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Cul de Sac is a great flick. It's about Shawn Nelson, the unemployed plumber and former Gulf War vet, who took an M-60 tank on a six mile rampage across San Diego. There's footage of it on shows like "World's Most Dangerous Police Chases".
Shawn was suffering from depression after a divorce, drug addiction (meth) and the death of his parents. It also sounds like he had a unhealthy dose of paranoia. Shawn used to tell his buddies and co-workers that one day he'd steal a tank and drive up the steps of city hall. There's some cool interviews. Shawn's older brother talks about how much he misses him and said what a nice guy he was, as he gets choked up. Shawn's buddies were heavy crystal meth users but he spent a lot of his free time teaching them the basics of plumbing so they could find work.
Shawn was pretty out there too: he dug a 25 foot deep mine shaft in the basement of his small San Diego home in a quiet residential neighborhood. He became detached from reality when he believed he was finding gold dust and flakes in the dirt beneath his house. Supposedly, there were small amounts of gold in the rocks so he filed with the city for mineral rights on his property. His claim was denied. Enter disillusionment. Shawn was obviously a heavy crystal user and the goldmining sounds like a tweak thing. Shawn had generators in the basement and had even converted his jacuzzi into a sluice for his goldpanning. His buddies, all former meth addicts, were telling stories about all going down the mineshaft to dig for gold. It became a community tweak project. "Let's go to Shawn's to dig for gold". Meth heads and parolees would stop by Shawn's, do drugs, and then "head down the mine". Shawn's backyard was brimming with mounds of dirt. The neighbors must've been freaked out.
The documentary attempts to link Shawn's erratic methamphetamine-fueled behaviour back to the defence industry in San Diego. During the Cold War bomber crews would use methamphetamine to stay awake and alert for 24 hours straight. The filmmaker suggests San Diego, a post war community made up of military families and defence contractors, was a haven for meth as early as the 1950s.
When his mineral rights were denied by the local government it was probably the last straw for Shawn. His grip on reality seemed to be tenuous at best. His disillusionment now turned to anger. The rest is history. He stole a tank, crushed cars and RV's, knocked over utility poles but eventually tried to cross a concrete highway divider. The tank was stuck. San Diego Police opened the hatch with bolt cutters and shot 35-year-old Shawn Nelson to death. From the helicopter video, it looked like he wanted to cross the divider and drive headlong into oncoming traffic. Based on that, I think the officer's actions were justifiable.
A sad story but in a sense he's gained immortality. No one who has seen the video of his tank rampage will ever forget it!
A Shot at Glory (2000)
Robert Duvall's Scottish accent...
...was awful. It was almost as annoying as that ridiculous Mike Myers bloke performing his Shrek/FatB*stard routine. Mike Myers doesn't sound Scottish, he sounds like a South African who has a Scottish cousin. Bobby Duvall is a wonderful actor but he will have to admit that he can't do a Scottish accent. Typical Hollywood...they think we're all idiot TV zombies. At some point Brad Pitt realized he couldn't do an Irish (Oirish) accent (The Devil's Own) so Guy Ritchie did the smart thing and made him indecipherable as a Irish gypsy in Snatch. End of rant...just sick and tired of hearing butchered accents.
Teddy1066 (The Puerto Rican and Greek Technique)
Interesting Irish Indie Film
Meeting Che Guevara is an interesting short indie film combining revolutionary themes. A sci-fi interpretation of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds set against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the film was an enjoyable and captivating twenty minutes.
The story centers around a deluded girl who is reading The War of the Worlds and is told by the 'Man from Mayberry Hill' (John Hurt) that she has to find Che and give him a letter. You realize the sci fi element when you come across an invisible man.
On the downside, there were a few anachronisms present. For example, if Che was in Ireland in 1964, then it was several years after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Another pet peeve was the Karl Sheils performance as Che. He certainly resembled Guevara (greasy hair, beard) but I think he made Che too Cuban. Sheils' accent sounded more Tony Montana than Ernesto Guevara. Overall it was worth watching and the soundtrack gets stuck in your head...
Sidenote: Che Guevara spent a few hours in Ireland on a layover in 1964 and gave a rare interview to Irish journalist (Sean Egan) It looks like some of the footage from this event is in the film. Guevara did in fact have an Irish ancestor from County Galway. Ana Isabela Lynch was his paternal grandmother. She emigrated to Argentina during the famine.
