I applaud Farley’s family and the filmmakers
By now some of you may have seen or at least heard of the trailer for the new documentary, I Am Chris Farley, about the life and untimely loss of the comedy great. Imagine how ecstatic I was when I had the chance to see this film early as I was always a huge Farley fan.
I found this film to be a beautiful and sensitive retrospective on the early life and rise of Chris Farley. We get to see and hear of his young days with his family and of his first performances at Red Arrow Camp; through reminisces that follow through to his time at Chicago’s acclaimed Second City Theater, his radiant run on Saturday Night Live, and his too brief of a career in Hollywood. I Am Chris Farley is far more than a look at the ascent of a brilliant performer, but offers a deeper glimpse into the persona of a man who was larger than life, always striving to entertain, yet still harbored the same insecurities as the rest of us.
The film is highlighted by video clips of some of Farley’s most famous sketches, which are just as funny now as they were all those years ago. Interspersed with the laughs, we are also shown heartfelt interviews with some of those closest to Farley, his talented brothers, Tom Jr., Kevin, and John, as well as his former friends and fellow performers, David Spade, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, Bob Odenkirk, and many others who shared the stage and screen with him; each relating memories of their work together and their friendship. They describe Chris as a pure and magical presence, full of boundless energy yet harboring demons of dependence that no amount of laughter or success could satisfy. Farley was a bright and modest man who knew too well the pitfalls of his own addictions and struggled with them all of his career.
To hear close friends like David Spade and Bob Saget speak of their beloved friend showing the amount of emotion evident in their faces, it really relates the impact Farley had on them. When Spade recounts how he thinks of Farley daily and still finds the loss hard to deal with, you can’t help but feel the sentiment rise within you as well.
Chris Farley was an icon of comedy and of the art of living; his over the top personality graced us on television and movies for only a short amount of time. This sincere film shows us the real man behind the television persona and why we are still touched by his life today. Though the film doesn’t delve too deeply into the addictions that plagued Farley, his friends do speak frankly about some of the excesses and struggles that contributed to his unfortunate passing. Early in the documentary, actor Pat Finn explains how he and Farley both carried the Clown’s Prayer in their wallets, and reads a portion, which states:
“…As I stumble through this life,
help me to create more laughter than tears,
dispense more cheer than gloom,
spread more cheer than despair…”
Chris Farley did just that and this documentary strives to make sure we remember and to celebrate the life and love that he gave of himself. I applaud Farley’s family and the filmmakers for the tribute that is I Am Chris Farley.