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certifiably jonathan
Click for full sized poster

Certifiably Jonathan

Starring Jonathan Winters
Directed by Jim Pasternak

For those that need explanation, Jonathan Winters is the first famous television comic of Cranky's generation. He turned props into comedy before Carrot Top was born. He is inspiration for improv comics like Robin Williams, who will play a major part of this documentary or comedy or personal drama or ... well, Certifiably Jonathan will present itself as a lot of things before you figure out what is really going on . . .

The film begins in documentary mode, tracking the legendary comic, then 78 years old and 55 years happily married, as he sets his final goals for Life. Winters has been painting, it seems, for a number of years, and wants to see his work hang in the Museum of Modern Art before he dies. MOMA, of course, is completely unaware of Winters' new profession and, frankly, they really don't care. Getting them to agree to hang said work takes up half of Certifiably Jonathan. The other half is you shifting uncomfortably in your seat as you wonder if what you are seeing is a put-on or a documentary catching the mental crackup and emotional meltdown of an aging American.

Even at his advanced age, Winters is still close to the sharpest tack in the pack. Remember, the guy gave up the comic routine of nightclubs and television years ago, at a proper retirement age, for art. That doesn't mean he has no ambition. Problemis, ambition at in the eighth decade can be dangerous. Simply put, at a local exhibition of his work, one painting is stolen. Net result is an emotional collapse by Winter. The artist Winters loses his sense of humor, without which he cannot paint. Without three new paintings to debut at MOMA, that show is off.

Pulling the plug on said show essentially pulls the plug on Winters. That brings a number of comedian friends (Robin Williams and Howie Mandel and my old boss Robert Klein, plus Jimmy Kimmel and then girlfriend Sarah Silverman) and a mental doc (Nora Dunn, ex of SNL) -- into the picture to help right the sinking ship. What we thought was a straight up documentary quickly becomes anything but . . . unless you walk out of your viewing thinking that there may be a wee bit more of things manipulative at work.

You make that decision.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Certifiably Jonathan, he would have paid . . .


If you know nothing of the man, rent. If you do, find the film at a discounted price,as best you can

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.