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Z Channel - A Magnificent Obsession

Z Channel - A Magnificent Obsession (2004)


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Release Date: Oct 13, 2004 Wide



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 1,780

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Movie Info

The Z Channel wasn't America's first premium cable outlet specializing in feature films, and it wasn't the most commercially successful, but few, if any, had as strong an impact on the film industry or a more influential list of customers. Based in California and blanketing sections of the state dominated by the movie business, Z Channel had been operating for several years before former screenwriter Jerry Harvey took over as head of programming in 1980. Under the guidance of Harvey and his

Jun 27, 2005

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All Critics (14) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (0) | DVD (4)

...a fascinating, thoroughly engaging documentary...

October 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

...films like Z Channel help to further my education providing an enriching experience for any serious cineaste.

March 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Entertainment Insiders
Entertainment Insiders

What comes across most is the deep affection that viewers continue to have for this pioneering cable channel.

February 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

A glass darkly held to watchers in the dark that succumb, now and again, to the rapture of the screen.

January 31, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Xan Cassavetes' new documentary Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession recaptures the thrill of catching a rare film on the channel.

December 3, 2004 Full Review Source:

How Z Channel affected the development and release of movies is interesting

November 30, 2004 Full Review Source:

This hugely entertaining documentary tells the surprisingly engrossing story of a beloved cable channel in Los Angeles.

November 29, 2004 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A film buffs delight.

November 19, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Recommended viewing for any serious film lover.

November 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Planet Sick-Boy
Planet Sick-Boy

It's thoughtful and arresting.

November 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Not only a terrific film to watch for video rental recommendations, it's simply a terrific film.

November 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Audience Reviews for Z Channel - A Magnificent Obsession

Z Channel - A Magnificent Obsession is a pretty damn good documentary about one of the first and possibly the best (from the sound of it if nothing else) cable movie channels ever. Z Channel not only played an incredibly wide selection of great movies that were swept under the rug by studios for what was considered disappointing box office performances, but it also helped institute what we know today as the director's cut. That being said, Z Channel - A Magnificent Obsession is about the channel itself and its founder/programming director, Jerry Harvey. This documentary basically has one of a few things going on at any given time. There's either 1) a clip from any given movie that played on Z's eclectic rotation, 2) an interview with a director whose career was either jump started or saved by Harvey or 3) an interview with one of Harvey's close friends/exes/employees talking about how brilliant and/or fucking insane he was. This documentary also really makes you appreciative and grateful considering most of us wouldn't have heard of the movies we love today, let alone would have been able to see them if not for Harvey's work at Z Channel. This documentary is a must for any serious or even fair weather film buff who can even appreciate something different. Watching this movie also opens an incredibly huge can of worms by adding almost 2 dozen movies to my must-see list. It's like Martin Scorsese's Personal Journey Through American Movies all over again...
March 5, 2010

Super Reviewer

Engaging and entertaining doc that is a must for film nerds. (Although, I really wish QT would calm the fuck down when being interviewed.) It's really interesting after watching this and reading Easy Riders, Raging Bulls at the same time makes me want to reconsider my career path. It's a shame that this channel isn't still around and the wreckage that this man left behind. Good thing the last name of the director of this doc was Cassavettes who was able to tell a great story.
June 8, 2009

Super Reviewer

Z Channel: A Magnicent Obsession is a film buffs delight, but it also should interest the casual movie-goer searching for a guide to movies not that familiar but worth seeing. Directed by Xan Cassavetes, daughter of maverick filmmaker John Cassavetes. This well-crafted documentary puts together a fitting tribute to Jerry Harvey, who was head of programming at Z Channel, an independent groundbreaking Pay TV station founded in 1974 (before there were video stores or HBO).

Films shown were as diverse as Heaven's Gate, Fitzcarraldo, The Leopard, Andrei Rublev, Das Boot, The 400 Blows, The Wild Bunch, Salvador, Once Upon A Time In America, 1900 and many others that would have been overlooked and most likely forgotten if it were not for Z Channel. Many of these films bombed in the theater because they were cut up by hack editors hired by the studio, but Jerry was able to get them shown in their uncut version, and this later led to films re-released as director's cut. It was through such a cross-section of art films and commercial ones, European, Asian and American, that Z station built a loyal and broad audience. A host of film people are interviewed such as James Woods, Jacqueline Bisset, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Altman and Jim Jarmush who speak of Jerry's contributions and his love for film.
August 24, 2008
El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

Excellent documentary for movie buffs, charting the life of an LA pay channel that dared to be different and its parallel with the tragic life of its key programmer, which suffuses the film with a melancholy air.
October 20, 2007
Gordon A

Super Reviewer

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