Joe Gould's Secret

"Very Good"

Joe Gould's Secret Review


When Mel Brooks played the Louis XVI in The History of the World, Part I, he often commented, "It's good to be the King." Joe Gould, a voluntarily homeless man, thinks that it's good to be the Bum... and it shows.

Joe Gould spends his days in Greenwich Village, making notes on the subject of humanity. He is compiling an oral history of mankind, a series of transcripts of conversations and essays on the nature of man. He does this by writing at every opportunity in composition books and by mooching off of rich Beatniks during the 50s in New York City. Amongst his supporters: painter Alice Neel (Susan Sarandon), E.E. Cummings, gallery owner Vivian Marquie (Patricia Clarkson) and publishing executive Charlie Duell (Steve Martin). These supporters frequently allow Joe Gould to stay at their homes, as well as contribute small sums of money to the Joe Gould fund.

One day, Gould catches the attention of a New Yorker writer from North Carolina, Joe Mitchell (Stanley Tucci), who writes an article about Mr. Gould in his magazine, and, by consequence, is forced into the role of being Gould's best friend.

Per one's expectations from such a bizarre plot, Joe Gould's Secret proves to be blessed by being funny, mildly touching, and highly in touch with the Beatnik atmosphere that was prevalent in New York during the 50s. The flip side to this coin is that Joe Gould's Secret is cursed by being somewhat corny, slightly melodramatic, and very pretentious (as most of the Beatniks were). Holm will launch into a hilarious speech one second and a soliloquy the next. Tucci will be a serious journalist one minute and a recovering hick the next.

The movie simply cannot make up its mind.

Holm (The Sweet Hereafter) acts up a storm, per his usual. Tucci, with his trench coat and newsman's hat, looks like he used his wardrobe from Winchell. Sarandon is bland, as is Martin, who appears briefly in this movie seemingly only to prove that The Spanish Prisoner was not a fluke. Tucci's own work behind the camera is decent, but, as is par for the film, is not noteworthy. Big Night it ain't.

Joe Gould's secret really isn't that hard to figure out, but the film is entertaining enough that it doesn't quite head down that road to being terrible. Thus figuring out Joe Gould's secret is like the crossword in the New York Post. You'll finish it, but its so easy that it's a sort of hollow victory. But hey, at least you had fun.

Who's got a secret?



Joe Gould's Secret

Facts and Figures

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th May 2000

Distributed by: USA Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 22 Rotten: 11

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Joe Gould, as Joe Mitchell, as Sarah, as Alice Neel, as Vivian Marquie, as Therese Mitchell, as Helen

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.