Dreams With Sharp Teeth (2008)
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Critic Reviews for Dreams With Sharp Teeth
If there is a criticism to be lobbed at Nelson's judicious but otherwise highly entertaining tribute, it's that it too often plays the role of the fawning, autograph-hungry fanboy, willing to accept all of the abuse Ellison wishes to hurl at it.
It would seem no easy task conveying the essence of a bigger-than-life figure like Ellison in a 96-minute film. But Nelson, producer of Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man, makes it look easy.
All told, Ellison is a fascinating person to spend 96 minutes with. But you probably shouldn't risk that 97th.
What makes this bracing documentary, 27 years in the making, is Ellison's incredible personal history.
Directed by Erik Nelson, Dreams With Sharp Teeth recalls the career of Harlan Ellison, a runty young geek who evolved into a world-famous artist.
Documentarian Erik Nelson, overcautious of his subject, is content to let Ellison luxuriate in his legacy of infamy--as a lothario, and a litigious and pugilistic combatant.
Audience Reviews for Dreams With Sharp Teeth
Harlan's life imitates his art. Angry. Rebellious. Uncompromising.
This documentary is relatively even-handed as it presents Harlan Ellison, a prolific, important, but impishly angry writer. There are several laugh-out-loud moments of the cringe humor ilk as we listen to Ellison rant about fans, writers, Hollywood, politics, and writing. I enjoyed listening to much of what he had to say, but I don't think I could stand to be in the room with him unless I knew that he liked me and was unarmed.
Creative personalities, however bright their stars gleam, collapse under the weight of the world's pressures. Harlan Ellison, the brightest of all these literary stars, takes these impossible problems and swallows them whole. So is the subject of this insightful documentary, centering on the giant, with awards in the genres of sci-fi, mystery, and political commentary. Not only has this pillar written 70 novels, hundreds of short stories, nonfiction, teleplays, and screenplays, but is one of the most interesting human beings I have ever seen. Following his life in the limelight as an intellectual of unparalleled comparison, and his early years as a downtrodden Jewish teen in anti-Semitic Ohio, we are given a complicated maze in which to extract the personage of Ellison. Not only is he against all forms of bullsh*t, but was a figure in the civil rights movement, and a mouthpiece for education. Putting the praises aside, the trailer reveals the true payoff, which is that Ellison is also an intolerable narrator of his own life. He has awesome (and I mean that as in awe inspiring) knowledge to lay down in commentary throughout the film, speaking of what it is to be a writer, a famous personality, and an independent entity among the Hollywood elite and cultural milieu. He is loud, obnoxious, and at times reviles you, but is so entertaining and uncaring of the views of populist America, that not to appreciate his audacity feels like heresy. In the midst of all that prophecy he lays down, he is also a bitter, old, angry man, but with the credentials he has, it's hard to imagine him being anything resembling timid. He is, by all accounts, the most original person alive. Peppering his own narration is that of Robin Williams, Neil Gaiman, and Dan Simmons, great artists who not only see him as a glorious person, but the human he so truly embodies. This, is a film you must see, and cannot fully be explained. A film where creativity blooms, ripe to pick for the eager mind.
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