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Without You I'm Nothing


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sparing no sensibilities, the "bold, inventive and incisively funny" (Rolling Stone) performance artist Sandra Bernhard draws blood in this "heartrending, merciless assault on the phoniness ofentertainment rhetoric" (Roger Ebert). Both "ingenious and unsettling" (The New York Times),her quirky material makes for a wonderfully outrageous and revelatory experience. It is the cabaret act of a nightmare: you sing, dance and tell stories to an utterly apathetic audience. ButSandra Bernhard doesn't know fear, and she tears into a viewer's discomfort with vigor and relish. Stripping herself, body and soul, down to bare essentials, she delivers no less than "an astonishingperformance in this bizarre, funny and prickly satire of pop culture" (The Wall Street Journal).

Amazon.com

"You know," she says at the outset, looking straight into the camera," I have one of those hard to believe faces." Whether she's playing herself or any number of other outspoken characters in the film version of her Off-Broadway show, Sandra Bernhard's hard to believe face remains the one constant. First, she's a jazz vocalist, then a stand-up comedian, then a soul singer. Yet she is always Sandra--even if the MC repeatedly introduces her as Sarah--and the stories she tells come mostly from her own life. Other riffs concern such image-obsessed celebrities as Barbra Streisand and Andy Warhol. The musical performances and monologues take place in front of a black nightclub audience that feigns boredom the entire time. Songs include "Me and Mrs. Jones," "Little Red Corvette," and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" with John Doe in full-on "Rhinestone Cowboy" regalia. The stage bits are intercut with commentary about Bernhard from her manager (Lu Leonard) and actor Steve Antin (The Accused). Then there are the scenes of an attractive black woman walking around LA and the dance numbers featuring Madonna look-alike "Shoshanna." What does it all mean? Well, as Bernhard quips, "My father's a proctologist, my mother's an abstract artist. That's how I view the world." The R-rated Without You I'm Nothing was produced by Nicolas Roeg (who directed Bernhard in Track 29), features an original score by Patrice Rushen, and is (naturally) recommended for mature audiences. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Sandra Bernhard, John Doe, Steve Antin, Lu Leonard, Ken Foree
  • Directors: John Boskovich
  • Writers: Sandra Bernhard, John Boskovich
  • Producers: Jonathan D. Krane, Terry Danuser
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: August 23, 2005
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009X7BHS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,519 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Without You I'm Nothing" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

