I'm from Hollywood (Special Edition) – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Director

Joe Orr
Lynn Margulies

Cast

Andy Kaufman ………. Himself
Jerry Lawler ………. Himself
Tony Danza ………. Himself
Jimmy Hart ………. Himself
Marilu Henner ………. Herself
Robin Williams ………. Himself
Bob Zmuda ………. Himself

The Movie

It was a move that essentially ruined his television career and would lead to immortality to its avante garde nature, Andy Kaufman’s foray into professional wrestling has been immortalized in many documentaries as well as the biopic Man on the Moon. Now Legend House has released a DVD with their documentary on the subject I’m From Hollywood.

Following a brief aside into his early career and then into the moment he decided to jump into the Mid-South Coliseum and start challenging women, there was Andy Kaufman and his wrestling bit. Being a very thin man, challenging men would be something he’d be ill-equipped for. Seizing upon the idea of the old carnival days of professional wrestling, where the locals would get challenged by the professional working crew, Kaufman seized upon the idea and challenged women since they would be an easier match than men. The stunt and the following angle that ran in Memphis made Jerry Lawler a household name ever since and has remained the signature moment of Kaufman’s infamous career.

Broken into two parts, I’m From Hollywood and Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee, the film takes the original archival footage (including several newscasts from Lawler’s pile-driver incident) and lets us follow the chapter in Kaufman’s life through all the archival footage. It’s a fascinating look at the events, showing Kaufman’s bad guy act as being ludicrous and somehow effective for the time.

It’s interesting to hear interviews from his Taxi contemporaries after this in how he completely threw away his career by taking it so far; it’s hard to hear guys like Robin Williams, Marilu Henner and Tony Danza talk about Kaufman needing money and their responses are akin to him if he was a drug addict requesting money to get another fix. It’s sad, in a way, as we see Kaufman throwing away his career for an obsession to be a professional wrestler. Hearing Lawler and the rest speak about the situation, shown through archival footage as well as interviews after the fact, is pretty revealing about the situation. While they don’t do the “big reveal,” which is that Lawler was in on it the entire time, they show the extended angle with Lawler including Kaufman overstaying his welcome and having to act as if he was a big star when in reality his fame had diminished significantly.

It’s a fascinating watch at a man living his dream and destroying his career in the process. While years of retrospect have allowed us to see how creative and avant garde it was, Kaufman’s career went into the drain because of it and never came back. I’m from Hollywood is a time capsule into a period of time remembered a lot differently than it actually happened.

A/V QUALITY CONTROL

Presented in a full screen format with a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, the film is a compilation of amateur interviews and archival footage. The film has definitely aged, looking its age with a lot of grain on it. The film’s sound is in a Dolby 2.0, which on 5.0 or higher system will come mainly through the center speaker, and is decent but is nothing spectacular.

The Extras

We get a collection of letters Kaufman received challenging him to a wrestling match. It’s interesting to see the pictures and letters, as it’s almost a time machine to the sorts of people who’d be applicants to daytime shows hosted by Maury Povich, et al.

Commentary from Margulies and Kaufman’s best friend & writer Bob Zmuda

There’s also a preview for other titles from Legend House, mainly grindhouse and adult flicks.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for I’m From Hollywood
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

9.0
THE VIDEO

6.5
THE AUDIO

5.5
THE EXTRAS

2.0
REPLAY VALUE

7.5
OVERALL
7.0
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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