Stephen Tobolowsky is one of the most recognizable and prolific character actors working in film and TV – and “The Primary Instinct” (available on major video on-demand platforms starting today) firmly establishes him as one of the great storytellers of this generation.
In short: Tobolowsky — who has acted in more than 200 TV shows and movies — tells stories about life and love that ultimately examines the nature of storytelling itself. (watch the trailer)
Tobolowsky may not be a household name, but even casual movie fans would instantly recognize him as Ned Ryerson (“Groundhog Day”), Sammy Jenkis (“Memento”) or Sandy Ryerson (“Glee”). Although “Tobo” has acted on TV and in movies since the ’80s, he has also established himself in the past decade as one of the great modern storytellers. Tobolowsky took center stage in the 2005 documentary “Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday Party,” which simply featured the actor recounting a series of personal anecdotes while he prepares for a party. For the past several years, Tobolowsky has recorded “The Tobolowsky Files,” a podcast series where he shares stories about his childhood as well as his days as a working actor.
Taken at face value, “The Primary Instinct” is just a man, alone, on stage telling a story. But unlike “Birthday Party” (which was a series of short anecdotes), “The Primary Instinct” is a riveting series of interconnected stories thematically bound together. Tobolowsky is a master craftsman and lyrical wordsmith of the personal anecdote. He weaves intricately crafted and circuitous yarns that elegantly tie together stories involving the Green Bay Packers, cocaine-fueled parties and his mother’s love of reading.
His 90-minute monologue takes everyday, personal moments and elevates them to philosophical universal truths about life on every scale. His anecdotes are universally relatable, his insights are incredibly/elegantly profound and his storytelling ability is second to none.
Final verdict: “The Primary Instinct” delivers an engaging story that beautifully analyzes the very nature of storytelling. Tobolowsky crafts an intricate and compelling yarn that is effortlessly hilarious, heartbreaking, poignant, sweet and ultimately philosophical profound. This is one of the very best films of 2015.
“The Primary Instinct” is an unrated and screened during the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival. This dramatic documentary is now available on various on-demand video services, such as iTunes, Amazon, Vudu and many more.