IMDb > Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles (2011)

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Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles -- An urban mystery unfurls as one man pieces together the surreal meaning of hundreds of cryptic tiled messages that have been appearing in city streets across the U.S. and South America.
Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles -- An urban mystery unfurls as one man pieces together the surreal meaning of hundreds of cryptic tiled messages that have been appearing in city streets across the U.S. and South America.
Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles -- An urban mystery unfurls as one man pieces together the surreal meaning of hundreds of cryptic tiled messages that have been appearing in city streets across the U.S. and South America.

Overview

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Plot:
An urban mystery unfurls as one man pieces together the surreal meaning of hundreds of cryptic tiled messages that have been appearing in city streets across the U.S. and South America. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Not worth 90 minutes of your time. Just get the facts as laid out in press coverage See more (11 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Justin Duerr ... Himself - Toynbee Tile Resarcher
Marc Duerr ... Himself - Justin's Brother
Kevin Riley ... Himself - Justin's Longtime Friend
Abby Miller ... Herself - Justin's Ex-Girlfriend
Steve Weinik ... Himself - Toynbee Tile Resarcher
Colin Smith ... Himself - Toynbee Tile Resarcher
Frannie Seybold ... Himself - Sevy's Neighbor
Anna Marie Thompson ... Herself - Sevy's Neighbor
Joe Raimondo ... Himself - Witness
John T. Arthur ... Himself - Witness
George Arone ... Herself - Sevy's Neighbor
Rose Pedula ... Herself - Sevy's Neighbor

Directed by
Jon Foy 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Jon Foy 
Colin Smith 

Produced by
Doug Block .... executive producer
Jon Foy .... producer
Colin Smith .... producer
Steve Weinik .... associate producer
 
Original Music by
Jon Foy 
 
Film Editing by
Jon Foy 
 
Editorial Department
Steve Pequignot .... colorist
Steve Pequignot .... on-line editor
 
Other crew
Kevin Corcoran .... post-production assistance
Nathan Rulf .... production assistance
Daniel Satorius .... legal counsel
Marc H. Simon .... distribution legal: Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard, LLP
 
Thanks
Trevor Anderson .... thanks
Tommy Avallone .... thanks
Barbara Aylesworth .... thanks
Kurt Boehner .... thanks
Ellen Brodsky .... thanks
Dan Buschel .... thanks
Kate Jacobi .... thanks
Elliot V. Kotek .... thanks
Ellyn Loy .... thanks
Todd Luoto .... thanks
Robert Margolis .... thanks
Roberta Marie Munroe .... thanks
Pat Scanlon .... thanks
Shannon Sharpe .... thanks
Timothy Unruh .... thanks
Sarah Louise Zelnik .... thanks
 

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Additional Details

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Runtime:
86 min
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Did You Know?

Quotes:
Justin Duerr:Well, stranger things have happened.
[pause]
Justin Duerr:Nah, that's not true. Nothing stranger has ever happened.
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FAQ

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Not worth 90 minutes of your time. Just get the facts as laid out in press coverage, 23 November 2016

The rise of the internet in the 1990s suddenly gave people the ability to talk and form communities about all kinds of weird niche hobbies and mysteries that, as isolated individuals, they previously had to muse over in silence. One of these, I remember, was the "Toynbee Tiles", linoleum squares left on the streets of Philadelphia over these years that contained the cryptic message "Toynbee idea in Kubrick's 2001 Resurrect dead on planet Jupiter". (It's an odd American analogue to the mysterious man in Australia who used to go around scrawling "Eternity" everywhere.) The Toynbee tile maker was obviously a nutter, but in spite of much speculation among enthusiasts who would upload photos of tile sightings and try to riddle out the message, his or her identity remained a mystery... until this 2011 documentary film.

RESURRECT DEAD tracks the work of an investigative team of nerds as they put together the pieces of Toynbee sightings from the late 1970s to the present, ultimately identifying the tile maker with an overwhelming degree of accuracy. These are Justin Duerr, the main face of the film, along with Colin Smith and Steve Weinik. Justin Duerr strikes this viewer as rather autistic, and his consuming interest in collecting Toynbee tile information and social awkwardness fills every frame. (I might not be the only one who thinks that his jerky mannerisms and obsession resemble cinema auteur Wes Anderson.) But Duerr is also an artist, and he's so curious about the Toynbee tile maker because he recognizes in the man, mentally ill though the tiler might be, a fellow artist and creative individual.

The Toynbee tiler wasn't just leaving tiles. For a time in the 1980s, he would drive around Philadelphia broadcasting his theories over pirate radio. In the middle portion of RESURRECT DEAD, the trio of investigators make contact with radio enthusiasts who prove to have had some limited contact with the tiler back in the day. As the film ends, they have traced the tile maker to a Philadelphia address that belongs to a paranoid recluse. He refuses to answer the door, but his neighbours provide key information, like the fact that his car has a hole in the floorboard, presumably to drop the tiles surreptitiously. The decision to name this recluse might upset some viewers, but besides that single knock on the door and a mailed letter, the filmmakers don't try to intrude on his life, and they decide to just let him be, basking in the satisfaction that they've solved the mystery.

I was intrigued by the tiles when I first came across the Toynbee tile community on the early web, around 1995 or so, and though I was never an obsessive like these filmmakers, the idea of the Toynbee tiles remained in the back of my mind as a quirky mystery over the years. While I was happy to discover that everything is now clear, I was disappointed by this documentary film. Its 90-minute length has a lot of filler, like dumb slow-motion replays of the group looking stunned as they learn key facts. Justin Duerr's narration to the camera is chock-a-block with "like", "uh...", "so...", "you know..." -- could he have not thought more clearly what he was going to say for his own film? Ultimately, I commend these investigators for their achievement, but anyone curious about the Toynbee tiles should just read the bare facts as laid out in 5 minutes' reading of press coverage of the investigation, or on everyone's favourite online encyclopedia. Sitting through an hour and a half of this doc just feels like wasted time.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles (2011)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
WHO IS THE BIRDMAN unsorted-169-79012
Mystery solved. Ending is not truthful. robcrow76
No one cleans the street? No one picks tiles up? davidjp-2
All anyone needs to know disposablenick
Scumbag Director shyzah
For those of you think this movie is inconclusive MaxTubman
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