|TALK RADIO (director/writer: Oliver Stone; screenwriters: from the play by Eric Bogosian/based on the books "Talked To Death: The Life and Murder of Alan Berg" by Stephen Singular; cinematographer: Robert Richardson ; editors: David Brenner/Joe Hutshing; music: Stewart Copeland; cast: Eric Bogosian (Barry Champlain), Alec Baldwin (Dan), Leslie Hope (Laura), Ellen Greene (Ellen), John C. McGinley (Stu), John Pankow (Dietz ); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: ; producer: Edward R. Pressman; MCA Universal Home Video; 2000)|
|"The monologues are chilling, but
too many subplots interfere with them."
by Dennis Schwartz
Stone's ("Natural Born
Killers"/"Platoon"/"Nixon") nonstop talk radio drama
has something caustic to say about rude shock radio
talk show hosts and American public opinion. It's
based on the one-man play that starred performing
artist Eric Bogosian. who
also stars in this updated film version. The play
was based on the books "Talked To Death:
The Life and Murder of Alan Berg" by Stephen Singular.
Eric Bogosian plays
the edgy insulting to his listeners controversial
nighttime radio DJ Barry Champlain, who works at
KGAB in Dallas. The self-destructive misanthropic
DJ spews hatred against everyone, and his ratings
soar. This leads to a push for his local show to
go national. Meanwhile his ex-wife (Ellen Greene)
arrives in Dallas. This calls for flashbacks on
how the unhappy and twisted witty DJ got started.
The monologues are chilling, but too
many subplots interfere with them. There's also
the add-on of
the real-life story of Alan Berg, the Denver
talk-show host who was murdered in 1984 by a
white supremacist group.
subplot I enjoyed most was Michael Wincott playing a
druggie fan, who is invited to the show for a live
talk with his idol and things become explosive.
Insignificant parts are played by Alec Baldwin, as Barry's boss, and Leslie Hope as his girlfriend.
bad there's no payoff, as the pointless film just sits
there as some record is made of when disenfranchised
Americans listened to hate radio and got a chance to
vent on the air (not that different from today).
REVIEWED ON 5/11/2015 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