Anthony's Film Review
Private Parts (1997)
Crude and downright funny, but also an inspiring story about rising to the top...
Howard Stern is definitely someone you can misjudge, if you base your opinion only on his controversies in radio. I will admit that I once had the same opinion. Then an amazing thing happened. I decided to check out Howard Stern's Private Parts. Joking aside, I'm referring to his 1997 movie. I watched the film because I wanted to form my own opinions from my own observations, not from the words of others. Plus, there were some people who liked the movie. To my surprise, I really enjoyed the movie from start to finish.
Private Parts is both a comedy and a biographical drama that chronicles the famous radio personality's rise to stardom. It not only stars Howard Stern as himself but also bases the story on the autobiography that he himself wrote. It is a film that will satisfy Stern fans as well as anyone who enjoys a funny and inspiring story, provided that they can tolerate the nudity, sexual content, and dirty language associated with the shock jock. Yes, even a person who isn't a fan of Howard Stern, like myself, can enjoy the movie.
The film begins with Stern on stage as Fartman, a flatulent superhero who is the product of his wacky imagination. After the show, he boards a plane and begins telling us his life story. The scenes that follow document his childhood, including a time when Stern performed a naughty puppet show for some elderly people, and his college years when dating was initially difficult (not even a blind girl would go out with him). At that time, he didn't have the long wavy hair that would become his signature look. Rather, he had curly hair and a mustache, making him look more like Weird Al Yankovic.
Other aspects of Stern's life are revealed. He meets his college sweetheart, Alison, and the two later get married. There is also a tempting affair with another woman that he fails to resist and the tension with Alison that ensues. Stern's love for his then wife is just as important to this film as his controversial career in radio. The movie doesn't just show Howard Stern as seen in the public eye, but also how he is in his private life. Even a guy like him who is known to be offensive can have a softer, more ordinary side.
Meanwhile, how Stern became the potty-mouthed DJ involved a simple decision. After a lack of success when starting out, he decides that he should not hold back. It definitely works. Maybe too well. With many more people tuning in to hear Stern's over-the-top commentaries on sex and other topics, plus a chance to hear a woman having an orgasm in one of the film's most memorable moments, he becomes a sensation for some and an annoyance for others. Still, he gets the attention of WNBC in New York and gets a position there. However, to the dismay of executives there, they realize what kind of DJ they have just hired.
Private Parts is one of those films where I didn't expect to see it because I initially had no reason to. I saw it simply based on good reviews, including a Two Thumbs Up from Siskel and Ebert. I was in for a surprise. The movie is quite funny and very interesting to watch, and I'm not talking about just the babes. I enjoyed Stern's performance as himself in his earlier years and Robin Quivers, who to this day remains as Stern's trusty sidekick. If you like a remarkable story sprinkled with crude humor, you will like seeing Howard Stern's Private Parts (pun intended).
For more information about Private Parts, visit the Internet Movie Database.