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Showing 1-10 of 160 reviews(5 star). Show all reviews
on August 15, 2010
I have seen the final version of this film, having been to a screening at the Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans.

I am simply blown away by this documentary. I'd been waiting to see it for four years, and I was convinced that because I had such high expectations, that it would disappoint. I am thrilled to say that the film not only met my expectations, but actually exceeded them.

This film is a brutally honest look at the man, Harry Nilsson. It shows how beautifully talented he was, and how everyone around him truly loved him, but it did not shy away from the wild antics that were ultimately Harry's downfall. One interviewee made the statement, "Harry was like a big bunny rabbit with really sharp teeth." I think that the film shows just how appropriate that statement is.

There were times that I laughed out loud and times that I came close to openly sobbing. I have a feeling that if I had not been at a public viewing, I would have been openly sobbing.

The director mentioned that this final version has a different ending than what he originally screened several years ago. I have not seen that first ending, but I can say that if Harry was able to comment on the version I saw, that he would approve. It was funny, sad, and poignant, all rolled into one. I don't think Harry would have wanted it any other way.

This is a vivid portrait of a very complex man. There was the raw talent and potential, the self-destructive behavior, the loving father and husband, the alcoholic, the activist. All of these were Harry Nilsson. Even someone who didn't know of Harry before this film would be moved.

NOTE ADDED ON 10/17/10: I want to try to write quality reviews that are helpful to people. If you find my review to be unhelpful, please leave a comment and let me know how I could improve! Or, even better, if you did find my review helpful, I'd love to hear from you! Thanks.

NOTE ADDED ON 11/17/10:

It was suggested that I add a note about the special features, so here you go:

There is a great extended scene concerning Without You, and another extra that features Remember. There are many more extras that are incredible, and they're pretty much all extended scenes. I'll list their titles for you:

Trailer
Loneliness - This is a music video that Harry did with Yoko Ono. I believe this is Yoko's song.
Washington Hotel
Singer
Soungwriter
Nilsson Schmilsson
Without You
A Little Touch
Try
Adventures
Human Fly
Monty Python
Fools
Generosity
Family
Annie
Harry
Remember (which is the original ending. The final cut is far superior, I believe, to this original ending).
3333 comments157 of 162 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 18, 2010
I can't say enough good things about this movie. It's reverent without being obsequious; moving without being melodramatic; insightful, thorough, funny- they really did such a wonderful job.

As for the subject himself- what a truly compelling character! Even if you are only nominally familiar with Nilsson and his music, this movie is pretty much guaranteed to make you a fan.
0Comment33 of 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 21, 2010
I saw this superb documentary that brings Harry Nilsson to vivid life in a theatre in Santa Monica several years ago and am delighted that it is finally coming to DVD. You really get a sense of the manic, wild ride that was the life of Nilsson in this film told by the people who loved him. I can't wait to see it again and it sounds like there is some great bonus material as well. The story of his close friendship with Ringo is quite touching. Even the stories of his funeral, taking place during the roaring aftershocks of the Northridge earthquake, are heartfelt and hilarious.
33 comments44 of 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 24, 2010
This is the kind of documentary I always look for. It's such a great journey. The influence he had over the music world, both personally and artistically, is just staggering. More than that, it delves into the man himself. He had such heart, spirit, and talent that I was totally blown away. It's an incredible examination of a very wonderful and creative time in music history and one of it's biggest, yet unknown, players. I couldn't help but revisit my modest Nilsson collection, and pursue some more...I'm very glad I did. What a cool movie.
0Comment16 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Long delayed due to licensing issues with the songs "Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody talkin' About Him)" is a terrific documentary on the singer/songwriter/activist. Harry's career took off quickly once The Beatles named him their favorite "band" (thanks to Derek Taylor introducing them to Harry's music). He also wrote a number of songs that were recorded by other artists (including The Monkees)but Harry's career became white hot when he recorded Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talking at Me" and it was featured in "Midnight Cowboy". He went from strength to strength with his kids album/TV cartoon "The Point!" to "Nilsson Schmilsson" which featured his cover of Badfinger's "Without You" turning the powerhouse ballad into a huge hit.

Pretty darn good for someone who almost never did concert appearences or toured (he did do some one off appearences at Beatlefest, etc.)

Harry had a turbulent life. His father left his family when Harry was small creating a major gap in his life and the self destructive behavior had been mirrored by both his parents previously.

This terrific documentary covers the lost years as well--the period of time when drugs and drink took their toll on Harry's long lost weekend with John Lennon. It also addresses the damage to Nilsson's voice, in discussing his childhood how his feeling of abandonment impacted him as both a person and artist and features rare home movie footage, footage from his TV appearences and interviews with those who knew him best.

