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Tell Them Anything You Want (2010)

Maurice Sendak , Spike Jonze , Spike Jonze , Lance Bangs  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Maurice Sendak, Spike Jonze, Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Meryl Streep
  • Directors: Spike Jonze, Lance Bangs
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories
  • DVD Release Date: March 2, 2010
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0033XKVE6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,028 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tell Them Anything You Want" on IMDb

Special Features

Tell Them Anything You Want
Maurice at the World's Fair: A humorous take on a story from Maurice's childhood, with Spike Jonze and Catherine Keener
Q&A with Spike Jonze and Maurice Sendak at The Museum of Modern Art
Maurice's Birthday Tribute with Meryl Streep, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener
An exclusive essay on Maurice Sendak by Tony Kushner

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze, acclaimed director of Where The Wild Things Are, comes A Portrait Of Maurice Sendak, a loving look at one of the most cherished and controversial figures in children's literature. Featuring Tell Them Anything You Want, this is a deeply moving tribute to Sendak, a seminal talent whose conflicts with success and lifelong obsession with death have subtly influenced his work. Now 81, Sendak is best known for his book, Where The Wild Things Are, which he wrote twelve years into his career as a writer and illustrator. Wild Things would go on to become one of the most beloved and critically lauded children's books of all time and, much to Sendak's chagrin, would come to define his career. Through his own words, personal photos, and illustrations, Sendak offers a rare, intimate, and unexpected look at his exceptional life. A Portrait Of Maurice Sendak also features James Gandolfini, Meryl Streep, Catherine Keener, and Tony Kushner honoring their friend and colleague. Contains exclusive features directed by Spike Jonze.

Tell Them Anything You Want is an intriguing documentary focusing on Maurice Sendak, the curmudgeonly children's author who wrote Where the Wild Things Are. Filmmakers Spike Jonze (who directed the film version of that book) and Lance Bangs have a compelling subject to work with in Tell Them Anything You Want. Viewers don't have to be fans of Sendak's books to enjoy this film. As the title implies, the author (who was 81 years old during the making of the documentary) isn't shy about saying anything--some of which he admits may be made up. Sendak isn't overly modest about his brilliant and sometimes controversial work. But he still likes to question why the filmmakers are "doing a documentary of a brain-dead person." Clearly, Sendak is far from brain-dead. Still whip-sharp and witty, he is equally at home cussing up a storm or relaying fantastic stories that should be made into books. At one time, his work was considered inappropriate for kids. But he has always held the theory that children are a lot smarter than adults give them credit for. You can tell them anything, as long as you're being honest. The documentary includes some shout-outs from A-listers such as Meryl Streep, Catherine Keener, and James Gandolfini. But it's Sendak himself who is the shining star. --Jae-Ha Kim

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars moving and funny!!! March 3, 2010
I loved this film! Having read many of Sendak's books as a child it was wonderful to revisit the stories that filled my childhood and learn about their fascinating author and illustrator. Jonze and Bangs create an intimate and moving portrait of a brilliant man. Sendak's own personal life is filled with rich stories and his sense of humor is infectious. I would recommend this doc, if you ever read one of Sendak's books you need to learn about this amazing artist.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! February 23, 2010
A deeply moving tribute to Sendak, one of the world most cherished authors of childrens literature. This film offers a rare and personal look inside the life of Sendak. The DVD includes great DVD Special Features including a Q&A with Spike Jones and Maurice Sendak at the Museum of Modern Art.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, Mesmerizing and Very, Very Funny April 3, 2010
By Birdman
We and our children have come of age with copies of the LITTLE BEAR books, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN and dozens of other books by Maurice Sendak. Many are well-worn and few discarded. Sendak's books are unflinchingly honest, unconventional, beautiful and relentlessly original.

This brief, lovingly produced and edited documentary takes us into the heart of an author we thought we knew in a way that is human, frank, unflinching and funny. Sendak's vignettes give us with insight into the evolution of the artistic temperament and how a family constellation can inspire or frustrate genius. We learn so much about the remarkable ties he shared with his brother and sister, his editors, mentors and detractors.

I was touched by the man's durable respect for the minds and hearts of children in a country which dumbs-down so many. I was surprised by his hysterical, often salty, sense-of-humor and inspiring resilience. So, it is a testament to this film, and its uncommonly fine extras, that I ordered my first Sendak titles in 15 years this morning. My children are grown, but I am not.

