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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mouth Who Could
I saw this film last night in a full theater and really liked it. I think my sister caught Harlans' eye and he would have spoken to us if not for my being in possesion of a book published without his consent that he told me to lose.
If you know anything about Harlan you know he can raise the decibel level, but what I appreciated here were the moments of Harlan...
Published on April 24, 2009 by D. Kavin

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Do You Know Harlan Ellison? Do You Want To?
Harlan Ellison is best know for his classic science fiction, but much less known outside that field (although he has done other TV scripting). People familiar with Ellison's work and those that are outright fans will enjoy this spotty but engaging review of his works, featuring his trademark rants and pet peeves. For anyone else it may be hard going since we hear a lot...
Published 8 months ago by Al Hence


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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mouth Who Could, April 24, 2009
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This review is from: Harlan Ellison: Dreams with Sharp Teeth (DVD)
I saw this film last night in a full theater and really liked it. I think my sister caught Harlans' eye and he would have spoken to us if not for my being in possesion of a book published without his consent that he told me to lose.
If you know anything about Harlan you know he can raise the decibel level, but what I appreciated here were the moments of Harlan speaking fondly, longingly and especially quietly of his long gone father.
HE is a man who lives by the phrase "Put up or shut up", if you can't hold your own in print or person he'll let you know because he understands what hard work and developed talent can accomplish.
He is a solid storyteller (clearly) and knows it and wants you to know it as well whether you care or not (and you should).
See this film simply for the joy of watching the dying tradition of the animated storyteller work his craft. At 75 Harlan has all the p-ss and vinegar he ever had and that is a gift for us all.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of a Kind, April 28, 2009
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This review is from: Harlan Ellison: Dreams with Sharp Teeth (DVD)
Harlan Ellison is a much-awarded, almost legendary writer whose prose can take you to places your feeble imagination could never dream of. Finally, there is a documentary about his life.

I saw "Dreams With Sharp Teeth" last year at a science fiction convention with Harlan Ellison present. It is an excellent movie, to be sure, but it is the uniqueness of the subject that makes it so compelling. Spectacular writing notwithstanding, there is no one (I repeat, NO ONE) who talks like Harlan Ellison. HE is THE most literate, knowledgeable, acerbic, opinionated and just plain entertaining speaker I have every heard. (Having recently seen Gore Vidal on Bill Maher's television program, I absolutely stand by that statement. If you want to be effective rather than just self-righteous, Mr. Vidal, take a lesson from Harlan Ellison.)His memory is darn near perfect (at 75, we should all be so fortunate)and his principles are unshakable. Tom Snyder called him "the last angry man" and his refusal to accept the unjust does make him an indomitable force. Do NOT under any circumstances, cross Harlan Ellison.

All these things make this movie pretty darn good and eminently watchable. It is the chronicle of a totally unique individual. If you have heard Harlan Ellison speak, you have already ordered the movie. Otherwise, this is a very reasonable alternative.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful., June 1, 2009
This review is from: Harlan Ellison: Dreams with Sharp Teeth (DVD)
Dreams with Sharp Teeth (Erik Nelson, 2007)

One of the cardinal rules to making a successful documentary is to get yourself an interesting subject, and, at least to me, one of the most interesting subjects on the planet is the caustic, seemingly misanthropic, politically incorrect, and deeply, deeply funny writer Harlan Ellison, some of whose stories have become iconic in American letters ("I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream", "Shatterday", and "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktock Man", one of the most anthologized stories in American history, are all Ellison works). As well as one of America's foremost writers of science fiction, Ellison has written some classic television episodes, hundreds of political essays, and, well, lord knows what else. The man's pretty much done everything.

This documentary ranges from footage of television interviews from the sixties, seventies, and eighties, footage of talks and book signings, a clip of Ellison accepting the Grandmaster title from the Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers' Association, interviews with friends and colleagues of Ellison's (including Neil Gaiman, Robin Williams, and many others), and interview footage with Ellison. All of it is fascinating, and a great deal of the reason is that Ellison is fascinating. It's not just that he's more than willing to air his cantankerousness to as wide an audience as possible, but also that Ellison is a born storyteller (since 1955, the man has published thousands of pieces). He knows how to make even the mundane interesting. Not that anything related to Harlan Ellison is mundane.

While the documentary is of obvious interest to Ellison fans (and, really, we should all be Ellison fans), I think that even those people who have never read a word that man has written would get a great deal of enjoyment out of this just because of how much fun Harlan Ellison is. (And after you're done, go find a copy of "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream", and read it. Immediately.) ****
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He has a mouth and boy does he scream..., June 25, 2009
This review is from: Harlan Ellison: Dreams with Sharp Teeth (DVD)
I didn't discover Ellison's work until after high school. I was working a dead-end job on the night shift at a grocery store and one of the other stockers, a slightly odd and intriguing woman, shoved a copy of Shatterday into my hands and told me to read it. It was the start of two wonderful friendships, one which has lasted through the rest of my life to this point. Even after tracking down and reading the bulk of Ellison's work, he still manages to amaze me with his wit, charm, cantankerousness, and his wildly amazing perspective on short form storytelling. Ellison is a master at plucking those moments, those essential truths and shared yearnings that we all face, and putting them into a world of nightmares and dreamscapes that's both fantastic and brutally real. I've been lucky enough to meet the man once and managed to mostly escape his razor sharp tongue, and even for all of his autobio writings, I still feel like I have a lot to learn about the man.

