Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party (2005)
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Critic Reviews for Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party
Think of Stephen as a softer, rounder, more existentially content Spalding Gray, or the film as a My Dinner with Andre in a pullover sweater and sensible shoes.
...it does seem entirely likely that even those who've never heard of [Tobolowsky] will inevitably find themselves won over by the actor's warm, irresistibly inviting persona.
a brilliant, insightful, and hysterical look at one of our great talents.
According to Brinkmann, Tobolowsky is the greatest storyteller he's ever heard, and after watching this film, that statement is hard to dispute.
Audience Reviews for Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party
Stephen Tobolowsky is a prolific character actor who can be very recognizable to many, easily characterized as the bald man with glasses. He has almost 200 credits listed on IMDB. His most recognizable would include Ned Ryerson from Groundhog's Day and Sammy Jenkins from Memento. He has also recently had reoccurring roles on the shows Glee and Heroes. Besides being a generally solid actor, he is also a gifted storyteller, which is the concern of this film.
There is no conventional story here by any means, this is basically a simple documentary about a day in Stephen's life on his birthday. He spends the 90 minute run time of the film delivering a number of very interesting stories, while preparing for the birthday party at his home, where he will continue to narrate stories for his guests. A couple of cameras and some editing are really the only elements involved, as Stephen simply speaks openly about things that have occurred in his life.
Currently, Stephen now has a weekly podcast (co-hosted by the slashfilmcast's own David Chen), which I listen to, where he continues to share stories about his life. It is a testament to how well he can deliver a story that keeps me wanting to be entertained by what he has to say, whether it be through a voice on my iPod or simply watching a non-flashy film where he sits/stands and talks everything out.
Whether or not everyone else can see the entertainment value from this is up to each individual, but its nice enough for me to listen this man share his interesting stories.
A fine little movie. Tobolowsky is a fine storyteller, but the film has very low budget production values (for instance, never identifies the other people interviewed). But an enjoyable watch.
This cannot be judged as a film with respect to the typical aspects of cinematography, story, characters, etc. But for what it is, which is basically a very lengthy stand-up routine, it is indeed very enjoyable and deserves to be seen and recognized.
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