Man on the Moon (Icon) (1999)

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Released 3-Nov-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Spotlight On Location
Deleted Scenes
Music Video-R.E.M. - Man On The Moon
Music Video-R.E.M. - The Great Beyond
Biographies-Character-Andy Kaufman
Theatrical Trailer
Production Notes
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 113:39 (Case: 172)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (92:19) Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Milos Forman

Icon Entertainment
Starring Jim Carrey
Danny DeVito
Courtney Love
Paul Giamatti
Case Click
RPI $14.95 Music R.E.M.

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

†††† Andy Kaufman lived a relatively short life (1949-1984) prior to his death from complications caused by lung cancer at the age of 35. He is mainly remembered as Latka Gavras, the foreign mechanic on the show Taxi which aired from 1978-83. Latka was based on the character Kaufman developed for his nightclub act, the Foreign Man. The Foreign Man was the antithetic comedian, deliberately shy, nervous and full of stage-fright, Kaufman would deliberately kill the act to challenge the audience. He would speak in a nonsensical difficult to follow accent and then amidst heckling he would ask his audience if they wanted an impression of Elvis Presley. Of course, at this point Kaufman would do a Presley impersonation that was simply 'top-class', 'spot-on' perfect. In fact, The King himself thought it was the best impression of himself he'd seen. Apart from the Foreign Man, Kaufman also developed the antithetical lounge act singer, Tony Clifton, a has-been singer who would forget the lines to the songs he sung in an off-key voice. Instead of making his guests comfortable, he would heckle them and be abusive. Kaufman would do just about anything to challenge his audience to think about his performance and why they were there, why they were indeed laughing. Kaufman has been called the first performance comedian; he disdained the cheap laugh.

†††† Jim Carrey's performance as Andy Kaufman is brilliant. In my opinion, it's hard to understand why the Academy of Motion Picture and Sciences declined to nominate him for an Academy Award for Best Acting performance for this role, especially as the role won him his second consecutive Golden Globe (the first globe was for The Truman Show). Carrey manages to convey everything that is both fascinating and annoying about Andy Kaufman the comedian and the man. His portrayal makes you understand why he was voted off Saturday Night Live in 1982, despite having been a regular host and guest since first appearing on the show on its debut in 1975. Carrey is also great as Kaufman's alter-ego, Tony Clifton.

†††† Man on the Moon was first dreamed up as a project when Michael Douglas had a birthday and naturally invited his One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest cast and crew (Douglas was the producer for the film), including Danny De Vito (actor) and Milos Forman (director). Forman and De Vito discussed Kaufman, who had worked with De Vito on the sitcom Taxi and soon Forman's scriptwriters from his previous biopic, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski got to work on the script which was difficult to do because of the need to balance Kaufman's memorable performances with his off-screen persona.

†††† The film starts by stating that the facts have been 'embellished', so what we get is really a biography; we don't get to see the inner-workings of Kaufman or the supporting characters in the film such as Bob Zmuda, played by Paul Giamatti. The film will leave you wondering whether you liked it or hated it, and that's really Kaufman's trademark. My personal feelings are ambivalent; I didnít dislike the film, but neither did I think it was great. At least the film, carried by Jim Carrey's great acting performance, made me think, and I know that is what Andy Kaufman would have wanted.

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Transfer Quality


†††† This release by Icon is identical to the previous version of the film on DVD by Magna Home Entertainment in 2000. The aspect ratio is 2:35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

†††† The average bitrate is standard at 5.2 m/b per sec. The film does not stand out in terms of its transfer, it has some slight film grain, but the image is serviceable. Colour is neither brightened nor dulled, although the blacks are rendered well.

†††† There were no MPEG Artefacts. Sometimes the blacks in scenes have instances of low level noise which manifests itself as MPEG macro-blocking artefacts.

†††† Unfortunately, there are no subtitles provided with this release; then again, there weren't any on the previous release of the film in 2000 either.

†††† The RSDL change occurs right in the middle of a scene at 92:19 it is very noticeable. This is an example of poor DVD authoring to allow a layer change on the main presentation to occur like this.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


†††† There is only one main soundtrack included, a Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at 448 kbps.

†††† Dialogue is clear and the audio is synchronised.

†††† The soundtrack is by R.E.M., who provide two of their songs Man On The Moon and The Great Beyond. The film is primarily dialogue-driven, the music soundtrack does not play much of a part.

†††† Surround channel usage is minimal, mainly confined to the front speakers. The audio mix will make your subwoofer rest for the night.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Audio

†††† The main menu plays with R.E.M.'s songs played in the background.

Spotlight On Location (19:04)

†††† This extra is a 'Making-of' featurette, presented in a full-frame transfer, not 16x9 enhanced. It includes interviews with Jim Carrey, Danny De Vito, Paul Giamatti, director Milos Forman, producer Stacey Sher, Bob Zmuda and Kaufman's girlfriend.

Deleted Scenes (12:36)

†††† Six deleted scenes are included. The most important ones are Kaufman's fake neck injury, Kaufman and Zmuda deliberately sabotaging their act and an extended scene of Tony Clifton's lounge act. This extra is presented in a full-frame transfer, not 16x9 enhanced.

Music Videos

†††† These are the R.E.M video clips of Man on the Moon and The Great Beyond. Man on the Moon was from 1992's Automatic for the People, while The Great Beyond was written for the film soundtrack in 1999 and it became R.E.M.'s highest chart success at No.3 in the United Kingdom.

Biographies - Andy

†††† This is an on-screen text featurette which discusses Andy Kaufman's life in greater detail.

Theatrical Trailer (2:25)

†††† The original trailer is again presented in a full-frame transfer, not 16x9 enhanced.

Production Notes

†††† This is another on-screen text featurette which looks at the beginning of the idea for the film, the script-writing process, casting and principal photography.

Cast & Filmmakers Biographies

†††† This is a still image which shows the main cast and crew of the film. This type of extra was popular on DVD's in the late 1990s/early 2000s.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

†††† Man on the Moon has been released in various language dubs in Region 1 (United States) and in Region 2 (France, Germany, Italy and Scandinavia). All these releases include the same extras, except that the Region 1 US release includes an additional DTS soundtrack which is a bit of a waste for a dialogue-driven film such as this one.


†††† With the release of Man on the Moon by Icon in November, 2009 the film is no longer out-of-print. There is absolutely no difference between this version of the film on DVD and the Magna Pacific release from November, 2000. Perhaps a Blu-ray release of the film will add new extras in the future.

Ratings (out of 5)


© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

Other Reviews NONE
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Magna edition -