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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

What an amazing bio-film.

Author: frodo-nj from United States
30 April 2006

Just caught this at the Tribeca Film Festival and beyond the comments during the Q&A session with the director, this film was an amazing time capsule of New York City during the 50's and 60's.

After watching this film, one of the strongest feelings that I experienced was a deep regret that I never had the chance to meet this person or walk into his bar.

I loved the concept of there being no velvet rope, if you had a dollar for a beer, you were welcome.

Hopefully, this is put out on DVD or at least released soon. I know several people that would really enjoy watching it.

I highly recommend it.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The Falstaff of saloon owners...

Author: JasparLamarCrabb from Boston, MA
19 July 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A highly enjoyable look at the life & times of Toots Shor, the Falstaffian saloon keeper whose eponymous NYC bar was the watering hole for a who's who of comics, athletes, mobsters and politicians from the 1940s through the 1960s. Shor, never one to shy away from publicity, mingled with everyone from Jackie Gleason to Frank Costello to Richard Nixon. He had his name in one or more newspaper columns virtually every day. Directed by his granddaughter Kristi Jacobson, TOOTS is not just a loving portrait of Shor, but a sometimes melancholy film, relying on audio recordings made by Shor toward the end of his life (he didn't exactly end up on top). Nevertheless, it's insightful, fun and very entertaining. Yogi Berra, Frank Gifford & Pete Hamill are among the talking heads interviewed.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Enjoyable in many ways

Author: jhailey from Marshall Islands
22 May 2009

Just saw the movie on DVD. Shor's granddaughter tells several stories: about Toots, about New York, about Prohibition, about the changing times of the 1960s, and about changing relationships between stars and the public. She's a good storyteller: she's dug out old photographs and news clips from the early 1900s through 1970; the black-and-white scenes of New York City's neon are wonderful; she's found aging sportswriters for whom Toots Shor's place was the watering hole in the age of Dimaggio, Mantle, and Gifford. She gives us a take on ethnicities and religious backgrounds (not so much on race) in the twentieth century. And at the center of it is this unique guy -- tough, quick-witted, generous, a warm father and husband, sly about his ego -- a man who saw things in terms of personal relationships. It's a personal film that transcends the personal. A master class in documentary film-making.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The best film at Tribeca Film Festival

Author: iheartfashion25 from United States
23 January 2007

This doc. is a must see. It really and truly is a gem of a film. I saw this also at the Tribeca Film Festival and it was by far my favorite film! Not only do you wish that you were able to party at the original Toots and meet Toots himself, but I found myself so disappointed that I was born in 1978 and didn't get to experience NYC during that time.

The film does do a great job really taking you back to the NY in the 50's. You almost feel like you knew Toots himself and had a drink at his bar.

Also the interviews with legends like Frank Gifford and Whitey Ford are priceless. Some of the stories they tell are priceless too.

I hope this movie is released b/c I would love to see it again!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

a different world, and lots more fun

Author: blanche-2 from United States
3 January 2013

"We didn't worry about being 97 with Alzheimer's," a man on the documentary Toots says. "We lived short, happy lives in those days!" The world of restaurateur Toots Shor is explored in this 2006 documentary put together by his granddaughter, Kristi Jacobson. The documentary covers Shor's rise to fame and his famous restaurant, where sports figures, writers, mobsters, film stars, presidents and other politicians would pile in and drink side by side with the common man. As Frank Gifford explains, the sports figures made about as much money as the sports writers -- there was no need for an agent, no need for a lawyer -- they were just guys like anyone else. "You're not going to sit down and talk to a man who gets $25 million for throwing a baseball," musician Peter Duchin says.

In the '30s, '40s, and '50s, Toots Shor and his restaurant thrived in his New York, a place he considered the most dazzling, exciting place in the world, a world of energy and atmosphere. It was a simpler time - again, as pointed out in the documentary - not an innocent time, but a simpler time. The alcohol flowed like rivers and the smoke filled the room, and all you were judged on was whether or not you could hold your liquor.

When things began to change in the '60s, a time of political unrest, assassinations, the recognition of alcoholism as a disease, health considerations, etc., it was harder to go out and just have a good time. The heavy partying days were over. Greenwich Village became the place to be, and Toots couldn't change with the times. Couldn't, wouldn't - he just didn't get it. He became an antique. Tax problems forced him out of business, although many of his old-time friends -- Gifford, Sinatra, Duchin, and countless others, tried to help him. The money he owed was too enormous.

This is such a wonderful documentary, showing New York as it used to be, a party town, post-war, post-Prohibition, more carefree than it later became. Shor was in the center of it. He was a loyal friend to everyone, even mobsters. But when the drug people started to take over, much changed. As an interviewee put it, "There are not nice people who deal in drugs." Though Shor's star descended and he lost his money, this documentary isn't really a downer. He was a remarkable man, he had a blast, and he said if he had to do it over again, he would. I wish there was a place today for a Toots Shor.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Macho profile of a New York icon

Author: evening1 from United States
26 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I had heard the name Toots Shor but never really knew who he was. This movie adequately answered the question.

It was somewhat interesting to hear about Shor's very humble beginnings -- he was the son of parents who both died tragic, separate deaths -- and the goings-on at his celebrity-studded restaurants, all against the backdrop of always-interesting New York.

I loved the anecdote of how Shor decided to give his showgirl girlfriend a birthday party and when she worried no one would want to come he assured her, "Oh, they'll come," and he packed the house.

This is a very male-heavy documentary. With the exception of a baseball team owner's wife and one of Shor's daughters, most of the talking heads here are men, and you hear from each of them repeatedly.

While the involvement of mobsters and topics like gambling and tax evasion are touched upon, I got the sense a lot was probably left out of this film. For example, if you read Shor's profile on Wikipedia, mention is made of a late-life daughter who was raised by Bob Hope and his wife. Come again? This puzzling point isn't even mentioned.

In all, this is a not-so-bad film to listen to as background while taking care of more important things (in my case, paperwork for my business).

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