Let me say that I’m a huge fan of Jonathan Winters. I have my dad to thank for that. Part of it is because he would mention Winter’s frequently. Part of it had to do with my early love with Robin Williams, who as far as I can recall, is the first comic I fell in love with. My dad over the years slowly explained certain things to me about Williams and Winters and as I got older I grew to actually love both men, especially Winters.
I was giddy when I saw Certifiably Jonathan on Netflix. I was dying to watch him in something other than old YouTube videos and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
Certifiably Jonathan is kind of a mockumentary. It follows Winter’s as he attempts to get his paintings into the Museum of Modern Art as well as trying to find his humor once he looses it.
The modern bits with Winters are pretty good all around. Some aren’t that great, but for the most part he is really good. What’s better though are his old bits that they occasionally show. You see old footage of Winter’s on TV in his heyday and those are gold.
The film is riddled with cameos of some sort. Some of them are legitimate cameos where celebrities such as Jeffery Tambour playing a fictional version of himself (like we see in Entourage) being a bit of a dick and kicking an elderly Winter’s out of his house. Sarah Silverman, Nora Dunn, and Howie Mandel, among others, all make small appearances trying to help Winter’s find his humor. In some instances the cameos aren’t really cameos, rather the actors are playing a legitimate character. That is something that needs cleared up actually. The art people you see are characters. Those aren’t real people and if you aren’t familiar with some of those actors it could cause some confusion. Robin Williams though is the big cameo. He gets the most screen time fo the celebrities, though it isn’t a lot. Still, Winters frequently mentions Winter’s when he isn’t there. It actually goes to show how close the two of those men are, which I just eat up.
So yes most of this is a fraud, but not entirely. Winter’s did have some problems and the movie does actually get to that in it’s own way.
The movie isn’t for everyone. Actually I wouldn’t recommended it to anyone who isn’t a fan of Jonathan Winter’s and even then people may be disappointed. It’s not a great movie and as short as it is, it dragged. The reason to watch it though is to see those little bits spread out through the 73 min film that are just lovely comedic blurbs from a genius.