The Next Big Thing (2001) Poster

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Quirky, subtle and fun.
Mychaelus21 June 2012
Intelligently crafted with wry humor throughout. Almost like a New Yorker cartoon in its portrayal of upper class follies. Anyone who has seen Basquiat, which is NOT a fanciful rendition of actual events, will recognize that The Next Big Thing basically keeps it real. It is not a crass lampoon of the art world, as other reviews allege, but a finely detailed imagining of how one accident might lead to another to produce a breakout artist. It plays out as a visualization of a funny story one might hear in conversation, with unlikely twists and turns - the sort of facts that make a true story actually funny. Surely the lives of actual artists who've broken into the big time involve a twist and turn here and there, a crazy accident that seems funny in retrospect (but which would have seemed agonizing to live out in real life). Anyone wondering if this movie is worth watching deserves to hear resoundingly that it really is worthwhile. It deserves a higher IMDb rating, and only suffers a sub 6 rating because it is so intelligently made that average viewers don't appreciate its fine subtleties.
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A lampoon of the pretensions and hypocrisy of the world of Big Art
cheeflo1 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Gus Bishop is a talented painter who can't get his work to be taken seriously by anyone -- his girlfriend, gallery owners, critics, etc. because he's just a regular guy with no pathologies, no sordid baggage in his life. His life is boring and the quality of his paintings isn't even a factor.

One day while Gus is out, a thief named Deech breaks into his apartment and steals his valuables, including one of his paintings, which Deech gives to his own landlord in lieu of back rent. To make it seem valuable to his landlord, he concocts an elaborate story of a traumatized Vietnam vet named Geoffrey Buonardi, an injured, alcoholic recluse who paints to relieve his suffering. The landlord accepts it as payment, then turns around, repeats the story, embellishing it further, and sells the stolen painting for $10,000 to a gallery-owner friend.

Learning of this, Deech sees an opportunity to make some real money, but is horrified to discover upon returning to the apartment to steal more paintings that the canvases have all been slashed. After his girlfriend left him, Gus destroyed them in despair. While still at the apartment, Gus returns home and encounters Deech, who he berates until he discovers that Deech has returned for more paintings.

Flattered and grateful that his paintings are appreciated, he agrees to allow Deech to represent his work under the fictitious identity and split the proceeds. He paints new paintings and suddenly, the work that interested no one becomes the most applauded and sought-after in the art world, and the mysterious Geoffrey Buonardi, whose biography continues to be embellished with each telling, becomes fascinating to critics, collectors, and galleries. But the problem is that to keep it all going, Gus must remain in the background while Deech lives the high life.

Although deeply gratified that his ambitions of a painting career are being realized and his talent acknowledged, Gus is the odd man out and the fictitious Geoffrey Buonardi becomes a rival and an albatross to him.

Meanwhile, the bored wife of a wealthy man, who "patronizes" up-and-coming talent becomes obsessed with Geoffrey Buonardi; a prominent but jaded critic who truly appreciates the work interviews and falls hard for the authentic talent she seldom encounters in the art world; a private detective hired by the wealthy patron to track down the artist figures out the fraud and wants in on the action; and the faithless girlfriend realizes that the celebrated painter is the boyfriend she dumped and blackmails him, taking over his representation and demanding Gus marry her.

Watch the movie to see how it all plays out. There are some truly hilarious moments and very funny dialog. I really like this movie.
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A middle of the heap romcom
=G=18 May 2003
A typical starving artist (Eigeman) is unable to sell his paintings until a scam artist creates a mysterious identity for him and proves that one can find wealth and true love through fraud as his art becomes "The Next Big Thing". There is as little to praise and there is to fault in this easy-going B romcom now on cable. An okay time killer for couch potatoes. (C+)

Note - Farley Granger, 50's heart-throb, makes a rare appearance in this film.
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Good, I suppose
vchimpanzee3 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
At the start of the movie, Deech, who looks homeless, is collecting money on a New York City subway, claiming he represents a charity that helps people in need. The truth is he is only helping himself. And this includes stealing wallets.

One of Deech's victims is artist Gus Bishop, who is late for an appointment at the Pomposello Gallery. Gus has a job involving thousands of colorful files kept on numerous shelves, but that's not what he wants to spend his life doing. Still, Arthur Pomposello is not impressed with Gus' art. This is what Gus has been told many times.

Deech sees Gus' address in his wallet and robs Gus yet again. Later, Deech is about to get thrown out of his apartment. Not that it's much better than being on the street. But at least it's something. Deech shows the landlord one of Gus' paintings (signed "GB") and makes up a fabulous story about the artist Geoff Buonardi (taking care to hide the Chef Buonardi canned pasta he is eating; it looks suspiciously like Chef Boy-Ar-Dee in the real world). The landlord is impressed and takes the painting in place of cash.

The fantastic story about the troubled Vietnam vet takes on a life of its own, becoming more amazing each time it is told. Everyone wants to know more about this mysterious artist. Kate Crowley wants to interview him for her magazine. Florence Rubin absolutely must have all his work (and she has the money to do it). Furthermore, she hires private detective Walter Sznitzken to track down Buonardi. Which he does--sort of.

Gus is such a loser that girlfriend Shari wants him gone. Having been robbed, he lies on her couch all day long, and she's had enough. Fortunately, Gus finds himself part of an amazing scheme cooked up by Walter and Deech. One problem: this same scenario found its way into an episode of "M*A*S*H". Everyone thought they knew the amazing Dr. Tuttle, but no one had ever actually seen him. The entire New York City artistic community believes Buonardi exists. How do our heroes handle it?

Well, there are several creative solutions to the problem. Most depending on people being able to keep secrets. That's all I intend to say.

This is a pretty good movie, and at least some of the acting is good. The writing is clever enough. The one standout performance comes from Connie Britton as the magazine writer.

I never did like Gus or Deech. Perhaps it would have made a difference if they had been played by actors I knew. But I did want the scheme to work.

This is good enough. Nothing outstanding.
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Yawn - those NY intellectuals be darned
Jazmataz198021 March 2010
Gus has no luck selling his art, due to the fact that he has nothing to sell it with: he is neither homosexual nor crazy, he is not drug-addicted or troubled in any other way (besides being very unsuccessful as an artist). Good luck that there are thieves who turn into very gifted artist representatives, PIs who can fake identities and art critics who still recognize art when they see it. Really?? Besides my biggest question - what is the point of this story - I wonder why anyone would cast Chris Eigeman as a lead character??? He looks like my bookie and has the charisma of my shoe vendor next door. The movie reminds me to never ever watch movies made by NY intellectuals who cannot imagine any kind of normal world but always feel an urge to portray rich, intellectual or artistic people and their non-problems. Please refer to the just as non-appealing movie "Motherhood" (2009, starring Uma Thurman) to know what I mean.
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