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Monster in a Box: The Movie (1992)

Spalding Gray , Nick Broomfield  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Spalding Gray
  • Directors: Nick Broomfield
  • Writers: Spalding Gray
  • Producers: Jon Blair, Norman I. Cohen, Renée Shafransky
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 28, 2006
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000I2J72C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,500 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Monster in a Box: The Movie" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

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 Cambodia. Interacting with his audience and backed by a score from Laurie Anderson, Gray recounts the story of his attempts to write a manuscript and the bizarre tangents his everyday life and creative persona underwent in the process.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Original April 15, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it. January 9, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unique February 14, 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-See for anyone with a sense of humor July 20, 2006
Format:VHS Tape
I recently viewed this movie on IFC (cable). It was the next show after one I'd just finished watching, and if I'd know before hand that the whole thing was a monologue, I probably would never have watched. From the first minute of the performance, I was glued to my seat. Unlike myself, if you're purchasing the movie, you'll have the "pause" option on your remote if you need to break, but you'll never want to use it. There will be at least one of his stories that everyone has experienced at one time or another, and can relate and laugh hysterically. Through the whole performance, right up to the end, you want more. The only disappointment is that it had to end. Very highly recommend to anyone with an intelligent sense of humor.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and sad January 29, 2004
By Sammy
Format:VHS Tape
This film seems to mean so much more now that poor Spaulding is either dead or... he certainly is missing. The seamless transitions are classic in this 90 minute trail through the incredible mind of Mr. Gray. His HBO excursions, Stage Manager of 'Our Town,' going with his confidante Renee on the fact finding mission to Nicaragua while trying so hard not to let anyone know that he is a spy, but not for the CIA!! Do I have AIDS? etc. This is the ultimate monologue. You'll love his New England demeanor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Personal Saga February 5, 2001
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
I agree with a previous reviewer that the directing (lighting, music and camera angles) are a little more obtrusive in this than they were in Swimming to Cambodia but they settle down toward the middle and become hardly noticeable (as they should be).
Mr. Gray gives a fantastic performance again with what seems to me to be a very personal saga. It is a story within a story within a story. He centers around the writing of this novel which becomes "the monster". It is a fictional work that one eventually surmises is not fictional at all but a loosely based retelling of his relationship with his mother and her suicide while he was away and unable to intervene. Like I said - very personal. But there are all of these interruptions and these side trips - from a writer's retreatin New Hampshire to Los Angeles to South America to Russia to New York - each interesting and entertaining. And - somehow - they all end up back up at some center point. The book? Yes, but no.
Check it out. You won't be sorry.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A monologue that I couldn't quit watching or stop laughing.
This is ageless comedy. I'm still awake at 3:00 AM, because I laughed so hard I'm wired. Every so often I had to pause the disk so I wouldn't miss his words as I was laughing... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Victoria Tarrani
5.0 out of 5 stars Miss Him
Great movie from a very enthralling mind. Saw him a couple of times and was mesmerized but his story telling ability. We lost an odd and brilliant duck.
Published 8 months ago by Michael Rizzo
5.0 out of 5 stars A Monster of Introspection
Dr. Gray is gone, but his twisted, hilarious therapy-in-a-box performances live on. It's hard not to become wired and anxious as he relates this tale, but like a good crash, it's... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Dr. Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars for gray's fans, the most telling of his films....virtually a suicide...
this film could have been SG's suicide note but years in advance of his jumping off the staten island ferry in winter to his death in 2004. Read more
Published 20 months ago by carol irvin
5.0 out of 5 stars "Monster In A Box"
After reading "The Journals of Spalding Gray," I decided to revisit his monologues with a fresh perspective. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Gareth L. Avelle
2.0 out of 5 stars Lose Laurie!
Just saw this on DVR (taped off cable) and was appalled at how intrusive the soundtrack is. Spalding Gray doesn't need a soundtrack, never mind one that is as... Read more
Published on December 14, 2009 by Criterion Collector
1.0 out of 5 stars Er, not really..
I thought Swimming To Cambodia was amazing when I first watched it. This doesn't even come close though. Unless you are his no.1 fan I would give it a miss.
Published on January 13, 2008 by M. Rees
5.0 out of 5 stars Spalding Gray is Nothing Less Than a Genius
The MONSTER IN A BOX is Spalding Gray's thousand-plus page manuscript he struggled to complete. It provides the framework/infrastructure for this moving and hilarious monologue. Read more
Published on August 10, 2007 by Joel Herskowitz
5.0 out of 5 stars Monster in a Box
Brilliant, hilarious, my all-time favroite Spalding Gray work. When can we have it on DVD?
Published on June 27, 2004 by Regina A. Thatcher
4.0 out of 5 stars Treasure in a Box
I just saw this piece screened at a local film festival. I'm not ashamed to say I was blown away! It felt like I was sitting with Spalding and a few close friends just listening... Read more
Published on June 12, 2004
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