It's one of the best movies/shows I've seen.
"wildthing114"
Without You I'm Nothing exposes Sandra in what was then her most intimate and direct engagement with an audience to date.
Andrew Harmon
Plenty here to laugh about, discuss, and just plain enjoy!
RoyInHell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Harmon on September 7, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Sandra Bernhard's Without You I'm Nothing, the movie released in the winter of early 1990, followed on the heels of her 1988 off-Broadway stage production ... what she and others refer to in the movie as her "smash-hit one-woman show." There were several changes in monologues and one-liners to update the comedic appeal of the show. And the movie version visually re-vamped the story, taking Sandra from a fabulous existence as a successful stage performer in New York, during what she calls her "superstar summer," to an illusory existence back in her home in Los Angeles - her fictional manager in the film refers to it as getting Sandra back "to her roots, to ... upscale supper clubs like the Parisian Room."
There's a point to be made here. Sandra tries to appeal her liberal worldview to an audience that doesn't completely see it. In L.A. she's playing to a predominantly black audience, trying to relate her ideas and comedy when all these people seem to want is "Shashonna," a Madonna-look-alike stripper. And even then, with Shashonna dancing to drum beats that resemble those from "Like a Virgin," there's not much to be said for the audience's enjoyment of the show. The scene in the club throughout the movie is dryer than a bone. A funny scene to catch is of a rotund man from the audience helping Shashonna out of her pants.
But, if she's going down, Sandra's going down with style and force, conveying everything from foul confidence to punctured vulnerability ... right to the point at which she's naked (literally), pleading with the audience for acceptance and, yet, somehow still swimming in the pool of her own transparent stardom.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By pdeldc on April 19, 2000
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
My introduction to Sandra Bernhard, the ultimate sage of our times, came when I went to see "Without You I'm Nothing" in the movie theater when it was first released. I knew nothing about her and was blown away by her wit and insight into American culture. I have never been in a movie audience that laughed as hard and as often than when I saw this film. Sandra has that uncanny ability to be at once hilariously funny and deeply moving. Her stage performances are brilliant and "Without You I'm Nothing" captures her brilliance in an innovative and creative way - this film is not simply a multi-camera shoot of a stage performance, but utilizes fiction, documentary and stage elements all at once.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Erin O'Brien on October 7, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Sandra's off-the-cuff remark that "my father is a proctologist and my mother is an abstract artist: that's how I see the world" is an early warning of her often scatological, often surrealist commentaries on the conventions and pop culture of our time. The wild musical interludes, broken up by deadpan monologues, and hilariously backhanded commentary by her fictionized former agent and an old "friend", will never be forgotten by any viewer, whether fan or not.
In this earlier incarnation, Sandra was the foremost artist of emotional abjection. A character who encounters rejection and misunderstanding everywhere, yet one whom the viewer soon identifies as easily the most intelligent person in the room. It is neither her religion nor her sexuality which marginalize her, but the particular pitch of her wit and her kaleidescopic view of cultural phenomena.
Sandra's scatter-shot talents range from singing to dancing to acting to writing, but, as this film demonstrates, the sum of her brilliance is greater than any one (though also brilliant!) part.
Sandra is a national treasure who might just change and even save your life. She is tragi-comedy incarnate. Support her artistic productions: as a one-of-a-kind artist, she is certainly an endanged species.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin W Smithee on January 24, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I saw this film in a Dallas theatre with about 5 other people in the place.I was not familiar with Ms. Bernhart's work and for the first 10 minutes I didnt know whether to laugh or feel sorry for this crazed person.Then the brillience of her humor slowly took control and I was laughing uncontrolably.Have since seen her live 3 times and rent the movie whenever I can find it.This is definatly not everyones cup of tea but if you find yourself on the same wavelengh as Sandra you will have a very good time watching this film.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. S. Slaughter on October 7, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
I saw this film twice when it came out in LA in '89 or '90 and almost got a hernia from laughing. Sandra is truly OVER the whole Westernized idea of self-concept; she has irreverence for almost everything in pop culture, and...well, who can blame her? I listened to the soundtrack from the show again last weekend twelve years later and still laughed. She really has a way of tempering one's desire for too much self-importance, and the way she skewers fame is just... charmed!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Absinthe Tea Room on May 31, 2006
Format: DVD
I remember seeing this movie when it first came out. My best friend and I went to an arthouse movie theatre in New York City.

I'm not sure even this jaded New York audience was prepared for what they were about to witness.

From the first moment, the movie is in your face. You're alarmed. You're thinking, "How am I supposed to react to this? Is this .......funny? offensive? What is this?" Then you laugh and can't stop laughing.

Of course my friend and I were the only two people in the theatre hysterical through the whole thing. The others were just stunned into shocked silence. eek! ha ha ha ha! *lol*

We were coughing, choking, passing soda, falling onto the floor!

The best.....wait! THE BEST BEST BEST PART - especially if you're a woman, ESPECIALLY if you lived through the 1960's is the Burt Bacharach/BRASIL '66 tribute (oh yes - they go THERE!)

They're all in white! Everything is white! It's AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAZZZZZING....... the look of love. AHHHHHH ha ha ha haha

You'll run for your Sergio Mendes collection and will never let it go after this!

You must must buy this IF ONLY FOR THAT PART! I'm shocked nobody has mentioned it - it's PRICELESS!

The other part of this movie that not enough people pay attention to is the music. The arrangements are off the wall sensational. Patrice Rushen is an absolute musical GENIUS! The way the music compliments the comedy and the dark edge is unlike anything I have ever seen!

Are the jokes elitist? Yes! Are the jokes urban? Yes! Is it wildly funny and dangerous? YES!

A must see!

A must buy for a Queer or Feminist Movie Collection!

What are you waiting for darling?!!!
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