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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Beating Alcoholism: The Quick and Easy Way

Author: Adam (VonCouch) from Maryland, USA
27 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Here's how you do it: Believe in God and repent for your sins. Then things should turn around within the next day or so.

Until the last fifteen minutes, this movie just plays as a bad recap of a drunk's crappy life. His mom dies. His stepmom's a b_tch. His dad dies. He drinks. He gets married. He has kids. He drinks some more. His wife gets mad. He disappoints his kids. The wife threatens to leave. He calls up a reverend late night b/c he wants to kill himself. Then after the recap happens, that's when we get the "Left Behind"-like subtle message.

"He needed a paycheck". This is the phrase I had to repeat over and over once credits started to roll so I wouldn't lose my respect for Madsen.

Madsen drops to his knees and begs Christ's forgiveness. Once he does, he walks outside and actually says that he sees the world in a different way. He tells his wife that he's found God and that's good enough for her. Flip scene four months and the wife is tired of going to church. End the movie as Madsen walks by the bar and gives a soliloquy about how happy he is with Christ and without alcohol. Final moment? He gives a little dismissive wave to the bar (i.e. sin house) and give a gay, Miami-Vice, after-school special congratulatory jump in the air as the camera freeze-frames. See why I had to repeat the phrase? "He needed a paycheck".

Man this movie is bad. The B-Grade 80's production values don't help much. The script could have easily been a "Touched By An Angel" episode. It could have been knocked out in 30 minutes plus commercials. The acting is wooden and never believable. Even Madsen, of whom I'm a big fan and is the sole reason I sat through this, makes it clear that this is his first acting job and he doesn't know his a$$ from his elbow yet on camera. 45 minutes into it I started to get discouraged. This thing was like homework. I just wanted to put it away and say that alright, I saw half of it. That's good enough. But no. If I sat through Cheerleader Ninjas, I could sit throughout this.

The only reason I'm not giving this thing a 1 is for two points: 1) I love Madsen. I know it's not fair. But it's great seeing the opening title "Introducing Michael Madsen". Sue me. 2) Some of the Dialogue is so bad that it's classic. I'll stick some quotes at the end of this so you can enjoy them too.

That's about it. To wrap it up ,this thing is a piece of crap that should stay flushed with the rest of the turds. But hey! Look! Michael Madsen! (See also TILT, EXECUTIVE TARGET, MY BOSS'S DAUGHTER, etc). Now I've gotta rewatch Reservoir Dogs and watch Madsen torture a cop to get my respect back for him. See ya, Kids.

"This stuff's gonna make me go blind, but I'm gonna drink it anyway" - Madsen's first taste of cheap alcohol

"I don't understand! Everything seems so beautiful!" - Madsen walking outside after confessing to God

"I'm going downtown later and pick up a bible and I'm gonna get a haircut too" - Madsen after converting at the dinner table, because Satan lives in your hair

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14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Like a Christian promotional video.

Author: xfile1971 from Northbrook, IL, USA
11 September 2002

Definitely an odd debut for Michael Madsen. Madsen plays Cecil Moe, an alcoholic family man whose life is crumbling all around him. Cecil grabs a phone book, looks up the name of a preacher, and calls him in the middle of the night. He goes to the preacher's home and discusses his problems. The preacher teaches Cecil to respect the word of God and have Jesus in his heart. That makes everything all better. Ahh...if only everything in life were that easy. The fact that this "film" looks as if it was made with about $500 certainly doesn't help. 1/10

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:


Author: musoshi from United States
14 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am a huge Michael Madsen fan, so needless to say, i bought this movie without even renting it or anything... This movie was so horrible, i didn't even take it back to the store, i wouldn't want anyone else to be subjected to this human poison, i just threw it in the trash, never mind the money, it was worth the price to be able to throw it away. The acting wasn't that bad, it wasn't good or anything. The story was horrible, and the ending was something i despise. He was a broken man, alcoholic. his life was a bunch of junk. i thought his horse, peanuts, was an awful device to show his childhood innocence, a dog would have been much much better. i also hate religion, so this ending without a doubt angered me. Jesus heals all... i hate that i know people just like this that are huge Christians and catholics, and time will show that god doesn't heal all, or anything. It was a horrible movie, if u have the option to see it, pass, or better yet buy it, or rent it, and throw it in the garbage, and leave the coffee grounds on it in the morning