Only the most callous viewer could resist the appeal of this film. Five stars.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Companion Piece to Wild Things February 23, 2010
This is such an intimate and beautifully structured documentary of Sendak. Jonze has created another quirky, irreverent and poetical portrait. It's short, yet plays at just the right length. Don't miss the bonus feature which play out just as dramatically as the featured work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Sendak is more than the grandfather of the modern children's book. He was also a world class curmudgeon, and an intricate, wounded soul, whose personality is fully examined in the most loving way here. Spike Jonze, who turned the novelization of Sendak's "Wild Things" into one of the most heartfelt children's movies for grownups ever made, observes and engages Sendak with sensitivity and style. The highlight of the documentary has got to be Sendak's story about the Lindbergh baby, a fascinating study in the obsessiveness and fragility of a child's mind. "Wild Things" wasn't always the beloved classic it has become. Its long way from provocative boat-rocker to established childhood hallmark shows that an artist who is true to his obsessions, inspirations and fears can eventually create lasting, and fully accepted, beauty. Not that Maurice Sendak would've had the ability for self-forgiveness to ever celebrate such a triumph. His friendship with his housekeeper, his dog, and maybe Spike Jonze, may be the closest he ever came to feeling safe in this world. A beautiful portrait, and a fitting companion piece to Jonze's Wild Things adaptation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great interview, shaky camera April 9, 2013
I have been a Sendak fan for years, so I am biased. The video is put together from a number of interviews. It's very effective, we get his thoughts on a topic, like how to talk to kids, collected from 3 or 4 conversations. Sendak is a sweet guy, interesting and insightful. I gave the dvd 4 stars because the camera was handheld and very shaky. I get nauseated when the camera jiggles a lot. I think even for a hand held camera they could have done a better job. And while filming him in his house they could have used a tripod. I ended up feeling sick for the rest of the evening. Read the other reviews - people make good comments about the content. All in all it's a great video.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ***Must*** Have If You're A Fan! July 18, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This wonderful "intimate portrait" of bestselling children's author Maurice Sendak is a must have for fans. In it, the late author talks to film director Spike Jonze Where the Wild Things Are [Blu-ray] about his life, his art, and of course his views on kids.

You get to see some pictures of Sendak when he was young, his brother and sister, many of the drawings that he and his brother did while growing up, and includes wooden toys they created. You'll also get to hear what he thinks about his work and life, etc., and see pictures from his many children's books including those he only illustrated.

Sendak is really funny and personable, cursing every now and then, and seemed like a great character to hang around and have a drink with.

The cardboard box that the DVD comes housed in opens up with an illustration of Max and the Wild Things swinging on the trees from the book on one-side, on the other side a photo of Sendak lost in thought with his dog next to him, with a pair of legs and torso off to the left, and includes an essay by Tony Kushner.


Maurice At The World's Fair -- 03:30-minute
this is a re-enactment of an incident in Maurice's childhood where he talks about it, while Catherine Keener and Spike Jonze act it out and play all the characters.

Q & A With Spike Jonze and Maurice Sendak -- 28:37-minutes
Both take questions from a moderator and audience after a screening of TELL THEM ANYTHING YOU WANT at the MoMA.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars /goodbye Maurice
While I am well aware of his books, I had no idea who he was. Knowing something about the author helps me
better understand the books.
Published 15 months ago by Hal Z. Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Children's Magician
Maurice Sendak steps forward in this video to share his unvarnished thoughts on life, children, parenting, and so much more. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Susan Wong
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet
Haven't watch it yet, but I will later on, however, it has my favorite actor; James Gandolfini, because he got the voice of my favorite Wild Thing from Where The Wild Things Are... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Rochelle Norlund
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I cannot believe how quickly this order came and it's in perfect shape. If you are a Maurice Sendak fan, you will love, love, love this video. I can't say enough about it.
Published 20 months ago by C. Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars A special side of Mr. Sendak.
Really special dvd. The only thing is that the features doesn't have subtitles, so for a no english speaker is a little complicated to understand it.
Published 22 months ago by Claudia
3.0 out of 5 stars So much for the bonus scenes
I had seen this film on HBO and I purchased it to screen for the seniors I work with as a social worker at a non-profit agency. The DVD arrived safely and was shrink wrapped. Read more
Published on March 4, 2011 by Rarus51
4.0 out of 5 stars Where the Wild Curmudgeon Lives
This is a documentary that features a 39-minute interview with the elderly Maurice Sendak at his home. Read more
Published on January 7, 2011 by R. Schultz
5.0 out of 5 stars highly entertaining portrait
I have only been able to watch this dvd once, and I want to pop it back in because I really enjoyed it the first time I watched it, but I wasn't able to focus my full attention on... Read more
Published on June 16, 2010 by R Zern
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for Sendak Readers
A very good insight into the mind of Maurice Sendak who has been an enjoyable inspiration to children and adults. Read more
Published on April 3, 2010 by Mystery Luv
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