Flash Gordon (1936)
Maybe my childhood wasn't so bad?
We had to get up early when I was a kid but sometimes it was worth it. Flash Gordon was the bombdiggy. Buster Crabbe convinced you he was Flash and he would do anything to stop Ming the Merciless. Ming was a real evil piece of work. For the 1930's the special effects were very good, better than the BBC's special effects today! What a great way to spend childhood...being involved in space adventures to save the world from Ming and his purple dust. The other thing I appreciated was how Flash got along with his friends. There was a lot of camarderie. This show has stood the test of time.
Drug-Taking and the Arts (1993)
Storm Thorgeson directs this insightful documentary. Based on the idea that drugs have influenced some of our greatest minds (Poe, Baudelaire etc.) it documents just how influential drug experiences have been on the minds of great writers, poets and thinkers. It shows that one hundred years ago many people thirsted for some form of 'drug' to fuel imagination and creativity. Storm Thorgeson may be known to some viewers as the designer of Pink Floyd album covers. Informative, enjoyable, and spiritual...
An Emotional Human Story
I have just finished watching this film and I was moved enough to create an account and write about this film. Based on the last hours of a condemned man's life the documentary focuses on several aspects. The confessions of friends versus the pain of the bereaved. The rights of the accused versus the rights of the victim. It is painful to watch in the sense you know this will not have a happy ending. It's a very human film. It is rare that a film comes along that invokes such difficult emotions to deal with. It was very sad to see the mother and friends of the executed man recount his final hours.
Is capital punishment a hallmark of a civilized society? I suggest you watch the film and reevaluate your stance...
The Patriot (2000)
As an avid movie critic, I was disappointed by The Patriot's endless stream of inaccuracies and poorly written screenplay. As a professor of history, I was saddened to see Mel Gibson in another inaccurate portrayal of the British Army and her people.
I felt the screenplay was very poor due to unrealistic dialogue and poor character/plot development. The cinematography was a bright spot, but the movie was slowed down to a crawl by Gibson's overacting and poor mastery of a colonial accent.
The direction was a let-down, but was inhibited by a non-linear screenplay...somewhat reminiscent of Godard. I was disappointed that I had paid so much to see so little.
Killing Zoe (1993)
"We must be in and out, or they'll be suspicioooon."
Excellent. No movie can top this for kids our age in this genre. Avary's story and direction? Perfect, simply perfect. I found the only main detractor was Stolz. He was adequate, but the movie aguably would have been a smash with someone else.
I'll let others describe this movie, but if you're a Tarantino fan you'll betray him for Avary. All Tarantino did was Resevoir Dogs, all the rest was Quentin's annoying/unrealistic conversations to feed his bloated ego and his receding hairline.
Anglade's portrayal of Eric makes me want to see anything he is in. He will inspire you to learn French or at the very least speak English in a French accent like his (much to your girlfriend's dismay).
Oliver was also another highpoint. You'll know him from The Krays! Delpy is gorgeous.
If there is a higher life form than Jean H. Anglad then by God science has yet to identify it.
A Brief History of Time (1991)
An introspective look at the relationship between Hawking and the space/time contingent. This film expores the Gallilean and Newtonian laws and there relation to Einstein's Theory of General Relativity.
The film is methodically directed, exposing details of the man (Hawking) as well as his work (Black Holes). Interviews with his family are a little too long so sadly there is less development of his theories and ideas.
A Philip Glass soundtrack superbly compliments the film. Only one other man could compose such haunting instellar melodies (Jean Michel Jarre).
Overall I would highly recommend this movie on the basis of Hawking's 'nuggets of wisdom' and his adequate explanation of an Event Horizon!
A cool, but quirky flik
I suppose most of us bought this movie for $90.00 or got it on eBay. In any case, I've owned this movie for five years, but only watched it a few times. I watched it again last night with my fiance and we both really enjoyed it. The main actor (a German fella) is very strange. He has a real thick accent and is a typical German. He starts the movie drug-free, then takes a trip w/ Estelle to Ibiza, did anyone else notice how much he slaps her?? Then he ends up dealing for an ex-Nazi.
They trip at bonfire parties, deal, and try Horse. He gets addicted...She has a pattern of ruining men...
I am a dedicated Pink Floyd fan, so that's why I bought it, I must agree with the previous postings...the soundtrack is excellent. Ibiza Bar, Cymbaline and Main Theme all did the movie justice.
Well worth watching, but good luck finding it!