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Showing 1-10 of 25 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 97 reviews
on April 8, 2017
The first story "Fiction' is harsh, disarming, its focus the students and teacher of a writing class on a college campus-- the teacher Mr. Scott (Robert Wisdom), a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. That descriptor is one of a number of details significant in spotlighting the role societal symbols play in influencing behavior. The contemptuous and demeaning manner of the teacher seems to set the tone for his students' negativity and sharp edges. Something startling happens, but I leave it to your viewing. Solondz, as in other films of his, writes a character with some visible disability. Here it is Marcus (Leo Fitzpatrick), a student with cerebral palsy. And even though he is included in the free-for-all of quirky satire, he is ascribed no pitiable status. In "Wiener Dog," 2 characters have Down syndrome, and they are both depicted as competently functioning adults. Yes, Solondz likes to surprise, but inclusivity is what's apparent, not highlighting the disparity. There are so many important aspects to this piece: the role of truth vs. fiction, the influence of societal norms and expectations, the focus on the analysis of the writing and the failure to notice the person doing the writing. You will see the paradox in the 2 titles. This first story is so intense and skillfully written, I couldn't start the 2nd without a long think and a short rest. "Non-Fiction" is the 2nd story, in which a shoe salesman/ part-time "documentarian" wings a film based on the last idea that occurs to him, as he's always willing to "reconceive." So he follows a highly disorganized (the new term for dysfunctional) family vis-a-vis the eldest son, Scooby (Mark Webber), a very uninspired graduating high school student. The acting is top-notch in both stories, including the performances of Selma Blair, Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, and many more. All filmmaking disciplines are in sync and successful. Recommend.
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If you liked Happiness and Welcome to the Doll House you will probably find this film to be as totally engaging as I did. At times it is uncomfortable, but I absolutely had to watch to see how far it would go. (The conversations between the boy and the maid raised my blood pressure.)
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on September 3, 2015
Liked it a lot - Todd Solodnz is always pushing the limits. If you are not familiar with his work, don't watch this as a good times at the movies sorta flick.

It's a deep underside view of the common persons in NJ or those slightly above it - WATCH OUT!!! "Evil people should die, right?"

OMG - riveting.
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on December 28, 2012
This is a two part movie with two unrelated stories that are sort of related. It's not for the simple minded. Solondz is an awesome director with a very unique style. Buy this DVD!
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on March 27, 2008
Well. Not a film that I would recommend to anyone except serious film buffs who can stomach some pretty rough material. I barely made it through one scene...however, it's tamer than Solondz's previous films.

One can sense that Solondz is merely attacking his critics, and is using satire to do so. He pulls no punches, and as usual, remains as cynical as ever. The performances are great all around. The film is split into two parts, "Fiction" and "Non-fiction", which seem unrelated at first. It's not until after the film ends, that you can pick up on the subtle connections between the two. Once again, not a film that I would recommend to just anyone, but if you are familiar with Solondz at all, it's worth a shot...however, there are two scenes here that are rough and a bit gratuitous in nature. One could have been edited out all together, as it seemed to exist only for shock value and worked against the context of the film itself. That is my only criticism.
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on May 3, 2005
Is this film supposed to be realistic? No, because reality would be far too drawn out and boring for any film maker to successfully render. Instead, Solondz finds nuances and exploits them to their fullest, and the result is astounding. Although "Fiction" is short, it has a lot to say about sexuality and self deprication, and the critique of teacher and students is priceless. The ridiculousness of the characters in "Nonfiction" is enthralling.

"Storytelling" is of course not for everyone, and I believe most people would be offended by it. I highly recommend it to those who seek a subtle shock and who appreciate dark humor. This has been my favorite movie since I first saw it.
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on June 6, 2015
Sorry for the delay in giving you a rating. Thank you for sending it out right away. We enjoy the movie
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on April 29, 2014
The first thing you should know about this film is that most reviewers out there seem to have completely misinterpreted it. There some who call it a cruel parody of economic-class divisions; others say Solondz -- like Paul Giamatti's documentarian in the film -- is simply interested in exploiting his characters' cemented status as losers for his own benefit. Such interpretations are myopic and completely wrong.

Roger Ebert got it right (look up his review -- it's worth a read) when he said that it's an exploration of the motivations artists have for creating stories. And, as Ebert said, there's a confessional element to it, yes, but I'd say it goes even further and looks at why *anyone* frames the stories they tell, and even how we all interpret our respective places in the world. If we need to lie to others or to ourselves in order to gain some advantage or even just find some motivation to keep going, doing so is no problem for most of us. Truth becomes fictionalized, and falsehood gets passed off and accepted as truth.

I loved this concept and Solondz's general approach to it, so as a huge fan of _Welcome to the Dollhouse_, I really wanted to love this film. I was incredibly disappointed, then, in the execution. One major problem is that several of the actors (Leo Fitzpatrick, Mark Webber, Noah Fleiss, Andrew Marantz) just don't cut it; as a result, a number of scenes that should have been really emotionally poignant, simply fall flat or distract with their poor quality.

The directing, editing and some of the cinematography also go far in undercutting _Storytelling's_ potential. Even when the actors nail it (Selma Blair, Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Julie Hagerty, Jonathan Osser, Lupe Onteviros), the air is let out by an awkward cut, a lifeless camera angle, a boring directorial choice. Solondz's fairly conventional presentation of his material worked perfectly in _Welcome to the Dollhouse_, because there, it created a frankness that caused that film's sometimes ultra-squirmy content to hit the viewer even harder. But in _Storytelling_, the style (approaching a total lack of style) just makes it look like he doesn't know what he's doing.

In the end, I can recommend this one as an imaginative examination of an important element of human psychology -- but it falls far short of being as good as Solondz's other work.
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on June 22, 2013
I have always loved todd S. movies, this is one of best, I recommend to several people besides his others as well!!
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on June 29, 2015
Pretty standard fare from this director.
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