on April 16, 2003
what a pleasure to find this is in print again.
ages ago i searched high and low and found a sticky
old rental to buy and now can finally replace it with a nice new one. sad it isnt out on dvd.
the best of everybody in this little treat too...teen jodie foster at her adolescent peak, wolf-eyed meg foster in one of the few movie roles i actually liked of her...the best gary busey ever had to give, a choice acting performance by musician robbie robertson,
and a positive and a delightful assortment of circus [employees] that make this movie both sleazy and sensitive, funny and moving, and gives the feeling of being let in on a dark and daring secret world.
on April 23, 2002
This is my favorite Jodie Foster flick. There's something very sexy and mysterious about living life on Carny Row. Jodie Foster plays a really gutsy girl (not an unusual role for her!). She's incredible! This film also has my favorite lezzie-tease scene...!
Gary Busey is also VERY good in this film...certainly a career high-light for him, in my opinion....
on August 15, 2006
This is a highly atmospheric trip through Carnival life. I wish that the relationship between Frankie and Patch had been fleshed out more to show how they entered their peculiar double-act, but a fascinating double-act it is. Robbie Robertson isn't so much an actor, more he is a tantalising presence - broodingly sexual in contrast with Busey's lecherous attitude. Jodie Foster gave a surprisingly mature performance. I've never seen Taxi Driver, so for me the effect of seeing Donna's Baptism by Fire into Carny life was chilling and powerful. This VHS is let down by the muddy audio - the DVD issue can't come soon enough! But overall, this movie is watchable. It's heartening that Robbie Robertson brought some real knowledge of Carny life from his teens. It's hard not to swoon at him though! Good film.
on September 9, 2006
I was born the same year as Jodie Foster. I remember seeing her in various commercials, TV shows and movies as I was growing up. She was the unofficial poster child for single parent families and independent, if somewhat dysfunctional children. This film was made just as the 70's were ending and the 80's were starting. I remember these days, the Carnival, what it was like. One could learn a lot on the midway. That when things look too good to be true they were, like the shiny switchblade knife that one could win, "aren't they illegal" I asked, "illegal is a sick bird". I will never know if the knife worked, one could not win it, it was fixed. Freak shows and hoochy coochy dancers, people trying to make a living, or people being exploited? Who could say? Those who knew best decided to clean up the midway, but can anyone tell me if there is less exploitation, cheating, and dirty dealing without the midway? I lost some money but I got an education that saved me more money in the long run, that's gone now and the world is worse for it. By far and away the star of the show is the 17-year young Jodie Foster, the little girl who was in the Disney films had come of age, oh how she came of age! Her dancehall outfit is a classic that will never be repeated, as was the girl/women inside it just like the rest of us, she was growing up. The film is well paced, perfectly cast (they simply took a real carnival and shot there), and all too believable, you don't need to make up characters like Donna, Bozo, Gary Busey in his best role ever and Robbie Robinson as the low level manager who collects money and keeps "rubes" in line with his trusty straight razor, there was a kind of justice there that one does not see anywhere else, another world where different rules apply. A place for the disenfranchised, the ugly and the beautiful, in one unforgettable scene, the "fat Lady" stands alone in the rain, relishing her chance to take an all over shower. Such simple images say so much. Like all classics, it becomes more poignant with age. Of all of Busy's and Fosters films, none were better or more telling then this, and of all the Characters Jodie Foster has played before or since, none is more important, none is better. It's a shame that other of Ms. Fosters films that don't come close to this, Svengali, Blood of Others, etc have been made into DVD, but this gem sits and waits, perhaps it is an irony that the prize we see behind the counter is the one we cannot win.
on July 1, 2015
This is one of the only films in existence that truly depicts the Carny as he/she was during the 50's and 60's. Why the
DVD release took so long is still a mystery to me.
