This Movie Guy Headline Animator

Saturday, November 5, 2011



"I'm like Tinkerbell - without applause, I die."
-- Conan O'Brien

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop is a 2011 documentary directed by Rodman Flender that centers around Conan O'Brien's 2010 comedy tour, "The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour." The idea came to O'Brien after his highly-publicized departure from NBC after Jay Leno decided he wanted to continue appearing on television as a talk show host. NBC severed ties with O'Brien, prohibiting him from appearing on television for a period of six months. The documentary shows the creation of the tour's show as well as the ups and downs it put Conan through during the 45-show schedule.

I first heard about this film after it hit film festivals and was generally well-received. I didn't have the opportunity to give it a view when it hit theaters earlier this year, but you can now find it on NetFlix Instant Watch. Being a fan of O'Brien, I knew that I had to give this one a gander at one point or another, so it was just a matter of time until I sat down and did just that.

I honestly have some rather mixed feelings about the film. While it's an interesting, in-depth look at the creation of Conan's tour, it just felt a little bit empty and a little bit flat. There didn't seem to be anything truly redeeming about the film. Yes, we get to see a very personal side of a highly-publicized figure in today's society, but there are times where I wasn't quite sure I liked the Conan we got to see. At certain moments, he seems like a man who lets his celebrity and fame get to his head, but he immediately comes back and says that because he's so hard on himself, he has to be hard on the people that work for and with him.

(On a side note, be on the lookout for cameos from the likes of Jack Black, Jim Carrey, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Jon Hamm and Jack McBrayer.)

In his review for the Arizona Republic, Billy Goodykoontz wrote the following about the film:
It's hard to feel sorry for a guy who banked millions for not hosting "The Tonight Show" anymore, but it's also fascinating to see a man this compulsively driven to get back in front of people and tell jokes, to hear the laughter, to soak in the applause.
In that sense, I suppose there's something rather interesting to see in Conan O'Brien Can't Stop. We see the sheer determination and will that he drives into his comedy tour. After his nasty NBC break-up, the fan support was overwhelming, and it's nice to see that a man in his position took the time to give back to that support, even if it took a physical and emotional toll on himself. Even if he has his moments where you want to hate him, you can't deny that Conan O'Brien is driven and dedicated. If that's all you get from this documentary, then I'd have to say it's a success. If you're a fan of Conan, this is a must-watch.

Movie Review Summary
Grade: B+
1.5 Thumbs Up

No comments:

Post a Comment