Fame-ish (2020)

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on July 4, 2020 @ tonymacklin.net.

Fame-ish is an entertaining hodgepodge.

It's a mixture of actuality and fiction - at times convincing, at other times, wayward.

Produced, written, directed, and acted by Jeff Nimoy, Fame-ish draws on personal experience. Nimoy - 2nd cousin once removed of the late Leonard Nimoy - is a successful voice actor in anime films - in the style of animation originated in Japan.

In the indie film and in actuality Nimoy was the voice of Nicholas D. Wolfwood in Trigon and the voice of Tentomon in the Digimon series. He also won an Emmy for his work with NFL films.

Jeff Nimoy plays Jeff, a character with many similarities to himself. In Fame-ish Jeff is invited to an anime convention in Madison, Wisconsin. He presently is trying to get into reality television, but has not been successful, because of his age and his fading credentials.

But when he is offered $3,000 to attend the convention as a celebrity voice actor, he jumps at the opportunity.

The situation in Fame-ish cries out for satire, but the cry isn't answered. There are a few clever lines,e.g., Jeff says from stage, "long time since I've been to one of these cons." But basically Nimoy decides to play it safe.

Fame-ish has a very soft opening part. Perhaps some of the scenes actually happened, but that doesn't mean they work. The scene in which Jeff and his convention female handler Bobbi keep standing outside his hotel room door, as she waits for him to go inside and he waits for her to leave, has no impact.

And some of the details are suspect. Jeff says he hasn't had sex in ten years. That's unconvincing for the character. Maybe Nimoy wanted to separate himself from his character. Let's hope so.

The early part of the film is listless, when it should have spark.

What really helps is when the character Nikki arrives. Actress Nikki Boyer enhances the film with credible personality. Jeff Nimoy is more of a character actor, but Nikki Boyer lifts his performance. She brings humanity to the film.

Brian Donovan gets stuck in the role of a voice actor - which he is - who is the malicious rival of Jeff.

Perhaps the film's most touching scene - which reveals one of Nimoy's best capabilities - is when a young man with a picture of his mother encounters Jeff at an autograph session. It's emotionally potent.

By comparison, it lessens the rest of the film where the relationships of the characters are resolved.

Overall, Fame-ish succeeds, but pulls its punches.

Anime wouldn't do that.

© 2000-2020 Tony Macklin