Inside Monkey Zetterland

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Inside Monkey Zetterland
Directed byJefery Levy
Produced byLouis Alexander (associate producer)
Steve Antin (co-producer)
Tani Cohen (producer)
Kristi Frankenheimer (line producer) (as Kristi Frankenheimer-Davis)
Chuck Grieve (executive producer)
Chuck Grieve (producer)
Jefery Levy (executive producer)
Louis J. Pearlman (executive producer)
Greta von Steinbauer (co-producer)
Lee West (associate producer)
Lee West (executive producer)
Written bySteve Antin
John Boskovich
StarringSteve Antin
Patricia Arquette
Sandra Bernhard
Sofia Coppola
Music byRick Cox
Jeff Elmassian
CinematographyChristopher Taylor
Edited byLauren Zuckerman
Distributed byIRS Media
Release date
  • August 25, 1993 (1993-08-25)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$121,475

Inside Monkey Zetterland is a 1992 independent film penned by former child actor Steve Antin.


Struggling former child actor and now-adult screenwriter Monkey Zetterland is working on a historical screenplay based around the defunct Red Car subway of Los Angeles, he lives in a building owned by his neurotic mother Honor Zetterland, who is a famous soap opera star. Secretly hoping there is a future in acting for Monkey, she is trying to turn her other son, Brent Zetterland, a hairdresser, into a film star.

Honor shows up at Monkey's house to borrow his epsom salts at the same time that his disagreeable girlfriend, Daphne, arrives. Sister, Grace Zetterland, arrives in tears to reveal that her lesbian girlfriend, Cindy, has gotten pregnant in an attempt to bring the two of them closer. Honor rents the basement apartment to Sascha and Sofie, a gay man and lesbian posing as husband and wife while publishing an underground newsletter that outs closeted homosexuals in the entertainment industry.

As if this weren't enough, a creepy woman, Bella, shows up with a fan letter for Honor, and another kooky lady, Imogene, begins heavily, openly pursuing Monkey's attention. After a series of confrontations, Daphne moves out, and around the same time the family's absentee father, Mike, (who has frequently left home for long periods of time throughout their lives) surfaces in time for Thanksgiving.

While everyone busies themselves with their personal issues, Grace discovers that Sascha and Sofie are in fact terrorists who intend to bomb a local insurance agency that is denying medical coverage to people with HIV and AIDS. Sofie comes up with a plan to send Grace into the agency with a bomb, which Grace and Sascha believe is set up to give Grace enough time to escape, it is not, and Grace dies in the explosion.

This event pulls everyone out of their own selfish interests and forces them to re-examine their lives and the people around them; the patriarch of the family disappears again; Grace's lover and her baby are taken in by the family, and Monkey decides to let Imogene get closer to him. Then, just as things are starting to fall into place, Monkey comes home to find his apartment ransacked and his finally finished script stolen, it was his only copy.

Later that evening, Bella, who left a fan letter for Honor arrives with Monkey's stolen script and a gun, she tries to shoot Honor, but hits the family dog instead. She is taken down, but the ensuing drama pulls the remaining emotional conflicts of the family into place. Honor accepts that Monkey is never going to become a famous actor. Instead of pushing him that way, she uses her connections to get his script produced, with his brother Brent as the star.

Release and critical reception[edit]

The film, produced by Tani L. Cohen and Chuck Grieve, debuted at the Toronto Festival of Festivals on September 12, 1992, and was released to a very limited number of theaters in the United States in 1993. Donovan was nominated as best supporting male at the 1994 Independent Spirit Awards; the film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize (dramatic) at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival; the film was released in 1994 on VHS and in 1995 on Laserdisc; it was finally released on DVD on February 6, 2007.

The film was generally well received by critics. Marjorie Baumgarten of The Austin Chronicle gave the film three stars, stating "These actors all create riveting snapshots of oddballs in action," but also noting the film has a "rambling storyline";[1] these same characteristics that were praised in positive reviews were the same ones panned in negative ones, such as Desson Howe of The Washington Post who states: "After the characters have taken up most of the movie airing their idiosyncrasies, they undergo melodramatic fates that reveal little more than Antin's recession of an imagination."[2]

The film did however cause a rift between real life brothers Steve Antin and Jonathon Antin as Jonathon was insulted over the film's close resemblance to their own family and how the character Brent Zetterland was depicted as vapid, vain, oafish and slow; however it is rumored that the two have since reconciled.



  1. ^ 1
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External links[edit]