The DVD features deleted footage and interviews giving even more insight into Harry as an artist and musician. I was glad to see Stephen King highlight this powerful and sometimes heartbreaking documentary in his Entertainment Weekly column from a couple of weeks ago. Maybe with this DVD and King's promotional efforts for the film Harry will get just "a touch" of the recognition that he had when he was alive and in his prime. Recommended.
0Comment8 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 24, 2010
I was lucky enough to catch this movie in New York when it played at Cinema Village. The whole audience was caught up in the poignant and eye-opening story. I think this movie is a gem for Nilsson fans, but does a great job telling the story to the uninitiated as well.
0Comment9 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 5, 2010
I've been waiting anxiously over the years for some kind of documentary on, who I already knew was a music genius; A video portrait of the legendary Harry Nilsson. With my already knowing that Harry was favored by all the members of The Beatles, I don't know why it seemed like Nilsson was just discarded as some kind of insignificant contribution to American music.

Back in '72, I remember having the red and black RCA 45 single of "Coconut" and then years later, an album called "Nilsson's Greatest Hits." I've always known the song "Without You" but for the longest time I didn't know who it was, and in fact, I was surprised to learn that it was from the same guy who sang "Coconut', and that "Coconut" and "Without You" were on the same original album. As a kid, I remember hearing "Me and My Arrow" on CKLW radio back in Detroit. And when I was in Oregon for one year, I heard "Daybreak" which was probably his last charted Top 40 single. So, around 1980, "Nilsson's Greatest Hits" was one of my favorite best of albums along side of "Wings Greatest" and "Nancy's (Sinatra) Greatest Hits."

"Nilsson Schmilsson" was one of my first CD's that I bought in the eighties and so all these other non-hits on this album were just phenomenal! I knew then that he was a genius, but nobody else I knew really remembered who he was. Over time, his albums were released on to CD, many were Japanese imports at first. And I bought all the ones that were available. I spent like 35 dollars each for CD's that were barely a half hour's worth of music. But, I had to have the music of Harry Nilsson. He was still alive, at the time, but it seemed like he was already gone and forgotten. For the past 30 years or so, I thought that I was the only person in the world who remembered Harry Nilsson, because, at the time, nobody was talking about him.

Then comes this new DVD documentary. And look at all the important celebrities who remember Harry and who all had loving cherishable memories of such a wonderful man. This is a great 2 hour documentary of the rise and fall of this rather self-destructive genius. It's heartbreaking knowing that he could have been so much more than what he became, but like anything else, drugs, smoking, and alcohol can be anybody's downward spiral.

As extras on this DVD, you'll get a few extra snippets of people sharing their personal memories of Harry Nilsson. Some were heartfelt and loving, and then some were rants about his recklessness and misbehavior over the years. All of which contribute to understanding this tortured soul who was recognized with having such a wonderful, talented, and velvety voice. And being such a wonderful songwriter as well. Many songs that were, in many cases, rather autobiographical. This DVD is a must for anyone who cherishes the music of the seventies. Mine was the 15th review printed on this DVD, and there is a total of 15 five star reviews. That's saying something. People are again, talking about Harry Nilsson.
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on October 29, 2010
This documentary is a dream come true for any Nilsson fan. It's very thorough. I've been a serious, devoted fan for more than 40 years, and this movie had pieces to Harry's story that I never knew. So many great insights from other musicians and songwriters--the best and most insightful are Jimmy Webb, Van Dyke Parks and producer Richard Perry. One minor quibble--though it's true that Harry began a downward spiral after the worldwide success of "Nilsson Schmilsson," he did put together one more artistic triumph before it all crashed--his "Knnilsson" album. It didn't sell, but it remains a glittering gem in Harry's canon of work. The movie skips over any commentary about this outstanding album produced at the tail end of Harry's career with RCA. But that's a very SMALL quibble.

This DVD rightfully and accurately re-establishes Harry as an important artist who has been sadly overlooked--and, even if you were (and are) skeptical of that, it establishes at a minimum, that he was one of the greatest vocalists Rock and Pop has ever had. Though Harry eventually lost his career--and his wealth-- the film leaves the viewer with an unexpected uplift--he learned to become a better father to his children when music was no longer his full time career.
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on October 14, 2010
I've seen this film in theaters twice and it is truly wonderful. The filmmakers succeed in unveiling the man behind that golden voice. There are tons of cameos from friends, family and colleagues who share their memories both happy and sad. And the soundtrack is awesome! It's 100% Nilsson (with never-before-heard tracks, and some gorgeous instrumental tracks) and it perfectly complements the story.
This is a must-have for any fan and a great gift for those who still don't know who Harry Nilsson is. After seeing this, it's like you knew him all along.
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on September 27, 2010
Harry Nilsson is the fascinating star of this documentary, which chronicles his rise and fall in a "Behind the Music" fashion. The music is excellent, and includes over 70 Nilsson songs throughout. With fun cameos from friends who shared "lost weekends" as well as tight production, this is a great film for Nilsson fans and those who are just now discovering him and his work.
0Comment10 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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