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I have mixed feelings about this short. Sling Blade is my all time
favorite movie. I absolutely fell in love with it the first time I saw it
and I still never tire of watching it. This, on the other hand, is an
entirely different take on the Karl Childers character. While he is
likeable and friendly in Sling Blade, he is intimidating and scary in "Some
Folks Call it a Sling Blade". Also, I could not stand Molly Ringwold's
version of the reporter. She was bitter, hateful, and downright cold while
the reporter in Sling Blade has a timid, sweet manner and is kind to Karl.
The ending left you with an odd feeling (yes, I know all of this was
intentional) and made you wonder just WHY they were letting this menacing
person out of the "nervous hospital".
This is a very well done short. The mood is dark, the setting is perfect, and Hickenlooper really seems to know what he is doing. I just wasn't too crazy about his interpretation of the story. Had I seen this before I saw the full-length version, I'm sure I would have enjoyed it a lot more.
The video has a really cool "behind the scenes" featurette that is a must for fans of Sling Blade.
Oh, and thank you Billy Bob, for giving us YOUR interpretation of the story and telling it the way it was meant to be told.
Pretty much everything has been said by previous reviewers here. It is
probably pertinent to add that but for the success of this little
independent number, the full length SLING BLADE most probably would never
have gotten made three years later.
Obviously a labor of love for creator Billy Bob Thornton. He presents a markedly different Karl Childers here. As retardedly backward but infinitely more menacing. It was probably on reflection that the character was made more "marketable" and sympathetic the second time around. Both films are such an absorbing focus on what is essentially a simple man turned (by dint of social expectation) feral by circumstances totally outside his control. The villain of the piece of course was Karl's father, played in a marvellous one-off cameo by Robert Duvall in the feature-length film.
In SOME FOLKS CALL IT A SLING BLADE, the reporter is played by Molly Ringwald. Many seem not to have approved of her interpretation of the part, preferring the cutesy high-school reporter in the 1996 release. I thought she handled it well, after all she was dealing with a quite different "Karl Childers.'
Either way, this makes for a fascinating back-up to SLING BLADE. If anything, it adds to one's understanding of the man himself.
Previous reviewers have commented (negatively) on Molly Ringwald's interpretation of the reporter. I have to disagree. I enjoyed it much more than the reporter in the full-length version (which is one of the greatest films of all times.) I didn't realize that the reporter was so weak in "Sling Blade" until I saw "Some Folk....". By the end of the interview with Karl, she (Ringwald) 'gets it' - she understands the horrific conditions that Karl endured, and why he did what he did, and she shows it, simply by the expressions on her face. I did not find this Karl any more menacing than the Karl of "Sling Blade" - I think it does show more the fear he has of leaving the safety and relative comfort of the hospital. Imagine how it would be if being in a hospital is a better situation than your only memories of life "outside". Long time prison inmates describe it all the time. This is a magnificent piece - where less is definitely more. I loved it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This feature opens in a Northern California sanitarium where the criminally insane live. I love the opening scene where a patient runs down the corridor bare-butt naked and an orderly races after him. Charles Bushman always sat down beside Karl Childers and told him tales of his run-ins with cross-dressers and prostitutes; two female journalists, Teresa Tatum and Frances, were coming to conduct an interview on Karl, because after 25 years he was being released. They had mixed feelings about the whole thing. At the sanitatium, they meet Gerry Woolridge, the cureator of the place. He tells them a little back history on Karl, like how his parents believed deeply in the Bible and that they sinned when they had Karl. They even told him that! Karl comes in and talks about why he's in the sanitarium and how he had murdered Jesse Dixon for manhandling his mother, then murdered his mother for, well, not showing proper gratitude when her son came to her aide.
That's basically about it. Three years later, Billy Bob Thornton directed the motion picture based on this short, Sling Blade, which starts out exactly like this, and features Karl's further travels and people he interacts with. And the character of Gerry Woolridge changes from a skinny, balding four-eyes into an older man.
