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on September 15, 2001
Critics (and I guess most audiences) seem to dislike this movie for looking like one kind of movie and yet turning into another and for not deciding whether it wants to be a comedy or a hostage drama. The beauty of the film the many times I have seen it is that it DOES make one both "laugh and cry," or, if not cry, "laugh and care" as though the characters are worth emoting with a little. Why is that bad? I don't know.
The other major criticism is similar, it is that the film should be either about sly carsalesman in a competition for their jobs or it should be about a hostage crisis and not spend the entire exposition setting us up for a car sales competition. Again, that the movie should pick what it is about more clearly, is the critique. This criticism seems thoroughly not to feel with the movie but impose expectations of formula unfairly on a surprising movie. The movie sets up the audience to empathize with the screwed up priorities of its screwed up protagonist (Robin Williams) only to put those priorities and all of his life in perspective with the insurgance of Tim Robbins' character into the situation.
It is a great movie about rediscovering what is important when there is a gun to one's head. AND a really funny comedy, so it is a movie that works both dramatically and comedically and genuinely turns me from a little sleazed by the beginning to feeling a little warm and gooey inside by the end. If only more films moved in that direction, daring to break with formula and introduce genuine drama while still managing to uplift the spirit by the end in a way that feels genuine, maybe we'd have more than one or two comedies worth watching every year.
Plus, Tim Robbins and Robin Williams are perfect in their roles and there's always the pre-nanny Fran Drescher to get a kick out of.
A movie that is definitely worthwile and deserving of the DVD release that it likely will be unthinkingly and unjustly denied.
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on October 14, 2000
Largely unknown and underrated, this film is truly marvelous. It was skewered by critics when it first opened with them calling it "uneven" and "odd." In fact, I hadn't known about it till a friend recommended it to me. When I rented it, I was truly touched. I understood that the film was supposed to be funny, but I can never say I truly laughed. Certainly not because it failed at this, but it is because these "jokes" and "one-liners" are who we are. This film represents the common men of society: hard-working, flawed, and sometimes easily manipulated. It carries out everything about the average joe (like me) so movingly and (oh yes) even powerfully that you don't know what genre this movie belongs in. In my local Blockbuster Video store, it is in the comedy section. In other video rental stores I've been in, it was in drama. Yet this movie belongs in a category of its own: the LIFE category. It is a film about the beauty and downfall of all of us. The cast: Williams, Robbins, and all the gals involved were perfectly cast in their stereotypical roles. It isn't a by-the-numbers cheery little comedy, but it is realistic and, just like in life, shows how we can start out from slapstick and work our way down to being held hostage at gunpoint having our lives on the line.
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on February 27, 2015
This and "Bird Cage" are probably my two favorite movies from Robin Williams. Loved the cast. Nearly every scene was brilliant and funny-right from start when he tries to sell a car to Elaine Stritch.
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on January 24, 2015
I enjoyed watching this and play it a lot. I love the comedy and craziness of Robin Williams! Tim Robbins character was sorta alright but I'm NOT a big fan of his films where his role as an actor really doesn't tickle my fancy! Anyway, good flick to watch!
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on December 3, 2012
I loved this movie when it first came out, but couldn't see it for a long time. It never came on TV (or only rarely). Now that I got it, I figure its limited TV broadcast is related to its colorful language. I told my teenaged son (who doesn't like swearing) this movie has a bit of it, so be forewarned. But I told him it is one of the funniest movies around, so we watched it together. Boy, one of the few movies where 1970s comedy still works with today's youngsters! We were both laughing on the ground. Everyone is just so perfectly cast with dialog that just keeps coming at you. CM has weathered time so well because of Robin Williams characterization and the twists and turns in people's behavior. So easy to relate to so much of the movie. Hope still lives!
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on April 28, 2016
Part of my affinity for Cadillac Man derives from the fact that my father was a used car salesman for many years. He worked for dealership, had his own car lot and worked as a used car wholesaler (buying used trade-ins from one dealer and selling them to another dealer). But my love for this movie is based upon so much more. The key is Robin Williams, who I was a fan of all the way back to when he first exploded on the public consciousness as Mork. My brother and I had Williams’s comedy album “Reality, What a Concept” and I can still recite a few sections from it. Granted, some of William’s later work could be a little flat but in this role he is hitting on all cylinders as the hustling salesman focused more on skirt chasing than his job. With pressures mounting in his personal life and his job on line as his dealership is building for the supper one day sell, William’s shakes and bakes to sell cars and juggle women. When the sale is disrupted by Tom Robbins as a disgruntled husband, a hostage situation results and Williams embarks on a road of cleansing and rebirth. Throughout Williams plays the hustling Joey O’Brian as the super slick sales guru with a smart aleck line but also with a soft heart buried beneath. William’s snarky salesman’s decent and then rebirth is fun ride and it is complimented in many ways. Tim Robbins is fantastic as the goofy Larry, bringing to mind his stellar performance in Bull Durham as Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh. The movie is directed by the very capable Roger Donaldson and he builds the tension and manages the action very well. There is a wide and diverse supporting cast that is stout and many nifty bits of comedy spread throughout. It’s a fun movie and you don’t have to have a family member in the car business to enjoy it.
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on July 25, 2015
I don't think the nay-critics know what they are talking about even more when I read their co-called reviews. Which goes to show the old adage "those who can't do, critique". That being said this movie was genius as a comedy-drama about a hostage situation and I for one would have been proud of writing it. And of course there are many different ways this movie could have unfolded and this is only one perspective of what could have. The comedy of this movie is how a bad situation unfolds from an average Joe as he's put under stress from discovering his wife is having an affair with a co-worker from a car dealership. The funny part of this comedy is from Tim Robbins as his off the cuff per at the moment decision to fight for his wife unfolds and of course shows it was not planned at all. And I've personally worked with Tim Robbins (Cradle Will Rock) and he's very detailed about perspective of the common man hence why his movies ring true for a common man or John Q. Public. Yes this movie is not a heavy handed comedy like (Good Morning Vietnam) where there's laughs a bounding. But it's not supposed to be. But it is funny in its own right.
And now Mr. Williams is no longer with us. And he'll never know what he meant to us who liked him. Not too mention his fans or better.

