The Gong Show Movie - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Gong Show Movie Reviews

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April 23, 2015
Trashed by critics in its Summer 1980 release, this cultural artifact will appeal to all those that loved the Gong Show anarchy. Either you get it or you don't.
½ November 5, 2014
good comedy/thriller ..
March 25, 2012
I saw this movie when I was twelve in the end of the year school trip, and yes is as I remember sleazy
½ May 30, 2011
Strange, low-rent riff on Felini's 8 1/2. Yet, updating it to comment upon television and celebrity culture makes this probably more meaningful in 2011 than in 1980 when it was released.
February 6, 2009
Entertaining and a mess, but watchable and enjoyable at times. Besides anything with Rip Taylor has to be put up on the mantle
October 5, 2008
You might be thinking about Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Check it out.
August 30, 2008
Not a well-known movie...but damn funny!!
July 27, 2008
Written in part by the late Robert Downey (of Greaser's Palace fame), though probably re-written a great deal by its star Chuck Barris, this pseudo-fiction mockumentary, like its namesake TV show on which it was based, was ahead of its time, paving the way for such masterpieces as the Christopher Guest-directed This Is Spinal Tap and Waiting for Guffman. Barris, creator of the Dating Game and the Gong Show practically invented crap, pseudo-reality television some two decades before crap, pseudo-reality television would overtake television. In fact, he would take the form to the limit doing just about everything one can do with the form, which simply put isn't much. Where would American Idol be without the Gong Show? I defy anyone to tell me the two shows are all that much different. At least the Gong Show had an amusing and fun way of judging, and not the self-serving patter of the latter show. The Gong Show Movie portrays an aging Barris as undergoing a nervous breakdown, trapped by the show that brought him fame, swamped by fans who treat their encounter with him as an audition. Intercut with Barris' slow and generally unfunny and self-absorbed breakdown (it was the "Me Decade" after all) are scenes cut from the actual show, which are hilarious and utterly fascinating on so many levels, but which are far too brief and cut too quickly. There's a lot of promise here, however, with some good supporting performances (including a first screen appearance by the late, great Phil Hartman), though I'm afraid the same cannot be said about Barris or his wife, who are strictly amateurs. Their on-screen sincerity is laughable. Watching Barris on-screen, though, I'm reminded of Clooney's Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (featuring an incredible and spot-on performance of Barris by a real actor, Sam Rockwell) an interesting take on Barris' excellent and fascinating autobiography in which claims he was in fact a CIA contract killer and the Gong Show was his cover. No kidding. While it's hard to take Barris on his word, it's easy to understand how he could have come up with this story; it provided him with a dramatic escape from the absurdity that his life had become. This film, then, stands as an interesting middle-piece occupying the freshly absurd richness of the Gong Show and the "let's just dance" attitude of the 70s, and the coldly cynical detachment that produced both the book and film of Dangerous Mind. It's entirely of its time, a kind of Altmanesque menagerie of scenes that hang together only by the increasingly psychotic energy of its players. And it points toward the desperate "everyone's a celebrity" mentality vomited up by the mass media in their desperation to fill up the magazines and television screens and newspapers, and which now clog the internet with blogs and, dare I say it, facebook accounts. Recommended, with reservations.
June 11, 2008
Not an Oscar contender by any means, but man is this movie a riot!! Gong show fans will howl with laughter, especially at the finale!!
November 26, 2007
As everyone & their brother's mother search for their 15 minutes of fame Chucky Baby has a breakdown & flees to the desert of Morocho only to be followed by the lunatics he tries to escape. A true cult flix w/out any home video release so if you catch it on some back water channel be sure to snap it up..look for Phil Hartman in a small bit role as an aeroplane high jacker
½ November 9, 2007
This is NOT what you would call a good film, but I felt I should mention it, just for its oddity factor. Can you believe that The freak-show/game-show/pre-cursor to the reality show phenomenon of the late seventies actually spawned a motion picture. It's astounding that something this left-field actually happened, and at the hands of Gong show host himself - Chuck Barris, who wrote and directed this mess. Most people probably don't even remember this as-yet-unavailable weirdo ever existed (I caught it on BRAVO). You have to give Chuck credit though - Instead of the comic mis-adventures you might expect, he chooses to depict the bleak and painful daily trials and tribulation of his life as the superstar host of The Gong Show, as if he is making a serious bid for dramatic legitimacy. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the skills to pull it off, but you've got to admire the guy for trying. George Clooneys version of his life is far more fascinating, as is Sam Rockwells performance. This film would be a great extra feature for a multi disc special edition of CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND, especially if Chuck could explain himself in a commentary track. Along with the TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY episode about Chuck.
½ October 5, 2007
Chuck Barris is a genius.
½ September 16, 2007
The TV show was a winner, but this movie probably should be gonged.
Super Reviewer
½ August 4, 2007
Sleazy and fascinating. A slice of 1980 TV culture captured on film. Chuck Barris doesn't seem very happy throughout this. I can see he didn't get much understanding or support from his production team. I liked the "Don't Get Up For Me" finale in the desert. The strength of the movie was the clips of the memorable acts from "The Gong Show" itself. It's tragic and funny seeing some of the deluded folks who think they've got talent. My favorite skit was the big twins singing "Love Will Keep Us Together". I wish they had revealed the man who was behind "The Unknown Comic" skits. It also would've been nice to see some interactions with the celebrity judges, who seemed restricted to the clips.
July 19, 2007
This show introduced true 'trash TV'. Without The Gong Show there would be no American Idol or America's Got Talent. The movie itself is rather boring but it is the various actual Gong Show skits taken from the actual show itself that makes this movie entertaining to watch. Just get your fast-forward finger ready to fast-forward to the best parts.
May 5, 2007
That was the silliest show on TV
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