Zelig (1983) dir. Woody Allen
As a Woody Allen film, it stands out more for being unusual than for being particularly funny.
Zelig is a mockumentary about Leonard Zelig, the "human chameleon." He has sort of a Quantum Leap type ability, where he transforms into the type of person that he's around, to fit in. When with rich snobs, he's a rich snob. When with children, he's a child. When with African Americans, he turns black. That sort of thing.
It might have been a nice metaphor for conformity, but then the plot blatantly comes right out and says so. Again and again and again and again. You know, just in case we didn't get it.
And then, Zelig goes in the most obvious of all directions, and has the man fly to Germany and join the Nazi party.
It's not a bad movie. It might have been nostalgic for the older generation in 1983, in the same way Forrest Gump was a decade later. And the technology used to insert Allen into historical footage was ahead of its time.
Reviews were ecstatic when it was released. Maybe the concept seemed fresher back then.
Zelig is #766 on the 2011 edition of the TSPDT 1,000 list I’m blogging through. I’ve now seen 422.