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This So-Called Disaster

10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A "high-voltage Hollywood cast" (The Village Voice) featuring Academy Award(r) winner* Sean Penn and Oscar(r) nominees** Nick Nolte and Woody Harrelson offers up an exclusivelook into the rehearsal process in this "nakedly personal work" (LA Weekly) filmed during the mounting of a Sam Shepard play. It's three weeks until Shepard's The Late Henry Moss opens at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco and tensions are rising between Penn, Nolte and Harrelson. As sparks begin to fly between their characters, they set off a powder keg of emotions so explosive that the actors themselves are drawn into the fray. *2003: Actor, Mystic River **Nolte: Actor, Affliction (1998); Actor, The Prince of Tides (1991); Harrelson: Actor, The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Sam Shepard, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Cheech Marin, Sheila Tousey
  • Directors: Michael Almereyda
  • Producers: Anthony Katagas, Callum Greene, Holly Becker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: December 14, 2004
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00067BBM8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,951 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "This So-Called Disaster" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Barbara G. Lifton on January 17, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Contrary to the review published above, I saw this film at its premiere showing at the Film Forum in New York, and found it fascinating and exciting. The film was a riveting documentation of the organic artistic process in the theater. The film is far from a commercial for Sam Shepard - on the contrary, it demonstrates in part, the difficulty he had managing his volatile but brilliant cast for the production of his strange, fascinating play, The Late Henry Moss. Good for anyone in the theater or any of the arts.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Roland E. Zwick on May 22, 2005
Format: DVD
The documentary "This So-Called Disaster" is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Sam Sheppard's semi-autobiographical play "The Late Henry Moss," which debuted in San Francisco in 2000. Being himself the son of an alcoholic father, Sheppard drew upon his own personal experience for this cathartic tale of two brothers' coming to terms with the death of their own alcoholic father. The actors in this production include Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Cheech Marin and Woody Harrelson. As Penn says at one point, Sheppard's plays often deal with the theme of men trying to forge their identities in a world with no clear-cut definition of what a man is supposed to be. This theme filters through in both the snippets of the play we see being worked on in the rehearsals and in the on-camera interviews with Sheppard and many of the principal performers in the production.

It's a tribute to both the power of Sheppard's writing and the talent of the actors playing the roles that we find ourselves wanting to see this play merely from the glimpses we get of it in rough-cut form. Anyone interested in playwriting and fine acting will be mesmerized by the nuts-and-bolts aspects of this film, as it shows us just how a theatrical work, involving some of the greatest talents in modern drama, ultimately comes to fruition.

It's no "Looking for Richard," but "This So-Called Disaster" has much to offer the serious theaterphile.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Farr on July 30, 2007
Format: DVD
"Moss" is a dark, demanding piece, so the rehearsals director Michael Almereyda respectfully captures in "Disaster" are draining for all concerned. What transfixed this fly on the wall was how directors and actors adopt their own language in rehearsing a play--one virtually unintelligible to the layman, but to trained professionals, a pure dialect pinpointing emotion and motivation. "Disaster" is an absolute must for anyone interested in the inner workings of acting and the theatre.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wuthering Heights on March 10, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
You get to see the process of making a play using all the top stars and how they actually get into their roles.

Makes you want to see that play.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By barb sikora on May 20, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I wasn't really sure if I should buy it just based on reviews. This is one of the best docs I have ever seen. I have viewed it five times already and keep seeing different aspects with each viewing. Recommend for anyone who loves Sam and docs. Shows how a play is rehearsed and everything else that goes into the production. What a perfect concept this was. Brilliant.
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