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3 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Jul 04, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Firecracker is a bold and shocking true-to-lfe tale of murder in small town Kansas. Set agianst the stark beauty of Middle America, this astonishing story of abuse, suffering and denial reveals dreams of escape. Meek, reclusive and talented Jimmy is emotionally imprisoned by his abusive, alcoholic brother David - and fanatically religious mother Eleanor. With evil lurking in the shadows, the setting sun gives way to the blue of evening and Jimmy finds escape in the neon glow of a traveling sideshow carnival. Sandra, billed as an "oddity of nature," is the carnival's premiere attraction. Yearning for a way out, Jimmy befriends Sandra, unaware of her imprisonment and degradation at the hands of Frank, the carnival owner, mirrors his own. When David disappears, the metaphorical white picket fences collapse, leaving raw emotions exposed to the spark of thruth.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Karen Black, Mike Patton, Susan Traylor, Kathleen Wilhoite, Jak Kendall
  • Directors: Steve Balderson
  • Writers: Steve Balderson, Clark Balderson
  • Producers: Steve Balderson, Clark Balderson, Dan Holmgren, Jennifer Dreiling, Jerry P. Magana
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 7 Arts
  • DVD Release Date: July 4, 2006
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E0LLG8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,098 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Firecracker" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
On the front of the DVD cover you will notice "Hitchcockian - Roger Ebert"

This is clever marketing. Not a lie but misleading. Roger Ebert says

"There is the Hitchcockian scene where the mother asks at the cleaners for an "astringent" to remove the "shoe polish" on her carpet."

OK, so a scene is Hitchockian, not the movie. I have noticed that critics are much easier on indie films and foreign films, I believe this is the case here.

Balderson is a hard worker, a smart businessman, very creative, and I like his directing. As a writer though? That's where I think this movie falls flat. I was into the movie for the first half hour or so, until Mike Patton died. Then, I fell asleep twice after that and was painfully bored.

Visually the movie has some great shots. The burning fire for the opening credits, the bright colors, great landscape shots, shots of the carnival, etc. But, without good dialogue and pacing it just doesn't make a good movie. Some of the acting is too B Movie-ish and I like B-Movies. If it wasn't for the presence of Karen Black this movie would be unwatchable.

I really wanted to like this movie and have been following it for years. I wouldn't have watched it if it didn't have Mike Patton in it. Mike Patton played a bigger role than I thought and it was interesting to see him act. This is a must see for Patton fans.

Balderson is quite young still and I think with a solid and exciting script he could really do something with it. I just hope he doesn't continue to direct only movies he writes. The "making of" documentary of this movie is quite egotistical and winded. That may be the main problem here. This movie to me played like a long student film project with a larger budget.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Bill Cosby once had a line about the birth of his first son. He said that he was excited and anxious in the hospital, until he saw his son for the first time. He said he managed to maintain the smile of an expectant father, but he said he was horrified at what he saw emerge from his wife's womb. He said he wanted to turn to the intern who handed his son to him and say: "Maybe we should put him back in and let him cook a little longer."
As a big Mike Patton fan, I anxiously awaited the release of this movie. I maintained my smile to about the halfway point. At that point, I was unable to maintain the smile. I decided that watching a movie of me watching the movie would've been more entertaining. It reminded me of a movie done by a film student. A bad one. I think the class would've called it a worthy effort, but they would've given it an 'F'. They would've said that the acting was stilted, it was poorly cut, and it was confusing in a manner that you were sure that the director had not intended. Patton should probably stick to what he does better than anyone out there right now. Karen Black was good, but her performance wasn't exceptional. The rest were terrible. I normally don't enjoy seeing others slam any project that a person has cut blood over, but if I can save one Patton fan the disappointment of seeing him act I'll consider this a worthwhile post.
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Format: DVD
I was very exited about this movie. I waited and waited for it to come out on DVD so I could see it. I even ordered the documentary from the website and watched it long before the actual film. Being a big Mike Patton fan also boosted my anticipation of this film that was reviewed as being "the kind of film David Lynch wishes he was still capable of making", or something along those lines. David Lynch is a genius and has made some of my all-time favorite films. The notion that Firecracker even approaches Lynch is absurd. This movie sucked and is an insult to film-making.

I will say that some of the visuals were artistic and looked beautiful, but Balderson's alternation between color and B&W seemed unnecessary and without reason. If I'm wrong, please correct me. Using both color and B&W can add to a movie if done with taste and style. It was excessive and annoying in this pretentious piece.

One of my biggest complaints is of the dialogue. I found myself in constant agitation at how terrible and pointless the characters were. Mike Patton did display quite a presence and could be a good actor with some practice, though I think he should probably just stick with music. His scenes were the only thing about any of the acting that I enjoyed.

It seemed like the movie was very rushed; like the film-makers were trying to save money on film by doing a single take for each scene. There were some camera shots with good angles and composition that could stand alone as art, but unfortunately that's not enough to save the film.

When it was finished I thought to myself that it seemed like the movie was written by an eighth grade cheerleader trying to be edgy and artsy. My advice is simply this: don't waste money even renting this movie. Stick with David Lynch if you want good art films.
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Format: DVD
Steve Balderson's "Firecracker" could be better titled "Sparkler." It doesn't exactly pop with excitement. The themes are dark. Male rape, especially by an older brother on a younger possibly mentally retarded boy, is a subject that needs sensitive handling. Instead Faith No More's frontman Mike Patton is cast in the dual role of David who rapes & probably has a history of abuse with his brother Jimmy and as the circus sadist Frank who surgically scars his lead singer Sandra (Karen Black) so she will be unattractive to other men. There really is no redeeming grace for either character, with Frank's fake goatee and strained sadism being less than convincing. The movie really stars newcomer Jak Kendall whose naked behind is frequently in view. As Jimmy, Kendall seems like a deeply disturbed lad; whether caused by mental retardation or severe stress of sexual abuse, it is hard to say. Karen Black's Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination was way back in 1970 for "Five Easy Pieces." She has worked consistently in many films, but has failed to hit with a role that propels her back before the public eye. This film won't do it, although as the Bible-quoting mother Eleanor whose husband is failing and eventually must be put in a nursing home and as the exotic aging lounge singer Sandra that captures Jimmy's imagination, she does a good job. Her red cape flying in the final scene is somewhere between M. Night Shamalyan and the Asian film "Heroes" in its visual brilliance. Susan Traylor from "A River Runs Through It" & "Finding Graceland" plays the police chief Ed. She adds intensity to an underwritten role. Unfortunately, the perverse events never amount to much of a story, even with an act of violence as the climactic capper. David Lynch uses style to elevate the story to a new level. Here, there is more style than story. It's nice to see Karen Black, but beyond that there is not much to attract an audience. Taxi!
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