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Hubert Selby Jr: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow

Hubert Selby Jr. , Ellen Burstyn , Michael W. Dean , Kenneth Shiffrin  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Hubert Selby Jr: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow + Last Exit to Brooklyn (Evergreen Book) + Requiem for a Dream: A Novel
Price for all three: $41.58

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Product Details

  • Actors: Hubert Selby Jr., Ellen Burstyn, Lou Reed, Richard Price, Nick Tosches
  • Directors: Michael W. Dean, Kenneth Shiffrin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Eclectic DVD Dist.
  • DVD Release Date: March 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LC4ZK8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,029 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hubert Selby Jr: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow" on IMDb

Special Features

  • 3 hours of audio interviews with Hubert Selby Jr., literary critic Michael Silverblatt, and "Last Exit to Brooklyn" director Uli Edel

Editorial Reviews

One of the greatest American writers of the 20th century is duly honored in Hubert Selby Jr: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow, an exceptionally well-made documentary that does ample justice to Selby's literary legacy. The film's title indicates the respect that codirectors Michael W. Dean and Kenneth Shiffrin have toward the author of such gritty classics as Last Exit to Brooklyn and Requiem for a Dream: As literary critic Michael Silverblatt observes in one of many illuminating interviews, Selby was known for using "eccentric typography" in his work (eschewing the use of commas and other punctuation, for example, or using slashes instead of apostrophes, etc.), and the film's title is a reverent reflection of Selby's unconventional technique. Functioning as an in-depth biographical profile and cogent literary analysis, the film gathers revealing, eloquent, and frequently amusing interviews with Selby (prior to his death in 2004 at age 76) and many of the writers, artists, editors, and scholars who were inspired by Selby's life and fiction. And while the choice of Robert Downey Jr. as narrator is an obvious one (because both Selby and Downey suffered and recovered from similar drug-addiction problems), Downey's voice lends greater resonance to Selby's compelling history of chronic illness, addiction, and stubborn survival. After getting permanently clean at the age of 40, Selby expressed his rage through literature, railing against a godless world with uncompromising ferocity, wonderfully contrasted here with Selby's own warm, sarcastic, and instantly appealing personality.

In addition to interviews with Selby admirers like Henry Rollins, Lou Reed, Amiri Baraka, Nick Tosches, Richard Price, Jerry Stahl, and others, particular emphasis is placed on the unusually high quality of films based on Selby's novels (notably Last Exit to Brooklyn and Requiem for a Dream), with directors Uli Edel, Darren Aronofsky, and Nicolas Winding Refn describing the importance of Selby's work in their own artistic endeavors, while actress Ellen Burstyn offers her own touching reminiscence of meeting Selby while working with Aronofsky on Requiem. Best of all are the interviews with Selby himself, which are generously excerpted in the film and included in their entirety (along with full-length interviews with Silverblatt and Edel) as audio-only bonus features. Fierce, funny, and worthy of mention alongside the likes of Hemingway, Burroughs, and Kerouac, Selby was a force to be reckoned with, even as a lifetime of tuberculosis withered him down to a skeletal frame. For many years to come, It/ll Be Better Tomorrow will stand as a worthy appreciation of the man and the impressive body of work he created. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

Featuring: Lou Reed, Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Darren Aronofsky, Uli Edel, Henry Rollins, Jerry Stahl, Richard Price, Nick Tosches, & narrated by Robert Downey, Jr. This documentary is a harrowing and engaging exploration into the life and art of the re

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hubert Selby Jr. One Not To be Overlooked December 7, 2006
Hubert Selby Jr. It'll Be Better Tomorrow is a fascinating film. How could an author of such overwhelming influence have become so overlooked for so long. Controversy and drugs derailed this genius but when you hear those he influenced tell it, it was the mainstream that passed him by not the artists. Selby's battles with TB, heroin, and everything else belie the spiritual giant he seems to have become. Lou Reed tells how 'Last Exit To Brooklyn' spun his world, Lou Reed goes on to spin the world of music, the impact is profound. Writing when books could still be banned 'England banned Last Exit', Selby triumphed and didn't bow. Amazing film, well crafted and concise, a great look into the soul of the artist
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative documentary of my favorite novelist August 17, 2007
It had to be about 1991 when I finally came across an old dusty library copy of Selby's Last Exit to Brooklyn; I had recently seen Uli Edel's excellent film adaptation and was always curious about the book. I promptly sat down and for the next four hours devoured Selby's classic. It's such a great work that I make it a point to re-read it at least once every few years.