Gary Busey and a young Jodie Foster are the mainstays of this film. Foster is beginning to show the talent that will shine
in later films. Part coming-of-age chronicle, part road movie, Carny is memorable for Jodie Foster's sexy, intelligent heroine
and the pivotal influence of costar, co writer, and producer Robbie Robertson. Robertson is Patch, a carny veteran whose
de facto partner is the leering, cruel Frankie (Gary Busey), an abusive clown, and the film lingers on the tawdry and
menacing world behind the carny's garish public spaces. When the young, self-confident Donna (Foster) shows up and
joins the troupe, the bonds between Patch and Frankie are strained. Donna's walk on the wild side brings her in intimate,
sometimes dangerous proximity to the freaks and lowlifes that populate this world, which the writers and director Robert Kaylor
savor for its atmosphere of outsider surrealism.
Foster acquits herself wonderfully, making this a revealing step between the prematurely hardened nymphet of Taxi Driver and
the actress's first truly adult roles, soon to follow. Busey and Robertson fare less well, their work long on mannerism but ultimately
cryptic to a fault. Like the movie itself, they transmit a cynicism that seems hollow without more real insight into how they came
to inhabit this netherworld, and why they can't escape it.
on November 4, 2015
I like Robbie Robertson and Jodie Foster in this film, but the film quality was very suspicious -- very grainy with lots of white dots and blips and overall very dark. It's as if someone bootlegged it, making copies by setting up a video cam in front of their TV/DVD player or using a DVD copy machine to produce copies of this movie to distribute. I'm not saying that's what was done here; I'm just saying that is how the video quality appears. Disappointing quality.
on July 2, 2006
As of July 2006, Carny is not yet available on DVD, but get it when it appears. Foster, Robertson and Busey are fascinating in this little-known gem. And the music includes some incredible stuff. (Some numbers have been cut on commercial tv airings, which is a shame. Pray that the eventual DVD release is complete.)
on March 2, 2015
This DVD is dark and edgy, and as vital now as it was when it came out. The stars do a great job portraying what the life of Carneys must be like. Jodie Foster did her usual stellar job, Gary Busey is at his turf-gobbling height, and rocker Robbie Robertson stole the show in, as far as I know, his only movie headliner performance.
on October 2, 2003
While reviewing some old tapes I was considering getting rid of in a yard sale, I found I was able to run my own little early-Jodie Foster film festival. Well, a mini-festival anyway, since I stumbled on this one and FOXES. And after, reviewing both, I'd have to concur with all those who find her early films quirky, entertaining and intriguing--but flawed as all get-out.
CARNY is an atmospheric flick, one that captures the carnival milieu pretty well. The acting is solid, with Jodie as the obvious stand-out. Gary Busey and Robbie Robertson are also quite good, but their roles could use a bit of fleshing out. As could the plot overall. The film meanders along until someone decided to up the ante in the last twenty minutes. The last ditch effort to end the film with a somewhat muted bang pretty much falls flat. Probably, the film would have worked better strictly as the mood piece and character study it started out to be.
But CARNY is still well worth your time. As an unromanticized look into the world of traveling carnivals, it's pretty effective. The three stars show a kind of promise that only Jodie Foster actually ever began to realize. Robertson pretty much dropped out of acting after this not inauspicious debut, sad to say. And the effect of Gary Busey's turbulent private life on his career has been fairly well documented. Come to think of it, even Jodie Foster's career hasn't been all it could be--lots of interesting films, not that many great ones. With CARNY, that pattern was already emerging.
on September 6, 2013
As a young boy,in Kentucky i used to go to the carnival every year and look forward to its coming.I ordered this movie because i wanted to bring back memories of my youth,i worked with carnival people tearing it down and putting it up.I never travel with them though but always had fantasies of running away from home and joining them.This is a real to life movie that is well made and keeps you interested all through the movie.The carnival was called the mighty blue grass shows and is still around today an was started in Owensboro Kentucky.Although this is not about the Blue grass Shows,it brought back memories.I gave this movie 5 stars,i loved it.