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Fast, Cheap and Out of Control (1997)

Dave Hoover , George Mendonça , Errol Morris  |  PG |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dave Hoover, George Mendonça, Rodney Brooks, Raymond A. Mendez
  • Directors: Errol Morris
  • Producers: Errol Morris, Julia Sheehan, Kathy Trustman, Lindsay Law, Mark Lipson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 24, 2002
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CX9Z
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,646 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fast, Cheap and Out of Control" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Errol Morris' newest subjects are four eccentrics: MIT robot scientist Rodney Brooks; a topiary gardener George Mendonca; retired lion tamer Dave Hoover; and Ray Mendez, an authority on tiny mole rats. Morris creates a profound meditation on man's relationship with the world around him.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How about a review of Luanne Brown's appaling review? February 14, 2005
First off, I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and find it bizarre that it merits an Amazon editorial review of such shabby professionalism. Who is Luanne Brown? Why is she reviewing a movie that she clearly doesn't comprehend (or didn't even watch), and how can she maintain a job in a field that requires a level of writing above hmmm... junior-high school book report? Not only is this review a total hack job, she also concocts some weird assumptions in her review that have no basis in the film that I watched, entitled 'Fast, Cheap & Out of Control' by Errol Morris.

Does George Mendonca really follow his passion in topiary gardening 'because he can'? Is Dave Hoover really filled with 'hand-trembling fear' dealing with the animals to which he's dedicated his life's work? She manages to follow such ridiculous notions by dismissing Rodney Brooks as a 'real wacko', hardly deserving given the fact that he is a robotics expert at MIT and Luanne is... Who again?

Why would I bother wasting my time with this? Well Amazon is unfortunately where a lot of people will check for information about products before making a purchase, and in this respect, I believe an editorial review should be balanced and at least somewhat deserved. Unfortunately, Luanne's review comes across as a film student crying foul because someone's breaking the rules learned in editing class. Sorry, it is not 'out-of-control', Errol Morris happens to be completely 'in control' and more than a 'voyeurestic peek', this is a captivating work of art that merits repeated viewings. Yes, it's weird and obscure, but that's the point --- why the 'rich and famous' would be interesting is anyone's guess.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
It confuses me how a documentary can stroll in and bump La Dolce Vita, Barton Fink and Delicatessen down 1 notch on my top 10 list.
In the first third of the film I reckoned the film to be just a gorgeous montage. A topiary gardener, a robot engineer, a mole-rat expert and a lion tamer... each doing their own bizarre thing. Visually great and certainly interesting. But at the midpoint the movie became alive for me. The passion the characters have for their respective activity forces the viewer to become a fifth character, a ghost eccentric facing the screen. Morris not only validates your passion, but makes you repent for not being more intense. Each day you've spent not doing what you love seems very wasted. And the remainder of your life becomes a resource that you ought not to squander.
"Fast, Cheap and Out of Control" subtly and generously leads anyone in the audience equipped with a gut, a heart and a brain to wake up and feel alive. This film melds what makes David Salle a great painter with what makes Gerald Stern great poet. Morris will certainly become known as a master.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not about "weird," it's about "life" January 12, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I purchased this video expecting from the description to watch "weirdos" in hopeless, inconsequentual pursuits, only to find a film that makes a strong statement on "life."
The juxtaposition of the rat moles going about their core, instinctive routines and the scientest attempting to find reason in them; the lion tamer, attempting to control the core, instinctive behaviors of his "actors,"; the topiary gardener, attempting to shape "life" from the instinctive and natural growth of his shrubs; and the robot engineer, attempting to recreate "instinctive" reflexes --life -- in his creations.
The overwhelming question the viewer at the end of this film must ask is not "aren't they a bunch of weirdos," but is "why do I behave the way I do?"
All the segments show humans controlling and analyzing life and behavior in their own way. Put it all together, and one must wonder if there's not someone controlling their actions. Or, if it's possible for man to understand the complex intricacies of what "life" really is.
Don't buy this film if you want to see a freak show. These people are not freaks. They are all people attempting to grasp a little control and understanding of this thing we call life.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exploration of humanity's place in the natural world February 25, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This film delves into the relationships between humanity and nature (which is the real fast, cheap, and out of control entity of the title, the source of the phrase notwithstanding). The four men interviewed by Morris interact with nature in four archetypal ways. The animal trainer deals with his charges much as people with each other, using empathy and concepts such as emotion, intelligence, and volition. The topiary gardener battles against nature-as-decay-and-chaos, waging an eternal war against wildness to fashion familiar images in an uncooperative medium. The mole-rat specialist is drawn to nature by a sense of wonder and curiosity that is deepened by his every discovery. Finally, the roboticist is inspired to the sincerest form of flattery; he borrows from the imagination of nature to solve his technical problems.
The interleaving of the four interviews and the use of musical and visual effects to stress thematic unity is not a cheap device to appeal to the MTV generation, as has been claimed. On the contrary, it is essential to the communication of the film's thesis. These four ways of relating to nature (which might be called animistic, antagonistic, descriptive, and imitative) are often portrayed as stages in the progress of mankind, ordered in various ways according to one's ideology. Morris presents them as eternal and complementary aspects of humanity's relationship with (and place in) the physical universe. The lives of these four men illustrate that even in the present day, each philosophical approach has both shortcomings and a unique and irreplaceable utility.
The interplay between a philosophical battle for supremacy and a utilitarian doctrine of complementarity is a familiar pattern.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a one of a kind film
I love this film. The visual images tie together the four seemingly different men and topics. Extraordinary how undated the ideas and subject matter is. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jeanne Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite films
A great documentary which gives insight into the four characters profiled while using cinematic tricks to entertain the entire audience and creating its own narrative.
Published 10 months ago by Brian Grey
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique storytelling. Great film.
Watch it. It's a great work that takes a unique approach to nonfiction storytelling. Revolutionary in that it set a standard that documentary filmmakers had to do more than just... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Abigail Staples
4.0 out of 5 stars For anyone interested in Errol Morris or documentaries, a great find
I love documentaries and the work of Errol Morris but had not seen this film. It is the first film in which Morris uses his invention, the interrotron which allows his subjects to... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Evan Lucas
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Documentary Ever
This is the best documentary I've ever seen. I watch this movie about once a year and I show it to my creative writing students to get them to think about form.
Published 14 months ago by Lynn K. Kilpatrick
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful!
I purchased this movie to show my students after they studying a unit on work. I was very disappointed in the film. It wasn't as good as the reviews I had read. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Kelly Zimmerman
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic documentary
This is a fascinating documentary that ended up touching my family so much that we were sobbing by the end. Absolutely worth buying and sharing with your unconventional Friends.
Published on April 5, 2012 by putzipye
5.0 out of 5 stars Gem of a movie: one easter egg I have not seen mentioned.
A gem of a movie. I have to admit I was torn between keeping watching it (where is this going? what is he going to do next?) and turning it off in confusion. Read more
Published on October 24, 2011 by Bruce_in_LA
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing
This film is a great example of storytelling. Piecing the dialogue from 4 completely different men to tell a story that is greater than a single one of these men is amazing. Read more
Published on December 21, 2010 by Cassious
5.0 out of 5 stars A Robot Invasion is coming!
Errol Morris is concerned about a robot invasion that is under way. Unfortunately, he didn't give us the whole title to his film. Read more
Published on October 4, 2010 by R. Tyler
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