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Poorly made but good message

Author: FordPrefect-42 from behind you.
24 July 2006

Against All Hope is a very poorly made, sometimes painfully so, movie. This is Michael Madsen's first movie, and it shows, he isn't that good in it. Some people might find the story laughable; an alcoholic realizes his life and family are falling apart so he calls a preacher as a last resort for help. After telling the preacher his story, he accepts Jesus Christ into his heart.

I actually found many of the religious scenes, as when Cecil Moe (Madsen) goes to a church but walks away from it, pretty realistic. I also liked how Cecil knows his life is breaking apart and tries to get help, but realizes only God can help him. At the end he realizes with the help of God he can go through life without drinking again.

This movie is not well made at all. The acting is bad, the script could use some work, and looks worse than my home videos, but it has a good message. Now, just because you become a Christian doesn't mean you will automatically be able to stop an addiction or heal your broken family, and Cecil realizes this and works hard to stay on track. Overall, if your a Christian you will appreciate how this movie portrays Christianity and if you aren't, you may find yourself being called to find out more about the faith.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

I want those 90 sum odd minutes of my life back.

Author: Henry Chinaski from United States
27 May 2012

I picked this up on one of our dollar store adventures a couple years ago and it's sat in a cabinet(still in the sealed plastic wrapping)until today when I was holed up from the heat outside and extremely bored. The only thing I can compare this movie to is a giant born again Christian train wreck on film. Not even alcohol content could make this any better, but at least if I would have had some while watching it(I mean A LOT), maybe, just maybe, with a little luck(and the will of God himself), I might have been able to block most, if not all of it out(oh well, too late now). If after reading these reviews you feel that you still want to give it a try and see for yourself, I recommend you skip the popcorn and soda and go with something at least 80 proof(no need for a glass either, drink it straight from the bottle).

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good Message, but Not So Good Film

Author: Mark Bruno ( from Fremont, CA
6 April 2009

I picked this DVD up at the Dollar Store. The DVD was on the 2 for $1 rack, but since it had Michael Madsen in it, I thought that since I had never seen the movie, I bought it anyway.

I must say that I didn't like the movie. The movie played more like a documentary or an advertisement for religion than anything else. I found that the director's use of flashbacks did not add to the story line for me. I would have preferred to view the story line in chronological order.

I won't throw it away like one of the other commentators, but It may be quite awhile before I would consider watching this movie again.

Who knows, since it was Michael Madsen's film debut, maybe it might have some archival value at some future date.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely God (no pun intended) Awful

Author: michael-stephens-1 from United States
3 December 2008

Poor Michael Madsen; he must be kicking himself to know folks have found out about this horrible flick. I really can't think of anything worse I have ever seen, except amateur porn. It's that bad, and all here; wooden acting, bad script, crappy moral ending, you hate it and it is in this movie.

My question is: "Who the Hell put $$$ into this piece of doggy doo? At least we could have seen Michael's sister Virginia nude in a scene, but I don't think even that would save this stinker...

For a cool guy that has made some exception movies, I want to know what wacky church sponsored this piece of crapola.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me

Author: sol from Brooklyn NY USA
29 March 2005

His life in shambles and no where to turn young Cecil Moe looks in the phone book for help and finds the name of a minister who's doors are open to everyone, day or night, who need guidance.

Coming over to Rev. Tom Bird's home in the early hours of the morning with only death on his mind and despair in his heart Cecil tells the reverend that "I want to kill myself but I'm too afraid to do it". With Rev. Bird listening Cecil tells the story of his sorry life beginning with the day that he found his mom Julia on the floor paralyzed from a stroke and later seeing the nurse who was taking care of her, Myma, abusing her and him being unable to stop it.

