Cinema: A Paean To A Pop Postmodernist

The short, weird career of Andy Kaufman poses a single, overriding issue: Was he a self-conscious genius of the put-on, cleverly calculating his effects, which were ever poised on the thin line that separates childish innocence from transgression? Or was he just another of those sociopaths, unable to tell right from wrong, funny from unfunny, whom the popular culture occasionally dredges up to amuse and confuse us?

Milos Forman's film Man on the Moon, and Jim Carrey's performance as the artist constantly in question, don't attempt to answer that conundrum. Both merely present Kaufman with a dispassionate, ultimately hypnotizing objectivity. It...

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