My Name Ain't Johnny

2008 [PORTUGUESE]

Biography / Crime / Drama

0
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 6379

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN

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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by claudio_carvalho 8 / 10

The Raise and Redemption of a Drug-Dealer - The Most Positive Story I Have Recently Seen

In the 90's, In Rio de Janeiro, the middle-class João Guilherme Estrella (Selton Mello) is introduced to the world of drugs consuming marijuana and cocaine first and later becoming a drug-dealer with many connections inclusive in Europe. However, he spends all the money he makes in his addiction, parties with clients and friends and travels, never structuring or organizing a network or saving money. When he is arrested, he is sent to the prison first and later to the judicial asylum for treatment, reintegrating to the society. Presently João is a successful musical producer.

"Meu Nome Não É Johnny" depicts the raise and redemption of a drug-dealer in the most positive story I have recently seen. The dynamic narrative discloses the true story in a wonderful combination of drama and comedy, with the excellent Selton Mello in the lead role. The dialogs are intelligent, the corruption of police is slightly disclosed but the screenplay never goes deeper in the connections of João Guilherme – who are the suppliers or the users, for example, are totally forgotten. Have they helped Johnny later? In the prison, the relationship of João Guilherme and the criminals are also not very clear. However, the objective of the movie is achieved and I personally loved the message of the possibility of recovering of a doomed person. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Meu Nome Não É Johnny" ("My Name Is not Johnny")

Reviewed by debblyst 7 / 10

White Boogie Nights in Rio

Fast, hip and mod film adaptation of the true story of João Guilherme Estrella, an upper-middle-class dope-head who turned into serious addict and, against all odds, a top cocaine dealer in Rio de Janeiro in the early 1990s. The film follows his glamorized coke-snorting glory days and his later detention, trial, imprisonment and subsequent confinement in a state institution for mentally disturbed criminals. Based on the biography written by Guilherme Fiúza that provides most of the film's light tone and funny dialog, the film is a comedy -- yes, a comedy! -- about drug addiction and dealing, in the line of Ted Demme's "Blow" and particularly influenced by the episodic structure, pop flavor and sense of humor of Paul Thomas Anderson's "Boogie Nights".

The "rise" of Estrella in the drug world is made to look sexy, cool, adventurous and a lot of fun, though it isn't exactly believable -- his drug connections are never satisfactorily explained, probably because it's still legally dangerous to dot all the "ii". Anyway, it's obvious the filmmakers aren't interested in "denouncing" Rio's drug business, but in audience adhesion and laughter: even Estrella's sojourn in prison and in the appalling mental institution are meant to be funny, instead of depressing and scary, and the long sequence of Estrella being harassed and blackmailed by two corrupt cops seems inspired by the antics of Abbott & Costello or Oscarito & Grande Otelo.

The film is totally centered around Selton Mello, who finds in the part of Estrella the perfect vehicle for his peculiar cinematic persona: ironic, funny, non-chalant, quick-spoken, Mello acts as if he's ad-libbing and is the right choice for this kind of role, though possibly with the wrong physique (it's hard to believe that a man who admittedly sniffed up to 100 grams of coke per week could look this chubby -- but the real Estrella IS chubby, at least nowadays). The rest of the cast varies from fine (veteran Eva Todor, Cássia Kiss, Orã Figueiredo, the lovely and talented Rafaella Mandelli), to insipid (clueless Cléo Pires, whose role is fortunately rather small), from weird (Júlia Lemmertz plays Selton Mello's mother!) to over the top (Flavio Bauraqui and Aramis Trindade overacting once again).

Mauro Lima's direction shows assuredness and objectivity -- he's not a technique freak but there are some exciting dolly shots -- though the film would certainly benefit from a bigger budget and longer schedule (there are sequences in Barcelona and Venice that seem made in a terrible hurry). Lima and producer Mariza Leão wrote the clever script aiming at young audiences used to sitcoms and comic strips; well, the jokes do work and the dialog is above TV average, though the tear-jerking trial scene is longish and maudlin.

There are big issues that the film doesn't really want to discuss, like the fact that Estrella could play for laughs because, being white and middle-class, he knew he would come out alive and free from his failed drug-lord fantasy (whereas black and poor traffickers get dead or rot in prison). Or the fact that, though the film is being (mis)marketed as a "cautionary story" for teenagers who might be curious about experimenting with drugs, it's rather a "feel-good" drug movie that isn't really meant to warn or scare drug neophytes or anyone else, especially because of Selton Mello's "cool" demeanor and the happy-ending. On the contrary: I suspect many teenagers leave the theater with the idea that coke-snorting mustn't be all THAT bad (and we know, don't we, that coke has made its comeback). Despite the potentially violent and tragic overtones of the theme, the ultimate goal of the film is to be fun, cool and hip -- and that, "Johnny" undoubtedly succeeds.

PS: There's a final credit that states that João Guilherme Estrella is now drug-free and works as music producer, singer and composer, but don't scratch your head if you've never heard of him -- he's hardly famous. Following the film's big box-office results (2 million+ tickets sold), Brazilian EMI Music released Estrella's debut album as singer and composer, which was a big critical and commercial flop.

Reviewed by welingto-1 8 / 10

Really good entertainment

With efficient and exemplary narrative, My Name Is Not Johnny is a very good entertainment. It combines comedy, drama and adventure, more comedy than drama, it is true, in addition to bringing back the symbolic 80's in a perfect costumes and sceneries.

Based on real events and inspired by the book written by journalist Guilherme Fiúza, the film portrays the same environment in which Cazuza, a famous Brazilian singer who died of aids, lived: great music, cocaine, alcohol and hedonism. Joao Guilherme, a crazy middle-class guy, enter into the world of drugs at the beginning as consumer and became a traffic dealer. He spent all money he gets with parties, trips and drugs. He was arrested and today, recovered from addiction, is a recognized musical producer. If he were black and poor their fate would be different, probably much more tragic. Money and a good lawyer makes difference.

The film is a mountain of events. Joao Guilherme contagious those around them and the narrative with his ironic humor. There is always a witty comment for every situation, the tragedy etched not delay turns comedy. Mauro Lima, another talented director, filmed with passion and without trials, and creates a pop package that has everything to entertain the public. If the characters lack psychological density or if the subject has been much exploited by the Hollywood cinema, it not lack creative energy. Selton Mello is a strong candidate of best actor of the year.

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