Super Reviewer
July 27, 2007
Superb film, really well played.
January 3, 2012
This was my first exposure to Oliver Stone, as well as the fine work of Eric Bogosian, as he chews scenery left right and center. Loosely based on a true story, the film follows Bogosian over a very tense couple of days as his show is poised to break out to a larger audience and he is plagued with calls and gifts from an angry 'fan' that become increasingly menacing as the film goes on.

Super Reviewer
February 20, 2011
I recorded this movie off a free movie channel just expecting it to be something to watch but I didn't expect to like it all.Talk Radio was a movie I couldn't turn away from & it had my interest from start to finish
May 9, 2011
An intense, darkly funny and powerful drama that runs in rapid pace. The script and acting especially from Eric Bogosian is great.
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