1998; Rated R; 90 Minutes
Jerry Springer: Jerry Farrelly
Jaime Pressly: Angel Zorzak
Molly Hagan: Connie Zorzak
William McNamara: Troy
Michael Dudikoff: Rusty
Produced by David
Bales, Brent Baum, Don Corsini, Richard Dominick, Gary W.
Goldstein, Garret Grant, Bradley Jenkel, Donal Kushner,
Peter Locke, Brian Medavoy, Erwin More, Mark Morgan, Jade
Rainsey, Gina Rugolo, Jerry Springer and Steven Stabler;
Directed by Neil Abramson; Screenwritten by Jon
by DAVID KEYES
Waters was once considered to be the "king of trash talk"
by his admirers, and no wonder. He made movies about events
in pop culture that no one would normally find funny, but
most would consider satirical. His biggest movie, "Pink
Flamingos," was the film that earned him that trash talk
title, and up until the outbreak of television trash talk,
he kept that title with a vengeance.
most know, that soon changed. In came television's most
notorious talk show host: Jerry Springer. His talk show
was not only severely censored, but completely revealing
and intense, probably as revealing and intense as anything
can get on the Fox network (and that's saying something).
Within a short period, Jerry's show was at the top of the
talk show ladder, and until just recently, most of his viewers
believed the stories told on the show. Just this summer,
however, reports emerged that the hour program on Fox that,
to most of the extent, the show's themes and subject matter
were all staged merely for entertainment and exploitation.
Jerry Springer himself denied the accusations, but soon,
the reports were too numerous to avoid. After you see one
episode, how can it not be staged?
talk show itself offered some cheap thrills to start with,
but it eventually evolved into a dreary series of bleeped
language skills, large fist-fights, and overwhelmingly unbelievable
situations. It slipped into reverse, and became digested
in its own clichés.
this year, Springer released his autobiography, tentatively
titled "Ringmaster." Now, that title finds use in his movie,
though its not based on the actual book he wrote. In fact,
Neil Abramson's (or should I say Jerry Springer's?) "Ringmaster"
is a one-joke movie without the joke; a comedy without the
laughs; and a film without the reason for being one. It
tries to evolve some sort of understanding and pity for
Springer as he sits and watches his guests trash his set
and each other's hair styles, but fails miserably by placing
him backstage in some scenes where he admires his physique
in a mirror.
is pathetic, to put it bluntly. I don't know what drove
Jerry to think that a movie about his show needed to be
made, but whatever it was, it was certainly more illogical
than half of his final thoughts. This is a good reason why
talk show hosts don't turn their shows into movies: we've
got what we want on television. Why bring it into a theater?
fear it's because his video, "Too Hot For TV," was not enough
for his fans. He has to take his three-ringed circus as
far as it can go, just as long as it doesn't go higher than
an "R" rating. I must admit, this is probably as far as
an "R" rating can be pushed, and for a television show personality
like Jerry Springer, pushing this MPAA rating is no big
accomplishment. If the show had gone uncensored for television,
it would likely have to appear on one of those pay-per-view
sadly, plays like numerous segments of two bad movies slapped
together in no particular order; first, you have the situations
on stage, as Jerry sits and watches the action unfold for
his audience, and secondly, you have the backstage shots
which show Jerry making goo-goo eyes at himself in the mirror,
and his show guests begin the fights before anything has
gone on air. There is no originality other than the over-toned
brutality of the sexual preferences and fist fights; everything
is a routine, self-absorbed portrait of America's most notorious
television star, "the new king of trash talk." Now that
I think about it, I'm glad no one ever made a movie about
script relies mainly on the subject matter of the television
show, just to grasp our attention. People sleep with other
people, they get into fights, learn that they are sleeping
with other people in the audience, etc. Repeat that process
about ten times with randomized characters and, boom, you've
got the first bad movie.
try to picture Jerry in front of the mirror admiring himself.
This is the second bad movie, and it's the most frustrating
part of the whole mess. Who wants to watch over twenty minutes
of this backstage garbage, anyway? We think that Jerry's
life off stage would be more normal, but what the movie
makes his life out to be is a talk show subject all on its
own. Everything looks and feels so fake (like the show)
that its not even funny. In fact, it's a downright shame.
This is a two-hour television show with backstage footage,
and nothing more. The only difference, though, is that we
thankfully have commercials to interrupt the television
show. "Ringmaster" is a movie that needs a fast-forward
button on the seats.
though the movie left me feeling uninterested and angry,
I seem to be constantly reminded of one of Jerry's only
observant lines in the picture. The words he speaks are
as follows: "this is a slice of the American dream. If you
don't like it, then bite on something else."
my luck, Jerry Springer will actually read this review and
take into consideration the similar words which follow:
"this is a slice of your movie's critical rejection; if
you don't like it, than you can bite me."
1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
Please e-mail the author here
if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.