Tom DiCillo's love-go-round stars Matthew Modine and Catherine Keener as an unmarried, New York City couple whose relationship has stalled: should they get married? Have a kid? What's certain is that Modine's character, ... more »Joe, is an aspiring actor with no prospects and Keener's character, Mary, is a photographer's assistant with little joy. Joe leads us to Bob (Maxwell Caulfield), a soap opera star on a fetishistic search for a non-bottle blonde. Bob's quest is briefly satisfied by a costar (Daryl Hannah), but it is another lover, a model named Sahara (Bridgette Wilson), for whom he may have repressed feelings beneath his gruff exterior. Sahara, a favorite subject for Mary's shutterbug employer (Marlo Thomas), brings us full circle to Joe's girl again. The net portrait is of a couple of men who burn up a lot of energy diverting true passion toward junk causes (Bob's Freudian hang-up, Joe's knee-jerk politics) and a couple of women who struggle to say what they want. Typical of DiCillo, the film has its own internal distractions and strained credibility: is it necessary, for instance, to have every important male in Mary's life betray her with a come-on? But despite such minor problems, The Real Blonde is a rare New York relationship film that is neither twinkly nor cruel. --Tom Keogh« less
Scott FS | Sacramento, CA United States | 01/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Where's this movie been hiding? I've never heard of it until recently.
'The Real Blonde' is a behind-the-scenes look at the bottom rung of the film/television industry. It's a gentle, light-hearted view of various characters who work in a supporting occupation in the acting world, and at actors working, not-working, trying to break in, directing and watching the end result.
Michael Modine stars as Joe, a waiter trying and trying to break into acting. The closest it seems he can come is to act in a Madonna video. It's one frustrating rejection after another. Catherine Keener at her best stars as Joe's long-suffering girlfriend Mary, who isn't sure she's ready for commitment, unsure about Joe's lack of success as an actor, and deals with it by getting really into her self-defense class, and by continuing with her therapy, at least until her therapist turns the table on her, and explores how he really feels about her!
This is an ensemble effort, and several of the other plot lines are equally as good. Maxwell Caulfield plays Bob, a friend of Joe who's elevated himself to star in a really bad soap opera. Daryl Hannah is Kelly, who's also in the soap opera, and the running gag is that she threatens to commit suicide in every episode. Bob's got this obsession to sleep with a 'real blonde'. He's had any number of conquests, but all of the bottle blondes just ain't the real thing. Elizabeth Berkley, Marlo Thomas, Buck Henry, Christopher Lloyd, Kathleen Turner, Denis Leary and Steve Buscemi all make appearances to great effect.
Tom DiCillo, who has directed 'Stranger Than Paradise', 'Living in Oblivion' and 'Box of Moon Light', interesting efforts all, is at the top of his game in 'The Real Blonde'.
I'm not sure why this film has been overlooked. It's a minor gem. Highly recommended. Four and one-half stars.
BLONDE ON BLONDE
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 05/16/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Tom DiCillo's THE REAL BLONDE is a tale about today's american way of life. And there is nothing to be proud of according to this director. Our individual nature is lost among the multiple lies that society produces each day. Nobody knows what's really important and what's only futile entertainment anymore. So the love of a coloured Manhattan woman for a dog seems soon the sole feeling really alive and authentic in the Big Apple.Like in BOX OF MOONLIGHT, director Tom DiCillo precedent movie, the atmosphere is romantic and delicately comic with actors who are obviously pleased to be in the adventure. Nonetheless, I will make the same remark than for BOX OF MOONLIGHT. The cinema of Tom DiCillo is a cinema of metaphors, allegories and symbols and one can easily get tired to look behind each scene for the hidden intentions of the director. But it is also a compliment to DiCillo who writes his own screenplays and so develops personal themes movies after movies. At least, here is a movie director who does have ideas !Audio and video OK for me. A trailer as bonus feature.A DVD for Steve Buscemi."
The Real Blonde is a Really good movie A must see!
