Harlan Ellison: Dreams with Sharp Teeth
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Crackling with infectious energy, DREAMS WITH SHARP TEETH pays homage to the dark prince of American letters, Harlan Ellison. Master of his craft, Ellison has heroically produced over 75 books and more than 1,700 classics of fiction and non-fiction on one of his Olympia manual typewriters, including the single most popular Star Trek episode ( City on the Edge of Forever ) and brilliant, award-winning short stories, some written in bookstore windows, on very public display.
Wildly imaginative writer, flame-tongued provocateur, unholy fusion of
Lenny Bruce and Mark Twain, Ellison s remarkable personal journey is lovingly rendered by director Erik Nelson.
The film draws on over 25 years of exclusive video footage that captures
Ellison at his most inspiring and irritating, curmudgeonly and lovable. See Ellison rant about the idiocies of geekdom, confess to mailing a dead gopher to an executive at a publishing house, recall his tortuous childhood, and speak about the joy (and craft) of writing. The film features candid interviews with famous and surprising friends, including actor Robin Williams, author Neil Gaiman and Ron Moore (Battlestar Galactica), who flesh out Ellison s prodigious contributions to the worlds of literature and popular culture, as well as their very personal encounters with this unique Force Of Nature.
Whether a die-hard Ellison fan or someone tragically uninitiated, DREAMS WITH SHARP TEETH will amuse, inspire, infuriate, and edify.
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The deepest insights come about a third of the way through, as Ellison walks us through the only existing home movies of his childhood, then talks about his experience as the only Jew and main target for bullies in his school. He makes some insightful comments about the effects this kind of treatment has on people.
The rest of the movie bears him out. He passionately goads others into striving for the best they can produce, lavishes praise on those who work their talent to create true and honest work, and castigates those who slough off in a brutal, profane manner. It is all of a package. Without the grit, there are no pearls, it would seem.
People who dislike Ellison should probably not watch, because why would you spend money plus 90 minutes of your life on a biopic of someone you dislike? There is nothing here to change your mind, although it may soften your dislike in some respects. Those who do not know him should probably read some stories first -- but why would they be reading this review if they didn't know him? So for everyone else, be warned: This is no soft-focus hagiography. What's best in Ellison, and what's worst, both come through very, very clearly.
But man! Would I like to tour that house.
Nice bonus material - unexpected.
Plunge. You will be better for it.
Included are lots of TV appearances, lectures, book-signings, and best of all, in-depth personal interviews. Harlan also reads several passages from his most famous stories.
What can I say? If you're a fan, this is what you've been waiting for. Even if you're not familiar with him, you'll be highly entertained by this film--and you'll immediately run out and find some of his books.