Lost in America

Lost in America Trivia

Awards and Recognition

* Winner of National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay, 1985, Albert Brooks and Monica Johnson

* Winner of Apex Award for Best Original Score, 1985, Arthur B. Rubinstein

* Listed as an entry in the "Top Ten Films of 1985" lists of Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times), Dave Kehr (Chicago Reader), J. Hoberman (Village Voice), and Andrew Sarris (Village Voice)

* Listed as entry #84 in the American Film Institute's list of the 100 funniest American films

* Listed as entry #76 in Rolling Stone's "100 Maverick Movies of the Last 100 Years" (Rolling Stone Millenium Issue, 1999)

* Listed as entry #80 in the Bravo cable channel's "100 Funniest Movies" list

* Listed as one of "Encyclopedia Brittanica's 100 Funniest Films" (Encyclopedia Brittanica Almanac 2004)

Box Office

Lost in America grossed $10,179,000. It ranked at #84 for overall box-office grosses of 1985. (Thanks to Brandon Gray at Box Office Mojo for this info.) Ironically, the movie is now distributed on video by Warner Bros. as part of their "Warner Bros. Hits" line of movies.

Production Notes

Lost in America was produced by The Geffen Company, whose founder and future Dreamworks co-founder, David Geffen, went back a long way with Brooks. Geffen produced Brooks's underrated and little-heard comedy album A Star is Bought (1974) and originally commissioned Brooks's first feature film, Real Life (1979). (Click here for a Brooks anecdote which confirms this.) The Geffen Company also produced LIA's follow-up, Brooks's Defending Your Life (1991).

According to a 2011 L.A. Weekly interview with Brooks, he originally tried to cast Bill Murray in LIA's lead role.

Lost in-jokes

* The movie's opening shot has background sound of Larry King interviewing Rex Reed on radio. Brooks has been a frequent call-in guest of King's, so this was probably Brooks' light homage to King. On the other hand, it might have been a backhand slap to Reed, who wrote in his review of Brooks's feature Real Life that Brooks had a face "like an open-faced club sandwich." (In a later Playboy article, Brooks claimed to have been delighted with Reed's remark. "I don't know, it's just a thing of mine," Brooks said. "I've always wanted to be compared to deli food.")

* Listen carefully to the voice of Hans, the Mercedes dealer on the telephone. Though the Internet Movie Database credits this role to an obscure actor named Hans Wagner, I tend to think (as does Leonard Maltin in his annual Movie and Video Guide book) that this voice is Brooks'. You make the call. (Also, Brooks has funny phone conversations in all of his movies. He and Bob Newhart seem to have found the absurdity in trying to discuss life's important business over the telephone.)

* Does Albert Brooks have a thing for "The Twilight Zone"? In Lost in America, when Linda confesses how much money she has gambled away, David moans, "This is like an old 'Twilight Zone.'" Also, Brooks appeared with Dan Aykroyd in the prologue to the 1983 movie version of the TV series.

* The casino boss is played by Garry Marshall, the big-hit TV sitcom producer ("Happy Days, "Laverne and Shirley") and movie director (Pretty Woman). Brooks appeared in a couple of early episodes of Marshall's TV version of "The Odd Couple," so perhaps this was Marshall's way of returning the favor. In his autobiography, Marshall said that initially, Brooks's insistence on take after take of their scene drove Marshall up the wall, but when that frustration ended up in the movie, Marshall was very satisfied with the final result.

* One of the boys who harasses David-as-crossing-guard is David Michael Katz, son of Lost in America's producer Marty Katz. Ten years later, he was accepted into the American Film Institute's directing program and was named a DGA director in 1997.

* The man driving the Mercedes near movie's end is Herbert Nanas, Lost in America's executive producer and Brooks's manager. Besides producing Brooks's movies, Nanas has produced or exec-produced four Sylvester Stallone movies and can be seen in a bit part in Stallone's Rocky II.

* The Simpsons Connection: Albert Brooks and Maggie Roswell (who plays Patty, Linda Howard's confidante, in a short LIA scene) have both contributed numerous voices to the animated TV series "The Simpsons." LIA composer Arthur B. Rubinstein has also contributed music to the series, and Garry Marshall (LIA's casino manager) lent his voice to a 1999 episode. (Check their individual entries at The Internet Movie Database for more info.)

* One of the original viewers of Lost in America was a 14-year-old boy named Nicolas Winding Refn. Refn remembered being frightened by the scene where David does the "nest egg" rant at his wife, and Refn felt, at that point, that David could be capable of murder. A quarter-century later, when Refn had become a successful filmmaker (Valhalla Rising, Bronson), he was inspired to cast Brooks in a non-comic role as a murderous gangster in his movie Drive (2011).

Film Flubs

* The bite marks on David's grilled-cheese sandwich keep changing. (From The Internet Movie Database)

* The final scene depicts David and Linda returning to New York City. But a shot actually shows David driving away from N.Y. instead of toward New York and the Lincoln Tunnel. (From Movie-Mistakes.com)

* After David drives past a "Welcome to North Carolina" sign, he passes a landmark that is actually found in South Carolina. (From The Nitpickers Site)

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