Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind Starring: Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Rutger Hauer Director: George Clooney The film: Chuck Barris made his fortune creating television shows that forced pop culture to new depths of dumbness. When that snapped the already thin threads of his sanity, he wrote an autobiography claiming that his game shows provided cover for his other job as a CIA hitman responsible for 33 deaths. George Clooney made his fortune in an equally mad line of work - Hollywood leading man. With his appeal peaking - a point when most stars lose scruples and perspective - he revealed his unselfish focus by making an original, meaningful film about a society that allows nutters like Barris to succeed. Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind should be remembered for showing that a great film can be as simple as bringing together the best talent. Clooney has tried to say that he directed reluctantly, when it became clear that it was the only way to film Charlie Kaufman's script. But his thoroughness suggests otherwise. It takes drive to cheaply hire the best in cinematography, sound and set design while having Steven Soderbergh and the Weinsteins in the producers' chairs. He gambled on giving the role of Barris to character actor and comedian Sam Rockwell, but hedged that risk by surrounding him with stars who enjoyed the chance to play a quirky role out of type and without the pressure of carrying the film. Clooney even buttresses those stars by providing cameos from Rutger Hauer, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, as well as Dick Clark and others who worked with Barris. Julia Roberts is fantastic as Barris' sexy cold war cohort in what might be espionage but could be just a mirage. Rockwell (below with co-star Drew Barrymore) can now write his own ticket. But the real star is Clooney. On screen he plays it straight as Barris' teacher in the spy game. As director he offsets Kaufman's craziness with reason. In Adaptation and Being John Malkovich, Spike Jonze let Kaufman's wildest moments spiral into kitsch. But Clooney keeps those moments earthed in the paranoia of the cold war and pop culture. The extras: Interviews with stars and Barris, commentary by Clooney and cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel, deleted scenes, Rockwell's screen test and footage from Barris' masterpiece, The Gong Show. The highlight is Clooney asking Barris whether the spies he worked with are still around. The verdict: Clooney cites Sidney Lumet and Mike Nichols as major influences. Though he'd never admit it, his film could be filed alongside Network and Carnal Knowledge.