If you’ve always wanted to get into the movie business without the trouble of actually making a movie, producers Richard Marshall and Matt Fortnow have a can’t-miss opportunity. They’ve put the rights to their 2011 movie Certifiably Jonathan up for sale on eBay, a first for the online auction site.
Certifiably Jonathan was a labor of love for director James David Pasternak, who amassed over 200 hours of footage of comedy legend Jonathan Winters between 2003 and 2008. Ostensibly a documentary about Winters showing his paintings at the Museum of Modern Art, the film spins off into mockumentary territory when a stolen painting causes Winters to “lose his funny.” Known for his manic improvisational style, Winters—who died last year—was an influence on many comedians. In the film, some of those famous followers and friends, like Robin Williams (who refers to Winters as his “mentor”), Howie Mandel, Jim Carrey, Sarah Silverman, Jimmy Kimmel, Jeffrey Tambor, and Rob Reiner, all drop by to kiss the ring.
If you’re actually thinking of buying Certifiably Jonathan, be forewarned: It didn’t do so well the first time around. The critical consensus was that Winters deserved better when the film received a theatrical release in 2011. (Nathan Rabin said on this very website, “Like an unfortunate number of valentines, [Certifiably Jonathan] proves a little embarrassing to the giver and recipient alike.") But the winner of the auction also gets the raw footage, allowing you the chance to re-edit the film and give Winters another shot at documentary immortality, if you think you can do any better.
Included are the rights to the feature film, all those hours of raw footage, all the signed talent releases, 2,000 Certifiably Jonathan posters, 13,000 DVDs of Certifiably Jonathan, some promotional stills, and control of the movie’s Facebook page and website. (All that, and three boxes of T-shirts.) The starting bid is $199,000; so far, there are zero bids.
Just between us, Certifiably Jonathan is also available to watch on YouTube right now. But if you win the auction, you can also put an end to that.