Love it or hate it, reality shows dominate our TV programming on a daily basis. So what better subject for a feature film than one about a reality show? Joe Giacobello and Bello Productions does just that in his film, “Ultimate Reality.”
“Ultimate Reality” the story of Joe Morris (portrayed by Giacobello), a man who is tired of his mundane life and ordinary job. He and a co-worker decide to inject some excitement into their lives by creating the ‘ultimate reality tv contest’ designed to really push contestants to their limits. Morris gets the idea for the show after having listened to a report on the news about a serial killer being imprisoned for life. He wonders how would your everyday person would be able to handle being isolated in a small room with only the most basic essentials and no human contact what-so-ever. The idea eventually gets picked up by a TV station and Joe Morris couldn’t be more thrilled. He immediately launches a search for contestants, all of whom include a suburban housewife (Barbara Winters), a radio dj (Erik Shark), and an ex-con posing as a priest (David Dietz). As the bizarre story unfolds, Joe Morris comes to wonder if he’s bitten off more than he can chew. He also finds himself becoming attracted to the suburban housewife, Katherine Thomas (Winters) as the relationship with his current girlfriend, Tammy (Stacy Bartlebaugh-Gmys) begins to fall apart.
I will say flat out that I really liked this film. I was immediately drawn in by the setting and cinematography of the film (rather off-setting, dark, and dingy) followed by the unraveling plot/storyline, the way the characters were written, and how many of them were portrayed. I don’t know if this was done on purpose, but while the cinematography is of an overall good quality, there are times when it is reminiscent of films like Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Entity. Given the subject matter of the film, I would say that such a thing entwined into the production is appropriate. The cast projects some pretty strong performances for the most part and there is a good variety of the type of quirky characters you would find in a typical reality show.
The movie is labeled on IMDb as a drama and comedy. I would add thriller into that equation as well. This is another film where Joe Giacobello wore many hats (actor, director, producer, cinematographer, editor, and sound department). Last month, Giacobello succeeded in getting me to actually enjoy a romantic comedy (not an easy feat) with his film, “Doing Therapy.” I certainly hope that “Doing Therapy” and “Ultimate Reality” will only be the beginning for him.