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Rockets Redglare!

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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(Nov 16, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews


Rockets Redglare was a brilliant actor, seasoned con artist, best friend and bad influence. Though he never held a day job, Rockets counted actor (for directors such as Jim Jarmusch, Gus Van Sant and Steve Buscemi), model (for Julian Schanbel), bodyguard (to Jean Micheal Bisquiat), stand-up comedian (including a comedy show with Steve Buscemi and Mark Boone, jr.) and drug dealer (to Sid Vicious) among his crowning achievements, resulting in a life that even the highest-paid Hollywood screenwriter could never concoct.

Rockets' story is told with a little help from his friends including Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon, Jim Jarmusch, Julian Schnanbel, Gary Ray, Nick Zedd and Rene Heras.

Rockets appeared in over 30 films including Stranger Than Paradise, In The Soup, Big and Desperately Seeking Susan. Interviews and archival footage of his stand-up performances take us into his world where irreverent comedy and a lust for life is simultaneously his triumph and downfall. He has traveled through some of the darkest worlds of decadence that have ever existed in New York City and struggles to find humor and dignity within. His fight to survive the emotional consequences of a traumatic childhood and live, despite the physical damage from years of alcohol, heroin and methadone, is his ultimate battle.

Jennifer M. Wood, MovieMaker Magazine - April 2003

"In his new documentary, Luis Fernandez de la Reguera probes the identity of a man who was, by turn, a brilliant actor, seasoned con artist, best friend and bad influence."

"Don't miss! The titular local legend - a character actor for Jarmusch and Lower East Side mainstay - receives a fittingly affectionate, posthumous tribute."

"The film's greatest asset is Redglare's own skill as a raconteur. With an unbridled honesty that just skirts the maudlin, he makes us understand what drives a man to schedule his sleep around his drinking habits while letting his weight balloon. It helps if you were born the smack-addicted child of a junkie mother, watched your gangster father and uncle murder a man before your eyes and went on to be sexually abused at an early age by your landlady. At least she paid him for the privilege. Addicts always exaggerate, but if only half of Redglare's accounts are factual, his was an odyssey like few others."

Special Features

  • Audio commentary featuring Steve Buscemi and Luis Fernandez de la Reguera
  • Complete Sundance Film Festival Q&A with Steve Buscemi and Luis Fernandez de la Reguera
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Rockets Filmography
  • Weblink
  • Scene Access

Product Details

  • Actors: Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon, Jim Jarmusch, Julian Schnabel
  • Directors: Luis Fernandez De La Reguera
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Undecided Films
  • DVD Release Date: November 16, 2004
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00069FLBI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,920 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

I saw this documentary at a sold out screening at Sundance last year, (the DVD has footage of producer Steve Buscemi and first time filmmaker Luis Fernandez de la Reguera taking questions from the audience at that same screening, a rare personal look at Steve Buscemi, for fans.)

To me, a great documentary should transcend the typical format of talking heads and spliced file footage and make you feel, on some deep level, some insight on what it means to be human on this planet. For me, this was one of those films.

Although this film was obviously made with more love than money, it shows that what matters isn't the budget but the heart and sweat of the filmmaker.

What could have been a very depressing story (and typical morality tale)of a bad childhood leading to an adulthood of drugs and self destruction, instead focuses on Rockets charm, talent, humor, lust for life, and counter-culture irreverence. The film's not about judging, it's about compassion and understanding, warts (or should I say pus) and all.

I'm afraid some people won't like the film or "get it." I read a review where the critic didn't understand why someone would make a film about someone who, besides his independent film acting career, "never amounted to much." Statements like that make me crazy.

To me, life isn't about the so-called achievements one can type up in a resume, it's more about the relationships with other people you develop in your life. Even with a hellish life, odds stacked against him, Rockets never lost his humanity and managed to make an indelible impression on others. Watching the film, it's obvious how much the people involved in the film deeply cared about him, and after seeing their efforts maybe a little of that will rub off, and you will care about him too.

I'd like to thank the filmmakers for telling his story.
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Ever since I first saw him in DOWN BY LAW, I have been fascinated by the one and only, late, lamented Rockets Redglare. His performance in the film is so earthy, real and without pretense, that you truly believe that every word he says comes from life experience. I loved the southern accent he gave himself for the role, and that wonderful line, "I'm as serious as cancer." Even though he's only on the screen for a few minutes, the impact is undeniable.

This documentary is a must for any fan of Independent Films, The Beat Generation, Punk Rock and the many fascinating characters born from a drug culture. (He reminded me of Herbert Hunke...an addict that was pals with all the Beat writers...and not a bad scribe himself!) What surprised me so much about Rockets was his iron will and determination...his lifeforce, and his undeniable charm. While I do not in any way condone the use of drugs, I also believe that a person's body is their own and if they choose to dull the pain of life with drugs, so be it. They will die young, there is no doubt, but maybe it will ease the pain of living. Rockets has some major issues. For example: Imagine knowing your mother was murdered by a man you already hated and who had beaten you as well. (Thankfully, he exacted his revenge.)

Rockets story is fascinating and the raw, low budget home video footage of this production gives it a very real, you-are-there quality and immediacy. I felt like I knew Rockets, that I shot the footage myself with my own camera. The scenes shown of Rockets in his various film roles are a delight and treat. They show you that he always kinda just played himself, which gave those performances their vitality and realism.
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I was acquainted with Rockets in the 1980s. This film exposed a softer more human side of him that I never knew. The film also documents the culture of lower east side of Manhattan of the period very well. It is very a very good piece of work
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