Myma later married Moe's dad Cliff and also treated him shabbily in fact she was responsible for his death. Cliff going to see Moe at the naval base before he shipped out to sea was pushed down a flight of stairs by an outraged Myma, she hated Moe with a passion, who didn't want him to spend any time with his son. Th fall caused Cliff to suffered a heart attack that eventually killed him.

With his father and mother dead and feeling hurt for not being able to prevent their hurt and suffering at the hands of that vicious witch Myma, Cecil's step-mother,Cecil turned to the bottle to forget his troubles. That only created new and more serious ones for Cecil by doing that.

Having a sweet and caring wife Jean and two cute and endearing boys, Ronnie and Stan, as well as a good job as a contractor doing roofing contracts all over the county Cecil later lost everything due to the booze he became hooked on. Now poor Cecil is in danger of losing his life.

Michael Madsen in his first movie role gives a both honest and touching performance as the troubled Cecil Moe who finds his way to God and thus the way out of the hell. A hell that he created not only for himself but for his family and friends as well.

Admittedly the film "Against All Hope" is very heavy in the religious slant of how Cecil's life was turned around and comes off in some scenes as if it were made by a major Christian TV network, like the 700 Club. Inspite off all that the movie made you feel so good watching how Cicel, with the help of Rev. Bird, overcame his addiction to alcohol and not only having himself become a kind and feeling person but also how he turned the lives around of everyone that he came in contact with, after his own personal revival, that you overlooked that fact. Even though at the same time we have to accept that the events in the film about Cecil's overcoming alcoholism and all the evils that go along with it, through his faith in God and acceptance of Jesus Christ, are based on a true story.

Moving little film with a cast of unknowns that really grabs you and shows you that with faith there's nothing that one can't overcome and how it, faith in a higher power as well as in oneself, can save anyone like it did Cecil if he or she only believes in it. The Reverand Bird was played by Cecil Moe himself who the movie "Against All Hope" was based on and who, Cecil Moe, was played by actor Michael Madsen.

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Debut film worth skipping

Author: larabeeslady
7 July 2008

An actor's first film is usually something one can afford to miss - it's often that first job where the lack of film experience by everyone involved is truly on display, and this film is no exception.

But worse than that, even by 1982 standards this is so bad, it's hysterically funny. Filmed entirely in the Chicago area on an obviously small budget, most of the acting by the entire cast is stiff, wooden, and cartoonish - a cross between a high school play and bad community theater. Noise from nearby traffic often drowns out the dialog, and the dialog is truly bad, very declarative in a way that comes off as forced and expedient rather than natural and organic. Scenes are contrived and choppy, and even though the characters go through a span of years, neither the children nor the adults age at all.

I do believe it's possible to make a Christian film that's palatable to a large, secular audience, but too often the creators of such films are so focused on 'The Message' or in this case, their own autobiographical ties to the project that good film production values are tossed aside. (I'm sure it's no coincidence that the main character has the same name as the producer/director/editor - and cast member.)

Luckily, Michael Madsen was much more interesting - and believable - to watch in his subsequent films. Careers like his are certainly not built on films like this one.

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5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A real surprise

Author: jim_60071 ( from Chicago, Illinois
15 November 2004

This DVD was a real surprise. Madsen plays Cecil Moe who has to come to grips with his alcoholism and the way his life is falling apart. It is a familiar story but the surprise is that the this movie really tries to portray the role Christianity plays in the lives of many people in the U.S. This doesn't happen very often in movies. It shows how faith can change a man in crisis, and how he feels when his wife does not become interested in the religious experience. In spite of the flaws in the movie that other reviewers point out, it is worthy of your attention, if you are interested in seeing Christianity portrayed as large numbers of ordinary people experience it.

This was filmed in Chicago and some northern suburbs. The real life Cecil Moe appears in the movie as the minister.

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