Combustible Celluloid
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With: Adam Sandler, Christina Applegate, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Molly Shannon, Lorri Bagley, Dan Aykroyd, Bo Derek, David Spade, Bob Odenkirk, Bob Saget, Kevin P. Farley, Jon Lovitz, Jay Mohr, Will Sasso, John Farley, Lorne Michaels, Pat Finn
Written by: Steve Burgess
Directed by: Brent Hodge, Derik Murray
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 96
Date: 07/31/2015

I Am Chris Farley (2015)

3 Stars (out of 4)

World by the Tail

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Judging by the talent that showed up for this documentary, it's obvious how beloved Chris Farley was; even if it skirts over some of the more unpleasant details of Farley's life, it's a joyous celebration. Talent like Dan Aykroyd, Adam Sandler, Bob Odenkirk, Mike Myers, David Spade, and Saturday Night Live creator/producer Lorne Michaels all turn up to sing his praises. The refrain is that he was the funniest person they ever knew, and that working with him was unforgettable.

Chris Farley was born in 1964 in Madison, Wisconsin, into a large family, one of four boys, and almost immediately began clowning around. He loved sports and longed to be on a football or rugby team, and it was during summer camp at Red Arrow that he participated in a play. It became quickly apparent how enormously talented he was. He trained in improvisation and joined Second City in Chicago — where he perfected his famous "Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker" character — before becoming a member of the Saturday Night Live cast in 1990. Instant success led to drinking and drugs, and after making a splash in feature films with Tommy Boy (1995), he died in 1997 of an overdose.

Female interviewees in I Am Chris Farley, like Bo Derek, Christina Applegate, and onetime girlfriend Lorri Bagley talk about Farley's gentle, childlike nature, and his kindness. (Apparently, his dream was to become famous enough to be able to cheer up sick kids in the hospital.) Farley's family agrees on his unquenchable energy and enormous appetite for life, which eventually led to drugs. The details of his addiction and overdose are mildly glossed over, but clips of Farley in his prime still have the power to crack us up.

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