But I says "GOD bless you Mr. Williams for the time we spent together and the laughs you gave us. GOD bless you."
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on January 11, 2014
Robin William, a true genius, brilliant talent, smart and accomplished was stupid to get into this mess. Don't worry about me revealing spoiler because the whole movie was (still is) a spoiler , a stupid spoiler complete with stupid writing, direction, production, fake-funny flat falsely-advertised as funny. Flatulence in an elevator is not funny and this stinker sans gags is an elevator full of fabricated flat funny-less flat Jokes.

This is the water boarding of humor. Awful.

OF COURSE, this is not the Robin Williams we all love. It's some guy in a Robin suit who is human and maybe had an
agent or studio commitment which seduced him into this boring bag of fetid embarrassing waste of talent and money.

I looked up Roger Donaldson, the director of this meatless turkey', online. I was shocked Cadillac Man wasn't done
ages ago; age corn at best. It was shot (should have been, literally) in 1990. Reading on I saw Donald
was not an American director, but from Australia, maybe an aborigine tribe missing the funny gene.

A summation of the plopped plot: A horny car salesman, divorced (or course) in a failing Cadillac dealership gets tangled
in a lame-brained cuckold's (Tim Robbins) revenge plans in the dealership. Iniitally boring dumb guy setups, it expands to
stupid cops, intrusive media fellow salesmen (all lamely unfunny), panicked customers and increasing unfunniness. All turgidly
flat without redemption. Tedious, corny, dated, dumb. But actually, I didn't care for it at all.

A bomb for Williams to rise above, which he did elegantly. Embarrassing for William, and for me to have bought such lameness.
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on December 30, 2013
I thought the film was terrific. Robin Williams was as usual, brilliant. This was a dark comic gem about a man who loves being a salesman, having to make a sale for his life; and along the way, he discovers it -- his life, that is -- and with it, his humanity. There's rich humor here, pathos, feeling . . . I didn't look at the clock once, never wished the film further along. I note the negative reviews, and it's a good reason sometimes not to let advance reviews spoil your pleasure. Ignore the reviews. If you like Robin Williams, this is a film not to miss.
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This was incredibly well written and performed by two master Oscar winning actors, Robin Williams and Tim Robbins. We open with Williams for awhile because we need to see him struggling. He is over his head in every respect. He is divorced, has several girlfriends, his car sales are way down, he's in debt and about to loose his job. This was a guy who once upon a time could sell ice to eskimos as the old joke goes.

This set up is necessary because as soon as we have this portrait of Joey (Williams), Tim Robbins bursts in on the scene with a shotgun and explosives and is ready to kill everyone at the dealership that day because his wife has been having an affair. Joey who at heart really loves people (the basis of his problem) in a burst of courage recovers his mojo and spends the entire rest of the movie negotiating with Robbins to save everyone. It is their movie from that point on. It is almost as if Williams is doing one of his famous stand up acts but with Robbins as his partner.

From the point that Robbins and Williams come together, it is an absolutely brilliant comedy because it focuses with laser sharpness on the one thing that matters: being able to see the world in perspective. Both of these characters had lost this ability out in the world and now they are going to regain it. Apparently some people do not like this film and I cannot figure out why. I saw it when it first came out and thought it was great. I just watched it again decades later and thought it was great again. Now that Williams is gone, perhaps people will come to finally appreciate the film.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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