Erik Nelson's portrait documentary, Dreams with Sharp Teeth, goes a long way to filling in some of the gaps. Nelson does a pretty darn good job of weaving together Ellison's story through anecdotal interviews with his contemporaries and friends, archival interviews and other video footage (including some rare home movies from Ellison's personal collection), as well as some deftly chosen passages from various short stories performed by the man himself.

My one complaint is that the documentary shies away from really covering Ellison's life as a whole, and instead focuses on his influence within his peer group and his overall "angry old Jew" personality. It ends up feeling like a special feature of a great Ellison documentary, which has yet to be made, which is kind of a shame. That isn't to say that it isn't worth the time, it very much is, it's just whetted my appetite for more. Think I'm going to go back and crack open my copy of Shatterday.

Also, a quick note on the Pizza with Harlan and Neil Gaiman featurette. the sound quality on this segment is pretty awful, with Gaiman's half of the conversation at a mouse's whisper and Ellison's chomping on his slice like crackling thunder.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE CONTROVERSIAL HARLAN ELLISON, September 24, 2011
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This review is from: Harlan Ellison: Dreams with Sharp Teeth (DVD)
On the life of the controversial Harlan Ellison who once attacked a Hollywood executive by crawling over the table to punch him. He didn't care. We start with Ellison's early life as a Jewish kid getting picked on by larger kids and eventually learning to fight at an early age which carried on with him. Some people hate him, some people love him. Regardless, you get to see what a prolific writer he is and some of the "younger" writers and people of Hollywood and publishing reflect on their time with the man. The question is whether his created persona (of a bigger than life obnoxious character) has confined him to a cell in which he can't change his personality. There are a number of old and new interviews showing Ellison's value system that life is a constant fight. In some ways you feel sorry for the guy but in other ways maybe you agree. I would have liked more focus on his written works with a summary but other than that it gave me a better view of the man. FOCUSES: B; DOCUMENTARY AUTHENTIC FEEL: B; HIGH CONCEPT: B to B plus;
WHEN WATCHED: early September 2011; OVERALL GRADE: B.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ellison Isn't Boring, April 12, 2010
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This review is from: Harlan Ellison: Dreams with Sharp Teeth (DVD)
Dreams with Sharp Teeth is a documentary about science fiction author Harlan Ellison.

Ellison is a lightning rod - by turns he is brilliant, pompous, vulnerable, aggressive, eloquent, crass, etc. He is a prolific and influential writer and has won many awards. Ellison can also be engaging. Dreams shows Ellison lecturing at universities; he has complete mastery of the audience. On the other hand, Ellison has an abrasive personality that helps account for his five marriages and his involvement in many lawsuits. The end result is a larger-than-life persona.

At times, Ellison lets the mask slip. When Ellison discusses his deceased parents and his upbringing in Ohio, the viewer senses that it is the "real" Harlan, not the alter ego. Harlan says that he was the one kid from his hometown who "made it"; in the next breath, he admits that it has not made him happy.

Ellison describes himself by quoting Hunter S. Thompson. (He knew "...the dead-end loneliness of a man who makes his own rules"). There are a lot of parallels between Ellison and Thompson. Each writer succeeded, in part, by creating a confrontational, larger-than-life persona. But each was later confined by that persona, unable to grow.

There are a few dead spots in Dreams. Ellison's scenes with Robin Williams show two celebrities admiring each other while saying nothing of consequence.

I saw Dreams several days ago and I'm still mulling over the film. Viewers emerge from Dreams with ambivalent feelings about Ellison, but the film is provocative. Don't miss Dreams with Sharp Teeth.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed by any Scifi fan., August 14, 2009
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This review is from: Harlan Ellison: Dreams with Sharp Teeth (DVD)
I have to say that this is the best DVD I have watched in years. Love him or hate him you have to admit that Harlan Ellison is always entertaining, a heck of a good storyteller and an angry driver. The only complaint I have is that the DVD is much to short. Its all very well to hear about the author's childhood but I was much more interested in his career as an author. That's not to say that what is here is not excellent far from it you get Ellison opinion on politics, copyright infringement, writers, television, the general dumbing down of entertainment and a host of other issues. It was also hilarious that the only one that seemed to care about Ellison being Jewish was Robin Williams.

The DVD extras are also not to missed especially the melodramatic way in which Ellison reads his stories. Others have had problems with the audio quality on the pizza discussion with Gaiman but I didn't notice any problems.

Overall-The best hour and ˝ I have spent in many months
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, February 10, 2013
Never heard of Harlan Ellison, shame on me. Fascinating portrait of an unusual and original talent with a lot of guts! Now I want to read one of his books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great bio, February 10, 2013
Funny, odd, well put together bio. It went on a bit longer than my interest span and I didn't finish it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, April 19, 2011
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T. Palmer (San Clemente, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Harlan Ellison: Dreams with Sharp Teeth (DVD)
Harlan Ellison is the Man. This is a great documentary of his life and battles with idiots in all walks of life. It left me wanting more but this will do.
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Harlan Ellison: Dreams with Sharp Teeth
Harlan Ellison: Dreams with Sharp Teeth by Erik Nelson (DVD - 2009)
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