4 items from 2016
“Just Another Version,” directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, premiered Jan. 21 as the Opening Night selection in the documentary section at the Sundance Film Festival. It includes appearances and interviews with Norman Lear, George Clooney, Bill Moyers, John Amos, Alan Horn, Russell Simmons, Amy Poehler and Jon Stewart.
Grady and Ewing, who teamed on “Jesus Camp,” “12th & Delaware” and “Detropia,” focused on Lear’s extensive work and the implications of its absorption into mainstream American culture through such landmark shows as “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons.”
Variety‘s Guy Lodge said in his review: “’Just Another Version of You’ condenses a substantial amount of information and perspective into a crisp, concise 91 minutes.”
- Dave McNary
Few people have changed popular culture more than Norman Lear. When Television was at its height he provided a much needed jolt, giving audiences not what they asked for but what they required. His comedies were dramatic, crafting more complex situations for his sit-coms than any that had come before. With a string of hits that spanned from All In the Family to Maude to The Jeffersons Lear and his creative team managed to shift the comedic discourse for the latter half of the 20th century. Lear has had his fair share of accolades, but there's likely been no better tribute to the man and his art than the documentary Norman Lear: Just Another Version Of You.Mixing subtle moments of cinematic whimsy with compelling...
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At one point in the documentary Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, producer Philip Rosenthal (Everybody Loves Raymond) claims that the history of television can be divided into two periods: “Before Norman and After Norman,” so important is the contribution of producer Norman Lear, the creator of All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons and many other legendary series. Rosenthal might very well be right, but unfortunately directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s documentary simply asserts rather than argues that case. Sure, it is ineluctably entertaining, thanks to its still-spry 93-year-old star-subject, and well-
- Leslie Felperin
Norman Lear offered a bleak assessment of the U.S. presidential campaign at the Sundance Film Festival opening night premiere of a documentary on his life and career in both Hollywood and political activism. "We're not in a very lovely place when you look at the clowns who are presently [running]," Lear, the creator of such iconic television shows as All in the Family, The Jeffersons and Maude, as well as the co-founder of liberal advocacy group People for the American Way, told a packed Eccles Theater crowd in Park City. "Is Trump still leading? I think it's
- Matthew Belloni
4 items from 2016
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