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Living in Oblivion

4.4 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs), Dermot Mulroney (Copycat), James Le Gros (Bad Girls) and Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich) star in this inventive, wickedly funny satire of the movie-making business. The leading man has just had a disastrous one-night stand with the leading lady; the cinematographer is breaking up with the assistant director; the director's mother has wandered onto the set; and the dwarf hired for the dream sequence has an attitude. Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival, Living In Oblivion proves there is no such thing as smooth shooting when it come to low-budget filmmaking.

Special Features

  • Interview with writer/director Tom DiCillo and actor Steve Buscemi
  • Deleted scene
  • Sundance Film Festival Winner, Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, 1995

Product Details

  • Actors: Rica Martens, Danielle Von Zerneck, James Le Gros, Dermot Mulroney, Steve Buscemi
  • Directors: Tom DiCillo
  • Producers: Michael Griffiths, Marcus Viscidi
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 11, 2003
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007L4OB
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,174 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Living in Oblivion" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 14, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This movie is so well-crafted and funny I'd recommend it to anyone. If, however, you've ever been involved in independent film, you'll find it even more hilarious. It's so dead-on at capturing all the headaches, squabbles, technical nightmares, bad food, and creative frustrations inherent in most low-budget filmmaking, you'll laugh even as you relive the pain.
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Format: DVD
"Living in Oblivion" is one of those unassuming, low-circulation titles that make you wish your fellow citizens had more taste in cinema because then perhaps Hollywood would try making smarter films more often. Although, at the same time, you're almost glad they don't so you can hoard all these great movie experiences for yourself. The movie, in a nutshell, is about the agony and frustration of trying to make a low-budget film about a woman who was abused as a child and who is about to get married to someone she works with. Steve Buscemi, as the director, tries his damnedest to get the scenes to work, but instead is stymied at every turn: technical difficulties; incompetence by his crew; personal problems with his actors and the his crew; an obnoxious dwarf; and of course, past-its-expiration-date milk. It's these annoyances and hindrances that bring out the best scenes in the movie -- the "real" movie and the "in-production" movie. Buscemi gets to do a couple of his signature explosive outrages, like the Tasmanian Devil, only more coherent and quite a bit angrier (and less hair). Catherine Keener, one of the most underrated actresses in the business today, is smartly sensitive yet brutally honest with her feelings; not quite as sarcastically vicious as she was in "Being John Malkovich" or "Death to Smoochy". Those two actors were ostensibly the reason I originally saw the movie, but I bought the DVD due to the movie's originality, cleverness and humor as a whole. The special features include a few deleted scenes (including one great musical bit with the dwarf actor, Peter Dinklage), and a college film class interview with Dicillo and Buscemi. A screen gem that will have you alternately roaring with laughter and appreciating the way a movie can hit your emotions and your mind in such a sweet, unsuspecting way.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Ever have a bad day at work? I mean a day where you wonder why you even bothered getting out from underneath the covers of your warm, cozy, comfortable bed? I suppose everyone has, and each job has its' own hardships to be dealt with, but the world of independent filmmaking seems to be a particularly harsh and difficult occupation, fraught with unique difficulties, requiring of those who masochistically toil within its' domain to survive not on a day to day basis, but from one scene to another, often having to compromise their artistic intent and vision to accommodate the necessity of completing production before the funding runs out.

Living in Oblivion (1995), written and directed by Tom DiCillo, who also did the earlier indie film Johnny Suede (1991), which starred a then not so well known actor named Brad Pitt (it's worth looking for, if you enjoy films of an extremely off-beat nature and want to see Brad Pitt sporting a coif the size of Rhode Island), stars Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs, Ghost World), and Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich). Also appearing are Dermot Mulroney (About Schmidt), Danielle von Zerneck (La Bamba, My Science Project), and James LeGros (Phantasm II).

The film takes a humorous (to us, at least) look at hardships suffered upon Nick Reve (Buscemi) as he desperately tries to move forward his no budget film, focusing specifically on difficulties within his efforts to complete a couple of scenes of this seemingly ill-fated endeavor.
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Format: DVD
The talents I am talking about, of course, are the director Tom Di Cillo ("Moonlight in a Box"), subsequently infamous amongst the 'independent crowd', and the star, Steve Buscemi, who here once again proves that he is one of the most versatile character actors working today. The result of these two individuals working together, a comedy about making indie films called "Living in Oblivion", is one of the funniest and intelligent motion pictures of the 1990s.
Most comedies nowadays either rely on dumb physical humor (celebrities: grimace, puke, punch, scream, trip'n'fall...) or on recycled situational gags ("Welcome to Mooseport"?!) Genres like romantic comedies are sickeningly predictable (Richard Curtis/ Hugh Grant, anyone?) and sentimental. Spoofs like "Scary Movie" refer frequently to the more-successful slapstick of the Abraham/Zuckers' "Airplane!" (1980) or other earlier and funnier stabs at eccentric wit (Mel Brooks).
What we have nowadays, ladies and gents, is Robert De Niro hamming it WELL up in the gruesomely exploitative "Analyze That"; Eddie Murphy counting his paycheck in "Daddy Day Care" (where it's sporadically puked on by an annoying eight-year-old twerp) and "The Haunted Mansion" (where the paycheck should have been snatched away by Terence Stamp, who definitely got a lot less dough for the project than 'Axel', but tries a lot harder to save it from drowning in its own poop). It is a delight for us film-lovers to witness a comedy that is not desperate and/or indifferent in its attempts to make its audiences laugh, a comedy that is honest and certain of its genuinely witty concept, a comedy that is inspired rather than expired. "Living in Oblivion" is that kind of comedy.
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