Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Monster in a Box The Movie|
Actor: Spalding Gray
Director: Nick Broomfield
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
Legendary monologuist Spalding Gray takes you on an unforgettable and often hilarious journey through the pitfalls of the creative mind in this brilliant follow-up to his critical and audience favorite, Swimming to Cambodi... more »
Similarly Requested DVDs
An American Original
Greg Cleary | Marquette, MI United States | 04/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There was nobody else like Spalding Gray. If you're curious about his work (and you should be), you should start by watching either "Swimming to Cambodia" or this film. They are worth owning, because you will probably want to watch them again and again and show them to your friends. "Monster in a Box" is my favorite. Watching it again recently, I realized that Gray could've been one of the greatest comedians of all time, and he certainly would've earned more money and fame as a comedian, yet it would've been a waste of his talents. He had too much to say about life to confine himself like that. And so he used that rarest of art forms, the autobiographical monologue.
"Monster in a Box" is about a lot of things. It's about the difficulty of writing a long work of prose. (The "Monster" in the title is the manuscript for a book he was working on, which I have read, by the way. The finished work is very good, although not as long as the manuscript.) It's about the film industry. It's about a fact-finding mission to Nicaraugua in the 80s. It's about Gray's fears about his own physical and mental health. It's about a trip to Russia for screenings of "Swimming to Cambodia." It's about Gray's role in a Broadway production of "Our Town." And much more.
But a summary of the content does not capture what this monologue is really about. Gray was an intense person who was trying his best to be true to his nature without being completely miserable. I saw him perform "It's a Slippery Slope" in Eugene, Oregon, in 1995 or' 96, and he was fantastic. He walked out onto the stage, sat down at a table with a glass of water, and talked for about 90 minutes. The audience was riveted. I wish a film version of that monologue was available. Several months later, I was living in Tucson, Arizona, and Gray came to town. He was still doing "Slippery Slope," but the following evening there was a showing of the film version of "Monster in a Box" in which Gray was available afterwards to answer questions from the audience. As I recall, he was humble, entertaining, and funny, and he did not dodge the questions even though some of them were quite personal. I feel lucky to have seen him.
The film version of "Monster in a Box," like his other filmed monologues, has been jazzed up somewhat with music and special effects, which is unnecessary but not too intrusive. I believe this monologue was his career peak. The next one, "Gray's Anatomy," is darker and not as funny, although still well worth seeing. It was very sad to hear of Gray's eventual suicide, but it's a glass half-empty, glass half-full scenario. Mostly I am thankful that he was able to share his experiences so freely with others, so that we could have some laughs and be the wiser for it."
Spaulding Gray is a master story teller and a rare talent.
Greg Cleary | 02/21/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Monster in a Box is another film version of one of Spaulding Gray's monologues, taped live at the Performing Garage, the home of The Wooster Group in New York City. The film captures the feel of the live performance and heightens it with music and close-ups. The "monster" in the box is an autobiography that Mr. Gray has been trying to work on concerning the death of his mother. The monologue details the obstacles, blocks, and epiphinal moments in trying to pen his tome. The monologue also contains many anecdotes about what happened to his life after the success of his first movie, Swimming to Cambodia. It also covers his adventures in Hollywood and his mixed emotions about being the Stage Manager in Thorton Wilder's Our Town at Lincoln Center. Gray is a story teller of rare talent. He's able to probe so far into the complexity of his own life that an audience feels compelled and, ultimately, empathetic. If you enjoyed Swimming to Cambodia or just a good story, Monster in a Box is a great film to see."
I love it.
M. Hardinger | Austin, TX | 01/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a relief. Somebody intelligent on film. No explosions, no car chases. And I was spellbound from start to finish, and laughed so hard I thought my bad eye would pop out. Highly recommended as an antidote to Pokemon and South Park."
M. Hardinger | 02/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Only this guy can do this stuff. It's got hints of performance art but essentially he's just an old fashioned story teller telling modern, intelligent and very funny stories."