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Real Life (1979)

Albert Brooks , Barbara DeZonia  |  PG |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Albert Brooks, Barbara DeZonia, Dudley DeZonia, Clifford Einstein, Harry Einstein
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: February 13, 2001
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000055Z4H
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,361 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Real Life" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In his directorial debut, Albert Brooks (The Muse, Mother) brings his special brand of madness to the screen in Real Life. A precursor to the reality based TV shows which have become part of America's pop culture, Brooks' film presents a hilarious account of what happens to a typical American family when a group of filmmakers moves in with them to record real life. Brooks heads up the crew that invades the Phoenix household of Charles Grodin, Frances Lee McCain and their children. The results are disastrous - and hysterically funny.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Released in 1979 and Really Prophetic About 2001 June 15, 2001
Writer-director-comic actor Albert Brooks has done consistently solid work since this film but it remains his very best. It is a parody, astonishingly enough, of TODAY'S work on tv yet he made this film in 1979! Tv today is parlaying extensive money out of real life situations, whether based on survival or marrying millionaires or some other new trend of the day. These are big reasons why I don't watch tv anymore. If you are unfamiliar with Brooks, who also plays the "auteur" director in the film, you must understand two things about him. One, he always plays obnoxious characters and this is perhaps his most obnoxious ever. Two, he is absolutely merciless on portraying himself as obnoxious. His delivery is straight on and deadpan and totally works. Brooks's character does not have an iota of real self awareness and this too is typical of the roles he creates for himself in all of his films.

This is Brooks's satiric look at a documentary purportedly capturing a year in the life of a typical American family. Charles Grodin, low key as usual, is fantastic as Warren Yeager, the Phoenix, Arizona, veterinarian who is largely passive and ineffectual. He, his wife and two children are easily overwhelmed by the callous Brooks as auteur. There are so many delights to this film that it is hard to name them all so here are just a few.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
As a (comparative) young'n, I first experienced Albert Brooks through his movie Defending Your Life, which I adored for years (still do). I checked out each movie after that ("Mother" and "The Muse") with equal glee. Having finally checked out his previous films, I was amazed to find that "Real Life" and especially "Modern Romance" are rather different beasts from the inventive but largely harmless later works. Brooks in his prime is not just a brilliant satirist, but a master of the goulishly uncomfortable situation!
Observe the palpable fear given off by Charles Grodin as he tries to dissuade Brooks from showing the footage of him losing one of his patients (he's a veterinarian, so he loses a horse. Big animals are funnier than little ones.) on the table due to his error. Or check out the "put your couch pillow over your face and scream silently" scene in "Modern Romance" where Albert calls a random woman in his roladex, having just broken up with his on-again, off-again girlfriend. Of course, the uncomfortable nature of the scene is intensified by the fact that Albert has just taken two quaaludes before making the call. Watch him confess his love to a woman who he later admits, "I'm not QUITE sure who she is or where I know her from." Wow! A long way from the clever but unassuming takes on the afterlife and the misadventures of a greek muse in the 20th century. The closest he's come in recent films is "Mother," which I had the mis/fortune of seeing with my own mother! What a relief that my own laughs of recognition were covered up by hers, as she related all of the matronly satire to her own mom!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This film was a satire on a (mostly forgotten) documentary about the Loud family, in which they followed the family through every facet of their lives. Brooks takes that idea and runs with it to the extreme degree. To a degree that it goes past ridiculous, never losing site of funny, mind you, and ends up in prophetic.
Everything he says in this film rings true for todays reality TV craze. If you were told this was made this year, you'd believe it.
This is very likely Albert (Einstein; no really, look it up) Brooks' best film, as a writer, actor, or anything. It is wholly his vision and style of comedy. The film is played dead straight, from the talk about the laborious selection process, to the technical details about the special cameras worn over the cameraman's head, giving them an eerie Big-Brother look. ("Only five were made, only three worked...we have two of those.")
He tracks this family for a year, slowly but surely making their lives an emotional hell, just by being there to watch it. The act of observing an experiment changes the parameters of the experiment, or so the scientific tenet goes. This whole film is an analysis of that theory, as seen through google-eyed glasses.
The Truman Show and EdTV beat Television to the punch by about six months, making a film that was just a hair more ridiculous than what TV was doing. The recently released film Series 7-The Contenders tries to parody the genre as it exists now, and does it well. Brooks did this film TWENTY TWO YEARS AGO. Just let that bounce around your head. Then realize that you have very likely never seen the best satire of today's television ever.
Vinnie, wearing a clown suit and holding a gas can.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Just classic
Published 29 days ago by Gordon Adam
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by joseph g. tangel
4.0 out of 5 stars Albert Brooks Looks to Film REAL LIFE
Very funny precursor to today's reality television has writer-director Albert Brooks (making his directorial debut) essentially playing himself, a filmmaker who decides to film one... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Eric
4.0 out of 5 stars So modern
This movie is prescient and funny. Super modern, great cast and doesn't skip a beat. You will enjoy this with all age family members!
Published 6 months ago by Diana Lewallen
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible!
This might be the most absolute worst movie I've ever seen. It was annoying! Had to give a star to write a review ;(
Published 8 months ago by lindaindia
3.0 out of 5 stars Amusing, but not up to expectations
I bought this because I heard a movie critic call it his favorite movie. I am an Albert Brooks fan, but I found this to be dated (ala old SNL shorts that he made). Read more
Published 9 months ago by bptr
5.0 out of 5 stars The ORIGINAL "reality" programming concept
Albert Brooks was way, way, way ahead of his time when he created this awesomely satirical and funny feature film way back in 1979. It is non-stop brilliance all the way through. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Quality Control
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible
This is the worst Albert Brooks movie I've every seen. I usually love his movies but this one falls short.
Published 15 months ago by MOK
4.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite Albert Brooks movies
Albert brooks is hilarious playing a director making a movie chronicling the life of an average family. Charles Grodin is also
a plus. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Paul Schoonover
3.0 out of 5 stars Prophetic
Long before "Survivor" or "MTV Real World" came this reality show comedy. Even then, characters used the camera to act out grudges and fantasies. Read more
Published 21 months ago by mr. contrarian
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