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Albert Brooks: Defending My Life 

click to enlarge OLD FRIENDS Both 76, Albert Brooks and Rob Reiner met in drama club at Beverly Hills High, and now Reiner directs Albert Brooks: Defending My Life, a documentary about Brooks' amazing career, screening on Max. - PHOTO COURTESY OF HBO MAX
  • Photo Courtesy Of HBO Max
  • OLD FRIENDS Both 76, Albert Brooks and Rob Reiner met in drama club at Beverly Hills High, and now Reiner directs Albert Brooks: Defending My Life, a documentary about Brooks' amazing career, screening on Max.
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What's it rated? R

When? 2023

Where's it showing? Max

Albert Brooks really hit my radar when I saw him in Broadcast News (1987) as the smart but uncharismatic TV news reporter Aaron Altman. Yes, I first saw him in Taxi Driver (1976), but he's so good at playing a nonentity that he barely registered among Robert De Niro, Cybill Shepherd, and Jodie Foster. That's part of Brooks' genius—being an essential part of films such as Private Benjamin, Terms of Endearment, Out of Sight, and Drive while also being semi-invisible.

In Rob Reiner's new documentary, Albert Brooks: Defending My Life, we get the inside scoop on the outsider comic who broke new ground in stand-up and delivered brilliant performances in classic films as well as wrote for Saturday Night Live and penned screenplays: Real Life, Modern Romance, Lost in America, The Scout, Mother, The Muse, and Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World. He's truly original and iconic.

Reiner is the perfect person to bring Brooks' story to the forefront. They've been friends since they attended Beverly Hills High together, having met in the drama club, which interestingly also included Richard Dreyfuss. The real take-away is that Brooks should be a lot more appreciated than he is—he's brilliant. (88 min.) Δ

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