SHAWN JAMES | Bronx, NY | 01/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Real Blonde is a real Gem. I missed this one in the theatres but I'm glad I caught it on at home. In the slog of bad, over budgeted, over promoted special effects laden bad movies, The Real Blonde is a true diamond in the rough. It's one of the best movies I've seen in awhile. The Real Blonde is an ensemble movie that focuses on the lives and loves of people struggling to make it in the Film & TV industry in New York. Matthew Modine plays Joe, a 35-year old waiter who works a catering job by day and dreams of starring in a movie. In the face of constant rejection, he refuses to compromise and will only take work in a movie. His friend Bob is tired of struggling and decides to just take a job on a soap opera. (Which like the characters in the movie say isn't acting.) His dream is to fall in love with a "Real Blonde". Modine's girlfriend played by Catherine Keener is a Photographer's assistant is frustrated. There's a reason for her anger, she's unsure of her relationship, and Joe's lack of success. Joe contemplates giving up his dream, but soon after getting the after Bob meets the "Real Blonde" played by Elizabeth Berkley things seem to get better for Joe. Bob gives Joe "Madonna's number" to keep Joe's hope alive. Soon after, Joe gets a job in a Madonna video as a dancer. His girlfriend manages to make progress in a self-defense class she's taken to deal with her anger. Bob juggles a model and his soap co-star (a great Darryl Hannah) pondering which one is a "Real Blonde" while having to deal with the absurdity of fame and Soap opera plots. As the soap story stalls, (brilliant metaphor) so do the lives of our characters. Fired from the video, Joe and his girl are about to break up. Bob's soap character starts getting dull. But when soap star Bob requests that the writers kill the constantly suicidal Blonde in the name of progress co-star of his soap this great movie comes to a satisfying conclusion. All the actors in this ensemble film give great performances. Tom Dicillo's strong direction makes his well-written story so compelling that you want to see it through to the end. His visuals depict life in New York accurately; giving us a sneak peek into the lives of these struggling actors and the behind the scenes look of all the problems they face trying to find work. As a struggling writer I could definitely relate to these characters and their turmoil. Trying to keep a dream alive is harder than working towards the dream itself in these fields. The pain of constant rejection, the pressures of bills, age, and the temptation of giving up a dream for that steady stable job are what all aspiring actors, writers, and producers face. I highly recommend buying this film. It's a great gift for theatre majors, aspiring actors, and screenwriters or anyone who just wants to see a good movie. "
Little known gem of a movie
Dave | San Diego, CA | 02/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I recently pulled this one off the shelf and watched it again; it was actually even better than I remembered it. The plot deals with Joe (Matthew Modine) & Mary (Catherine Keener), a couple who have been together for 6 years, but definitely seem to be having their share of troubles. Joe is a struggling actor who works as a waiter to make some much needed cash; Mary is a makeup/hairstylist who has a few hangups of her own and regularly sees a therapist. During the course of the film, the relationship deteoriates, as Joe's inability to get work as an actor makes him feel inadequate and Mary tires of him being depressed. Along the way there is a subplot about Joe's waiter buddy Bob (Maxwell Caulfield), also an actor, who accepts a role on a soap opera strictly for the money; this is something Joe is initially opposed to, due to artistic integrity. Bob also has a thing for sleeping with blonde women...as long as their blonde is not from a bottle.
Catherine Keener turns in another sterling performance. You believe the tension and problems between her and Matthew Modine's character. They do not seem contrived like so many films, and it is enjoyable to watch the growth of both characters and see how their relationship ends up by the finish of the film (no plot spoiler here...).
There are a number of fantastic cameos in this film; Marlo Thomas is brilliant as a Fashion Photographer who works with Keener's character; Kathleen Turner is also used to good effect as a Casting Director who teaches Modine's character a thing or two about the business; Christopher Lloyd as Ernst, the head waiter and Joe's boss, gives a very touching moment where his typically bitchy character shows some tenderness to Joe; Denis Leary as the self-defense instructor who helps Keener's character deal with some of her anger issues; and Daryl Hannah as Bob's soap opera costar...the film's only "real" blonde. Bridgette Wilson also gives a great performance as the neurotic model who falls head over heels for Caulfield's character.
The only extra on the disc is a theatrical trailer. The picture and sound quality are very good. HIGHLY recommend this little sleeper classic."
A REAL film
Dave | 06/19/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"generally a sleeper at the box office, the real blonde delivers a clever plot, interesting characters, and a humorous script. top-notch acting compliments the aforementioned. buy it!!!!!!"