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Evocateur: Morton Downey Jr Movie [Blu-ray]

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In the late '80s, the masses fixated on a single, sociopathic star. Morton Downey Jr. tore apart the traditional talk format by turning debate of current issues into a gladiator pit.

His blow-smoke-in-your-face style drew a rabid cult following, but also the title "Father of Trash Television."

Product Details

  • Actors: Gloria Allred, Michele Bachmann
  • Directors: Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, Jeremy Newberger
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 3, 2013
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00DI01382
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,881 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Although shock type tv or reality shows where the host gets in guests' faces and jeers at them (or even goes way beyond that) make me cringe, this film sheds much light on Morton Downey Jr's appeal - and why he made headlines regularly - although his fame lasted a relatively short time. The filmmakers, former fans of Downey, have created an intriguing perspective, one that doesn't totally flatter the man or condemn him. Both views are included.

I actually remember seeing Downey's show when it was still being aired. The filmmakers have definitely captured the essence of those shows as well as an in depth look at Downey's place in television history. I had somehow forgotten the details of his aggressive (rabid might be more accurate) and intense persona. A chain smoker, he would puff away while assessing his audiences and guests.

He'd also ramp up audience energy (they didn't need much encouragement) until many would be yelling and insulting the guests along with him. Downey's bullying and taunts set the wave for shock jocks and other incendiary television hosts to come. Viewing the faces of those in his audiences reveals just how easily he could tap into their anger and turn it from a simmering undercurrent into a full boil.

Even if you watched every one of his shows when they were on air, this film includes clips and footage which have never been seen before - as well as intriguing animation in sections. This is a chance to see early reality television, a must for anyone interested in how it all began - and evolved. Along the way, the filmmakers reveal not only how Downey drew a following but his missteps and eventual fall. I'm not an expert in social or television history so I can't say that Downey was THE trendsetter for this type of television.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sheryl Fechter on November 8, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
The Morton Downey Jr. show debuted in 1987 in New York City to his ranting; "The morality of this country is on a low ebb and getting lower" [audience is screaming] "What are YOU gonna do about it?" [audience is on their feet - screaming]. Downey Jr. definitely knew how to incite a riot and created the first mob mentality in his followers. People couldn't wait to tune in and see what he would say next, how far he would go, and how badly he could insult, shock and infuriate his own guests. The ongoing question falls into; "Was it all real or staged?" One was never sure if it was partially set up, all setup, or altogether real. This intrigued his audiences into its speedy syndication and tuned in America to the beginning of reality television as we know it today...

Seemingly now, these are pretty pervasive; reality shows are on most every channel, but they had a pioneer - A pioneer with no limits and no boundaries and for his fans, this was the appeal. Many people even saw his rabid audience as frighteningly entertaining and consequently called it "The Beast". He was that outrageous; wholeheartedly agreeing with his participants then immediately turning around to mercilessly attack them verbally. All the while purporting he was "the voice for all of those who go unheard". Who appeared to go unheard was actually his own daughter. During the film, she weighs in constantly about the fear she had of even viewing her father's show as she did not know him this way at home. He was two very different personas, on air and off.

Morton Downey Jr. came from very diverse parents. His father was quite a successful singer and entertainer during his generation. 'Sean' (Morton Downey Jr.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark Turner on December 31, 2013
Format: DVD
Rather than talk about another horror film being released (WORLD WAR Z is a good movie by the way) I thought I'd take a look at a movie few people may have heard of but that is well worth watching. Documentaries rarely get the attention they deserve and it's only those that choose outlandish subjects that get the most attention. That happens to be the case here with EVOCATEUR: THE MORTON DOWNEY JR. MOVIE.

For those old enough to recall Morton Downey Jr. suddenly appeared on the scene of late night television in the late 80s. His was a talk show unlike any other. Keep in mind this was before Jerry Springer brought about "real guests" with unusual problems. Downey rose in popularity like a rocket, with ratings that were phenomenal and then plummeted nearly as fast. What most didn't know was the man behind the scenes. This film offers a look at that as well as his popularity.

The son of famous tenor Morton Downey Sr., Downey always wanted to follow in his father's footsteps as a singer. Unfortunately he didn't have near the voice. In addition to that his home life was one where he always felt not just a rivalry with his father but somehow overshadowed by the man's success. This was a driving force in his life, what made him the overachiever he later became.

One of the most surprising things in the film is to discover that Downey was a supporter of the Democratic Party and good friend of the Kennedy family, especially Ted Kennedy. The man who would later become the voice of Conservatives actually leaned to the left in his earlier years. That all changed as his need for acceptance and popularity drove him in a different direction.
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Evocateur: Morton Downey Jr Movie [Blu-ray]
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