Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

2003

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Critics Consensus

Rockwell is spot-on as Barris, and Clooney directs with entertaining style and flair.

79%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 164

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 58,797
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Movie Info

Chuck Barris is best known to most Americans as the guy who used to host The Gong Show. He was also the creator and producer of The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, and a handful of other successful game shows in the 1960s and 1970s. But was he also a hired killer working with the CIA? That's the take-it-or-leave-it premise of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, based on the memoir of the same name by Chuck Barris. Barris (Sam Rockwell) grows up dreaming of success in show biz and winning the hearts of beautiful women, but early on, he meets with plenty of resistance from both women and the television industry, despite writing the hit tune "Palisades Park" and scoring a job with Dick Clark on American Bandstand. The 1960s proves more fortunate for Barris; he meets the love of his life, Penny (Drew Barrymore), and sells ABC on the idea of The Dating Game. However, after the show has made him wealthy and successful, Barris is approached by the mysterious Jim Byrd (George Clooney), a CIA agent who wants to recruit Barris as a covert operative. Barris finds the notion of playing spy games intriguing and agrees, but soon discovers what Byrd and his partners really want is for Barris to assassinate uncooperative figures around the world. Soon, Barris finds that his life has been all but taken over by Byrd and another CIA agent, the mysterious and sexy Patricia (Julia Roberts). As he hops the globe, killing people in the name of American security (using his status as a Dating Game chaperone as a cover), Barris learns that the KGB has discovered his not-so-little secret and that his own life is in great danger. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind marked the directorial debut of actor George Clooney, working from a screenplay adapted by Charlie Kaufman from Barris' book. Dick Clark, Dating Game host Jim Lange, frequent Gong Show panelist Jaye P. Morgan, and Gene Gene Patton appear as themselves. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast

Sam Rockwell
as Chuck Barris
Julia Roberts
as Patricia
Jerry Weintraub
as Larry Goldberg
David Julian Hirsh
as Freddy `Boom Boom' Cannon
Frank Fontaine
as ABC Executive
Rachelle Lefevre
as Tuvia (age 25)
Chelsea Ceci
as Tuvia (age 8)
Michael Cera
as Chuck (age 8 and 11)
Michelle Sweeney
as Housekeeper
Aimee Rose Ambroziak
as Chuck's Date No.1
Isabelle Blais
as Chuck's Date No.2
Melissa Carter
as Chuck's Date No.3
Artie Lange
as Bellboy
Barbara Bacci
as Woman In Veil
Janet Lane
as Blonde Bachelorette
Shaun Balbar
as Beanpole Bachelor
Jeff Lefebvre
as Frizzy Haired Bachelor
Michael Filipowich
as Handsome Bachelor
John Todd Anderson
as Stud Bachelor
Samantha Banton
as Black Bachelorette
Christian Paul
as Black Bachelor
Steve Adams
as `Dating Game' Director
Maria Bertrand
as Stud Bachelorette
Brad Pitt
as Bachelor Brad
Matt Damon
as Bachelor Matt
Marie-Ève Bertrand
as Stud Bachelorette
Marlida Ferreira
as Woman In Pub
Michael Ensign
as Simon Oliver
Martin Kevan
as Chuck's Father
Claudia Besso
as Chuck's Mother
Isabelle Juneau
as Amana Girl
Nathalie Morin
as Bachelorette Winner
Tony Zanca
as Bachelor Winner
Sergei Prisselkow
as Shaving Man
Norman Roy
as Colbert
Marlene Fisher
as Casting Executive Woman
Richard Kind
as Casting Executive Man
Suyun Kim
as Asian Folksinger No.1
Ilona Elkin
as Georgia's Girlfriend
Shulan Noma
as Asian Folksinger No.2
Andre Minicozzi
as Gong Show Band
Richard Beaudet
as Gong Show Band
Ron Di Lauro
as Gong Show Band
Peter N. Wilson
as Gong Show Band
Bruce Pepper
as Gong Show Band
Francois St. Pierre
as Gong Show Band
Cheryle Murphy
as Little Person
Krista Allen
as Pretty Woman
George Randolph
as Gene Gene the Dancing Machine
Tanya Anthony
as Prostitute
Keshav Patel
as Elvis Singer
James Urbaniak
as Rod Flexner
Cheryl Murphy
as Little Person
Leslie Cottle
as L.A. Bar Woman
Dino Tosques
as L.A. Bartender
Joe Cobden
as Unknown Comic
Christiane Paul
as Black Bachelor
Tommy Hinkley
as Hambone Man
Sergei Priselkov
as Shaving Man
Andrée-Anne Quesnel
as Gong Show Model
Bill Corday
as Justice of the Peace
Chuck Barris
as Himself
Dick Clark
as Himself
Gene Gene Patton
as Gene Gene the Dancing Machine
Jim Lange
as Himself
Murray Langston
as Unknown Comic
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Critic Reviews for Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