So what can I say about Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade? I'm used to Sling Blade, but the information in this explains more in Sling Blade, which I think is a great movie! So, in conclusion, check them both out!
All else aside I found her more credible as a journalist (the actress
in the feature was more the "schoolgirl", which may have been
intentional); Ringwald's performance did more to make me wonder at the
end of the film just what she would write for her paper. Would that
have been a distraction as we watched Carl's re-entry? I don't recall
any followup to that in the feature.
Altogether this was fascinating, not to be compared head-to-head with the full-length film which has justly become an American classic. Films like "Sling Blade" can stand with the best of what is often considered superior European cinema.
I saw this movie when I rented a DVD that came with a lot of brief "movies" such as this. I wonder if it was done to show the head of a studio what a great feature length movie this would make. I enjoyed the short story format and was impressed with Molly Ringwold's acting.
Billy Bob Thornton's screenplay manages admirably to catch the inevitability of violence in impossible family situations. The question one might ask is: who has been wronged most? You simply can not lock up a child in a shed for years and expect it to act rationally. George Hickenlooper does well to restrict his staging to a cool minimum. The actors get more space that way. Molly Ringwald, J.T.Walsh and Billy Bob Thornton are equally good in this gripping short. Although I'm not certain whether I agree with Hickenlooper's choice of two-shot for the interview scene -B.B.Thornton shot the same scene almost completely in close up for his SLING BLADE; and to good effect- his decision to use black and white photography was a wise one. This kind of film is not a dime a dozen, it should be treasured.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a 25-minute short film from over 20 years ago written by and
starring Billy Bob Thornton, who was still in his 4th marriage at that
point and hadn't even met Angelina Jolie, his 5th of (so far) 6 wives.
The director is Emmy winner George Hickenlooper and Thornton's co-stars
are Golden Globe nominee Molly Ringwald and Emmy nominee J.T. Walsh.
The latter is the only one of the trio who returned for the full
feature movie that was loosely based on this short film. Hickenlooper
and Walsh died very early. Thornton went on to win an Oscar for "Sling
Blade" in the Screenplay category beating the dominant movie from that
year: "The English Patient".
Anyway, this short black-and-white film here did not impress me too much. I cannot say that this somehow motivated me to watch the full feature film. The performances weren't too memorable and I have to say I did not find the story really great or think that Thornton's character could make it into my all-time favorite villain list. He plays a murderer in a prison / insane asylum who is paid a visit by a journalist who wants to interview him. There is a problem with the journalist being a woman early on, but none of this was really a factor during the actual interview, which was really more of a monologue. All in all, I hoped this would be better. Not recommended.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The nice thing about Netflix streaming movies is you can find such a
great and extensive assortment of titles, and I found this one, the
film short Billy Bob Thornton wrote, and which later became the theme
for the full-length, award-winning movie 'Sling Blade.'
Billy Bob Thornton is Karl Childers who as a teenager had been convicted of murder. Now, after about 25 years in prison, this is the day of his release. Karl seems to have a mind that works well, but his viewpoints often seem odd. If you live long enough and observe carefully, there really are people like Karl.
His story and impending release from prison have stirred up local interest, and local reporter, Molly Ringwald as Teresa Tatum, has asked if she can interview him. She is cautioned, he isn't comfortable with women, he doesn't like to have questions asked, and the fluorescent light bother him. So Karl and Teresa are in a darkened room, on opposite sides, and he begins to speak, telling his story in his own odd delivery and choice of words.
This is a very short film, B & W and just under 25 minutes, but what we see supports the story exactly. Particularly good is the lighting. Now it makes me want to see 'Sling Blade' again.
I guess that if you are watching this, that means that you've already
watched more known movie Sling Blade. Sling Blade is actually an
extended version of this short, including the life of Karl after
leaving a psychiatric institution. This short movie will leave you
speechless. It's dark atmosphere, dark subject that it's dealing with,
together with great performances from everyone, especially Billy Bob
Thornton and Molly Ringwald, makes this an unforgettable experience. If
you haven't seen Sling Blade yet, I suggest you to see it first, and
then to see this movie.
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