When I lived in Greenwich Village in the mid 1990s everyone seemed crazy about the Beats, I'd mention Selby and a lot of them barely knew who he was. For me, Kerouac and the rest of them, though damn good at what they did, just don't match up to Selby's genius level. I recall I borrowed my copy of his book of short stories, Song of the Silent Snow, to a gal who lived in my building, after all these years I still haven't gotten it back.

It/ll Be Better Tomorrow gets into everything Selby, from his youth in Brooklyn, his days in the merchant Marine, the heroin addiction, the debilitating TB, his early attempts at writing, the life of penury, it's all here in detail. Interesting commentary touches on the development of his unique and certainly eccentric style that utilizes the ever present Selby /slash/ and different paragraph indentations. Readers who haven't read any of his books have no idea what in the hell that means, but once you read one of his works you'll realize that he doesn't always use regular punctuation and definitely has his own style of setting up words on paper. All one has to do is see a single paragraph of his writing and it's immediately identifiable.

A nice array of notables comment on Selby's life throughout the documentary.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Most people probably know Selby through the (justly-acclaimed) film versions of his two most famous novels, LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. But the excellence of these two movies will never replace the jaw-droppingly-amazing achievements of Selby's prose -- as this documentary ably and evocatively proves. Fearless, passionate, and wildly experimental (the very title of this documentary is a reference to Selby's completely original style of punctuation/grammar), Selby -- somewhat surprisingly -- was also a writer who, while wallowing among the dregs of society and dredging up its truths, somehow emerges, at the end of the day, as the most life-affirming literary personage imaginable. It's an alchemy that was all Selby's own, and this documentary is a must-see for anyone and everyone intrigued by the intermingling of words, storytelling, and spirituality in our contemporary world.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and moving. A fitting tribute. September 27, 2007
"HUBERT SELBY JR: IT/LL BE BETTER TOMORROW" Directed by Michael W. Dean and Kenneth Shiffrin

Hubert Selby is the author of "Last Exit to Brooklyn" and "Requiem for a Dream". Michael W. Dean and Kenneth Shiffrin have done a great service by shedding illumination on the history of this author and the importance of his work.

Dean and Shiffrin create a documentary that allows Hubert Selby's story to unfold in heart-breaking and fascinating detail, using a combination of interviews, historical footage, and video of Hubert Selby himself during the final period of his life.

The author is shown in an emaciated state, struggling for breath, near death. It seems both ironic and remarkable, then, that the film is able to present Hubert Selby as a true survivor. Selby survived childhood tuberculosis, (according to the film, he was the only one in his hospital ward who DID survive). He survived a stint in the military. He survived heroin addiction. He survived mental illness. He survived an obscenity trial for his writing. At age 40, he found himself alive, sober, and impoverished. At the end of his life, at age 75, he found himself in the position of a revered author, influence, and inspiration to several generations of creative individuals. He had gone from being the subject of a witch-hunt to the subject of academia. He himself had become a university professor, teaching almost until the time of his death.

The film is narrated in a low-key manner by Robert Downey Jr, who may have found something to relate to in Selby's personal struggles.

Selby emerges as a true genius; bending, modifying, and creating his own systems of language to more appropriately and precisely express himself.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by christopher
3.0 out of 5 stars eh
This is intriguing because the subject matter--Selby--is inherently fascinating. However, this is not a well made doc. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nab8la
5.0 out of 5 stars It's today, and it's already better.....
This is the 4th copy of this DVD that I've purchased; I've loaned the others out over the past few years & not received them back. Read more
Published 5 months ago by judye
5.0 out of 5 stars Controversial author you've never heard of
"It/ll be better tomorrow" is a fascinating documentary about Hubert Selby Jr, the author of Last Exit to Brooklyn [VHS],Requiem for a Dream (Director's Cut) and Fear X. Read more
Published on May 23, 2010 by Amaranth
3.0 out of 5 stars The Viewer Wants to Know More
Few novels hit the reader harder than Hubert Selby, Jr.'s Last Exit to Brooklyn. He was that rarest of artists - an original. Selby's life was also interesting. Read more
Published on December 13, 2009 by stoic
4.0 out of 5 stars Selby fans rejoice!
This is an informative look inside one of the most talented but tortured writers of our time. If you're a fan of his books then this is a no brainer.
Published on April 1, 2009 by El Lindro
4.0 out of 5 stars "A scream looking for a mouth..."
Hubert "Cappy" Selby, Jr. doesn't have the name recognition in the US that an author of his caliber deserves. Read more
Published on June 12, 2008 by Kerry Walters
5.0 out of 5 stars Hubert Selby Jr: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow - Authentically presents...
I saw this film in the theater and I couldn't wait to be able to purchase it on DVD. It would've been nice to have been able to meet Cubby Selby in person - the directors, Kenneth... Read more
Published on June 27, 2007 by Barry Dorsey
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