« Thor: Ragnarok- review | Main | The Meyerwitz Stories (New and Selected)- review »

Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond- Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton- review


“Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond- Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton” (2017)

Directed by Chris Smith

Starring Jim Carrey, Andy Kaufman

Running Time 94 Minutes

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


The year was 1999, I was in my 19th year of existence and my Jim Carrey obsession was at it’s peak.  Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber spoke to me the way they should to a 14-15 year old (through their buttcheeks), but now I was 19 and considering myself more mature, especially through my film taste (I mean, I had just seen “Run Lola Run” in the theaters for goodness sake!).  Jim Carrey wanted to be taken seriously, and so he cast off his clown attire with the very successfully “The Truman Show”, which I saw in the theaters 8 times and is still to this day my favorite film of all time.  I felt spiritually linked with Mr. Carrey through his film choices, and I wanted my growth to mirror his growth.  

Cue his first entry into the biopic genre with “Man on the Moon”.  Chronicling the story of the actor Andy Kaufman, whom I had only known from watching some “Taxi” reruns (Kaufman’s greatest probable fear), which I was not all that fond of.  I had my eyes and ears glued to every tidbit that came out of this production.  I was mesmerized by the fact that I that Carrey was going all DeNiro with full method acting as the polarizing bizarro comedian, and so in turn I did my homework on Kaufman and I was hooked.  Here was a performer who cared more about doing what he thought was funny than what the audience thought was funny; a man who often made the audience in fact the joke.  Youtube wasn’t around then yet, but I watched all the Kaufman footage I could and when the Milos Forman directed film finally came out, I didn’t see Jim Carrey up on the screen I saw Kaufman up there and while the film was good but not great, Carrey gave one of the better performances of our generation (damn you Oscars!).  A documentary from Chris Smith aptly titled “Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond- Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton” shows just how far Jim Carrey went for his ‘performance’ and the toll it took on him, his director, and everyone else involved in the production.


The film is intertwined with a plethora of behind the scenes footage that Universal didn’t want released (because at the time Carrey was the biggest star in the world and the higher ups didn’t want him to be viewed as an asshole) and a sit down interview with a present day Carrey recalling the process.  It’s fascinating to watch Carrey truly give into Kaufman; stating that after got his dream role he looked over the ocean trying to telepathically communicate with Kaufman who died in 1984 to cancer, and that’s when “like 30 dolphins” rose up from the water and Kaufman “tapped” him on the shoulder and said “Sit down, I’ll be doing my movie.” From there Carrey never broke character, by either playing the mischievous Andy Kaufman who resented his fame from “Taxi” or his alter ego, Tony Clifton, a crude lounge lizard that he half played along with his manager/accomplice Bob Zmuda.  Carrey, I mean Kaufman drove many people nuts and nearly broke the proud Oscar winning director Milos Forman.  Some of the onset antics are mean; as in the way Carrey harassed former pro wrestler Jerry Lawler, who plays himself in the film reenacting the famous “feud” he had with Kaufman who for a time wrestled only females lovingly playing a heel.  Lawler remembers Kaufman as someone who respected him, always calling him sir, but Carrey’s Kaufman tormented him on set, to the point of making the world believe in a very Kaufmanesque way that Carrey had broken his back during their filmed wrestling scenes.  

Present day Carrey carries himself now as someone who believes none of existence truly matters, and we are all but a blink in the existence of the cosmos.  He says he ‘wants’ for nothing anymore, and you can’t help but wonder if he’s tapping into Kaufman when he waxes intellectual, “I wonder what would have happened if I just decided to be Jesus”, he says with a grin of confidence.  This confidence shows Carrey’s amazing talents, and he feels like one of those great performers who I want so much more from.  I miss him like a Prince or Michael Jackson even though Carrey is neither addicted to anything to our knowledge or deceased, also unbeknownst to our knowledge. This film lets me savor a former obsession of mine that I hope only gets finer with time.   

1 John 4:1


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>