Being There (1979)

Directed By: Hal Ashby

Written By: Jerzy Kosinski (novel and Script)

Starring: Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine and Melvyn Douglas


Watching copious amounts television increases the likelihood that you’ll become rich and famous.


My reason for watching this was completely superficial. Wilco’s second album was named after this film and it was about time that I give it a chance.

Hal Ashby’s Being There, reminded me a lot of Forrest Gump but without the Hollywood veneer. Memorable lines aren’t seared into your brain and it definitely didn’t have a “Lt. Daaaaan”. What it did have, were the songs “Basketball Jones” and Deodato’s version of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” and that is all right by me.

This peculiar film has an equally peculiar performance by Peter Sellers. Mostly known for his comedy, he delves deep into a role that required a quiet subtlety and child like charm. It makes the viewing experience interesting as your emotions are thrown into a revolving roulette wheel. Do you laugh or do you feel pity for Sellers’ character?

Being There is simply an instigator. It will goad you into questions that you may have about the state of society and the importance of interpreting subtext in speech. Did I mention you get to listen to “Basketball Jones”?

Problem: A touch slow on the slow side

Mood for watching: Inquisitive

What to eat and drink: Gobstoppers and lime slurpee

If I made it: Miscommunication would be more plausible

Why watch: To see how the 1% networks


2 thoughts on “Being There (1979)

  1. I haven’t watched this yet. I’m not sure why though. I have a big love of Peter Sellers. The fact that you didn’t rip it to shreds with razor-sharp teeth and wit like an angry hamster is enough to make me go find it. Videodrome here i come.

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