All Critics (164) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (129) | Rotten (35)

Audience Reviews for Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

  • May 10, 2015
    Capturing the inherent tragedy and intrigue of the controversial autobiography, A Dangerous Mind is an adaptation worthy of watching. Directed by George Clooney, the film has a distinctive feel, almost surreal in parts, capturing the apparent erratic and strangely brilliant nature of its subject, TV producer and purported CIA assassin Chuck Barris. Starring Sam Rockwell, his performance envelopes the screen and the Barris persona. Liberties are taken, to be sure, but the heart of what the book was trying to get across was captured. Once more, the Clooney film added to the story what was otherwise missing--relatable relationship dynamics and even greater drama. Especially effective was the cut-ins with real-life interviews. 4/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 01, 2013
    Sam Rockwell has a way with flawed anti-heroes and his performance in "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" is a prime example of that. Directed by and starring George Clooney, "Confessions" follows the autobiographical (and somewhat contested) true-to-life story of Chuck Barris, best known for developing the concept for The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game. Where Barris' life comes into question is whether or not he was secretly a CIA agent on the side of being a television producer and songwriter. The film unfolds this story, with Rockwell playing Barris, right before our eyes, mixing in real life interviews with people that knew Barris, like Dick Clark and Dating Game host Jim Lange. Written by the ethereal Charlie Kaufman, working off the real life memoir of Chuck Barris, "Confessions" spans most of one man's entire adult life and speaks with such a distinct tongue that will not soon be forgotten. Drew Barrymore and Julia Roberts offer delicate performances, bringing to life these somewhat unbelievable women with a grace that forces you to take them seriously. You look forward to Barrymore's presence, as she garners a strong presence and strong sexuality that radiates in every scene. Rockwell, however, is the enigmatic force of the film that creates both a congenial and melancholy presence all at the same time. He's a playboy, but a drifter, a cold blooded killer yet an enthusiastic game show host. Rockwell covers all these bases with ease and constantly impresses. Whether or not the real life Chuck Barris is speaking the truth does not change the fact that his life makes for an entertaining jaunt in "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" and Clooney does an expert job at delivering this eccentric story to the big screen.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer
  • Feb 14, 2013
    Jim Byrd: You're an assassination enthusiast, a murder buff. "Some Things Are Better Left Top Secret" Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is an altogether interesting film from all angles. There's the life of Chuck Barris aspect, which is the story of the film, and if the CIA connection is actually true or not. Then there's the technical elements. It's George Clooney's directorial debut and it's written by Charlie Kauffman. There's also the great cast, including: Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, George Clooney, and Julia Roberts. Overall, it's a fairly good movie, but in that sense it is also disappointing because I believe, given the source material and names attached, it should have been a lot better. This biographical film follows Chuck Barris as he works his way into television by coming up with game show ideas like, The Dating Game. In enters, Jim Byrd, who approaches Chuck about becoming an independent contract killer for the CIA right before he hits it big with his first game show. From their we see the supposed double life of Chuck Barris. On the surface he's just a trash television personality, but behind the scenes he's a lethal assassin.  At the end of this one I was left wondering what could have been. The movie is extremely messy in spots and some scenes just don't work at all. Then there's the scenes that are just about perfect also. If only Clooney, Kauffman, and the cast could have found a happy medium between the absurd and the serious, this would have been a much better film. As it is, this is still a pretty good film. It's far from perfect and suffers from a variety of problems, but it's altogether entertaining and interesting. It's worth a watch for more than the fact that it's Clooney's directorial debut and a Kauffman script. 
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 24, 2012
    George Clooney clearly had fun directing this movie, as there are all sorts of neat-looking details going on. Unfortunately, Charlie Kaufman's least daring script tries to sculpt the story into the usual psyche-study with unsubtle philosophical subtexts, but those elements sort of just flail around, leaving audiences with nothing much more than a wacky, slick-looking drama/thriller thing with a talented but underutilized cast, and not enough substance to complement the style.
    Sam B Super Reviewer

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