Telling Lies in America

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -2

The early sixties, the prime of rock & roll, provides the background for this entertaining look at the American dream. Billy Magic (Kevin Bacon), a radio disc jockey who moves from town to town, lands in the steel-making town of Cleveland, Ohio. Looking for the right kid to lure into his payola scheme -- an arrangement in which he plays music for cash, he starts the Billy Magic High School Hall of Fame. Immigrant teenager Karchi Jonas (Brad Renfro) makes it his goal to be somebody special by getting into Billy's Hall of Fame. Karchi's father, Dr. Jonas (Maximillian Schell), works in the mills and sacrifices to send his son to school. Just seven years out of the Hungarian refugee camps, Dr. Jonas is studying for his citizenship test. His dream is for he and Karchi to become American citizens. Billy finally calls Karchi's name and even hires Karchi to be an assistant. Karchi thinks he's on his way, but then Billy starts using him to collect money. When Billy is accused of payola, Karchi is the one who gets implicated, and his and his dad's chance for citizenship is threatened. Nostolgia fans will enjoy this movie with its retro soundtrack.

Karchi frequently lies about his abilities and experience to make himself look good. Billy also lies. When asked about receiving money from record producers, he truthfully says that he didn't receive any money. But in reality, the money was passed to him through Karchi. Karchi eventually learns the truth, but he also lies about the payola. When a judge gives Karchi a special test for citizenship about lying, he uses two stories of George Washington; one about the cherry tree and one about throwing a coin across a river. One is impossible and has to be a lie, which makes the "I cannot tell a lie" phrase a lie in itself. Sadly, it implies that the American dream requires lying to get ahead. Teenage hormones are also explored as Billy arranges a date for Karchi with a prostitute. It's implied in a couple of scenes that Billy frequently uses prostitutes. Karchi blows his first date with a girl he really likes by following a friend's advice to put "Spanish Fly" in her drink. She gets sick and mad when she finds out. It's implied that she has sex with Karchi later but tells him she's engaged. The language is filled with slang expressions for sex and body parts. The s-word is used 10 times but no f-words. Regular profanity is frequently used as well. TELLING LIES is not the best policy nor an acceptable film.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (21) times - Mild 12, moderate

Obscene Language: Many (20) times - S-word 10, other 10

Profanity: Many times - Regular 18 (J/C 8, G 1, GD 4, Csake 3, Lord 1, Jeez 1), Exclamatory 1 (OG)

Violence: Few times - Moderate (fistfight with kicks, shoving)

Sex: Implied three times (woman dressing while man lays in bed, unmarried couple in bed)

Nudity: None; Near nudity - few times ( woman wrapped in sheet )

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many times - slang terms for sex and body parts, references to sexual acts, prostitution, teenager puts supposed aphrodisiac in girl's drink, boy refers to self-gratification in confession booth

Drugs: Cigarette smoking, alcholic drinking

Other: Catholic priest verbally abusive, teenager plays priest and listens to confession (caught in act, not condoned), Father sacrifices to send son to best school

Running Time: 101 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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