There is currently a documentary, Jim & Andy, on Netflix about the time when Jim Carrey played Andy Kaufman in the movie Man on the Moon. It is uncomfortably fascinating.
Back in the 90’s Milos Foreman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) directed this film about the life of comedian and entertainer Any Kaufman and he cast Jim Carrey to play Kaufman or so he thought.
The documentary opens up with a civil war bearded Jim Carrey reflecting on this time in his life and letting us know that it wasn’t long before the spirit of Andy Kaufman reached out to Jim and told him that he was going to take over and Jim could sit this one out.
This is were the fun begins, at least for the viewer. Those who were working on the film would probably argue otherwise. Carrey became Andy Kaufman and while on set never broke character.
He went all method actor on this project. (Technically it isn’t method acting, or the method, but people think that’s what method acting is.)
I won’t spoil anything for you but I will tell you that this film is 2 hours of glorious uncomfortable fun. Watching people who knew Andy watching Jim be Andy is a perfect way to spend an evening. It’s captivating and awkward and entertaining all in one.
Other than the train wreck which is on the surface, deeper questions arise. Who is the real Jim Carrey? What masks do we wear when pursuing success? What is our real mask? In order for one to be successful, does the other have to disappear?
As we follow Jim’s journey as Andy Kaufman the film also explores other moments in his career that parallel the choices he’s making as Andy, while cutting to Jim talking in the present as he reflects on that experience. Some of Carrey’s insights while reflecting are moving and some are fatalistic, but all of it is mesmerizing. You can’t turn away.
I totally recommend you watch Jim and Andy on Netflix. Love it or hate it, you’ll talk about it and you won’t forget it.