Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
Getting there is half the fun; being there is all of it!
A simple-minded gardener named Chance has spent all his life in the Washington D.C. house of an old man. When the man dies, Chance is put out on the street with no knowledge of the world except what he has learned from television.
Part of the No Rewatch November 2012 Project.
People hear what they want to hear, what they're already expecting to hear. That's the central driving notion behind the greatness of Being There. Not that it's a film that rambles on in love with it's own message. Quite the opposite actually.
This is a movie that seems to steer clear of heavy handed-ness in favor of simple delight. The process of watching it somehow puts you into Chance's mind so that you end up seeing things the way he does. You begin to experience, in some sense, the way it must be to see the world for the first time. You root for the misunderstandings, you root for the absurdity of…
"It's for sure a white man's world in America. Look here: I raised that boy since he was the size of a piss-ant. And I'll say right now, he never learned to read and write. No, sir. Had no brains at all. Was stuffed with rice pudding between th' ears. Shortchanged by the Lord, and dumb as a jackass. Look at him now! Yes, sir, all you've gotta be is white in America, to get whatever you want."
As soon as I heard the jazz remix of 2001: A Space Odyssey's Also Sprach Zarathustra, I knew that I was in for something unique.
This could have easily won the Palme d'Or in 1980 if it weren't in competition with Bob…
Another one of those "So good, I had to see it again as soon as possble." and with a film like this, can you blame me?
This is very similar to Forrest Gump in that they both follow a simple man who is mistaken for a something much more brilliant and in his journey encounters powerful figures, like the President of the United States, as they all fall for his misunderstandings. This is a much stronger film than Forrest Gump, not that I don't like Forrest; I love Forrest Gump. Where this surpasses the latter film is that the latter constantly throws it all in your face how sentimental and inspiring it tries to be to the point it's pretty…
Somehow I've managed to pick 3 films in a row absolutely dripping with Biblical allegory. Purely coincidence, I assure you.
Being There is mostly kept afloat by the brazenly naive yet hopelessly adorable performance of Peter Sellers, and the stunning Shirley MacLaine. Thanks to Sellers, the Christ allegory at the core of the film always dances with satire but never quite seems to descend in outright ridicule of Christianity thanks to the pure likability of Chauncey Gardiner, and the fact that it is the world around him that elevates his words; that their adulation of him comes from a deep-seated need for optimism and hope. As much as I was hoping to see Sellers let loose, it's equally impressive to…
Chance is a simple gardener working on the house of an old man. When the old man dies Chance has to go to the street. He has no place to go, he has no family and he doesn't know anything about the world. He never left the house, he has a soft mental disability, he loves watching tv and everthing he knows about the world he learned through television. Meanwhile he got involved into the middle of the political circle of the United States.
Peter Sellers plays Chance in such a brilliant way! Perfect body language and perfect facial expressions, he did just a perfect wonderful work in every way possible. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best…
Part of a few Hal Ashby films I've been catching up on and this is definitely up there with Harold and Maude. Being There centers around the life of the character Chance (played by Peter Sellers) who seems to have lived his whole life sat in front of a TV screen until certain circumstances in the film mean that things have to change.
The best way I can describe this film briefly is to say it is kind of like the anti-Forest Gump, as whereas Hank's character goes on a fantastical journey across America Chance's tale is pretty much confined to a chance meeting with a women and wealthy business man and what happens next. Not only is the story…
Im really starting to realize how great Ashby is. He is able to help capture the tenderness in characters so beautifully. Sellers does a little physical comedy which he is just so good at, and puts on a funny blankness which always leaves room for ambiguity, but with some moving pathos coming through, its actually quite a brilliant performance. There is also Jack Warden an actor I really like as the president, funny stuff. I still find the last shot a misstep, it takes away from what has come before rather than adding to it and it works against the satire rather than for it, but its not a big deal. Being There is hilarious, tender, silly, charming, and beautifully directed. Its still a crazy world we live in.
The second movie was Being There, which wasn't AFI 400 worthy, but was number 26 (I believe) on the "100 Laughs" list.
This thought alone perplexes me.
When asked to narrow down 100 years of movies into 400 nominees, the 1996 panel of the American Film Institute did not consider "Being There" to be one of the top 400 movies. Now the 1998 version of the panel has selected it as the 26th funniest movie EVER. How does something like that happen? I imagine the turnaround on the panel is not that great, so I can only assume that dramas are considered much more important films then comedies. Or I'm just reading way too much into this.
Nevertheless, I watched…
Wonderful, very unusual movie.
Being There is the story of a gardener whose boss dies, leaving him without a job or even a home. Then, through a series of misunderstandings, this simple gardener is lifted from the streets to living the high life. Chance, the gardener, is perhaps a bit mentally challenged but this is not a Rain Man type of performance from Peter Sellers. Sellers plays Chance as an extremely innocent character who is not necessarily dumb, just out of touch with how the real world works. This portrayal made me like Chance almost instantly, and feel connected to him as if he were a small child. When things started to go poorly for him I was having trouble laughing because he seemed…
"Life is a state of mind."
After seeing Being There for the first time I now have completely new expectations for films in the comedy genre. I have always had a negative outlook when it comes to comedies because it's so common for them to have poor acting, a lackluster story, and no real artistic value. Hal Ashby's 1979 film Being There, breaks every one of these typical comedy flaws. Being There tells the story of Chance, played by Peter Sellers, who has been living in the same house his entire life, and working as a gardener. The only understanding Chance has of the outside world is what he has seen on television. When the owner of the house dies,…
This goes against everything I have ever believed, but: some films do not need a blooper reel over the end credits.
Tries for charm and hits,
Kind of. The closing sequence
Changes the meaning.
One of my favorite films of all time
Better than Forrest Gump (which ripped this off in my opinion) on all levels. Clever, funny, thought provoking... I don't know, it's wonderful.
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1154. An easy way of seeing how…
- The Racket
- 7th Heaven
- Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
- Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!