American - The Bill Hicks Story [DVD]
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Growing up in Texas, Bill Hicks first started performing comedy at the age of 15. He soon became a regular in Houston’s comedy circuit, before moving to LA and embarking on a touring schedule, playing up to 300 shows a yea, all in a country where he was largely unknown.
In 1990, Hicks performed in the United Kingdom for the first time, and became an instant star, finding fame and notoriety which had escaped him in the US and it was just as Hicks seemed on the verge of a commercial breakthrough in America, that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died on February 24, 1994 at just 32.
Using never-before-seen animation techniques we hear Bill’s story, for the first time, through the people who knew him best, his family and friends, showing a timeless legacy left that’s as fresh and relevant today as it was when he wrote it.
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Top Customer Reviews
I was lucky enough to see Bill on a UK tour in the early 90's, coming on stage to 'Enter Sandman" by Metallica, then proceeding to excite, thrill, and scare us in equal measure! he was nothing less than mesmerizing, and I've championed him ever since, to anyone and everyone, and it gladdens my heart to see that he's getting some recognition, finally in the mainstream.
If Bill were alive today, he'd have a field day with the state of the world.... I mean, 2 George Bush's...!!!!
The Legend lives on! Bill Hicks, gone but never forgotten.
Happily, this is not the case & the film seems to be both a genuine and sincere homage to the man himself, but also a real attempt to bring something fresh & unseen to fan-boys (such as myself).
The plot is fairly simple - it starts off with his early years and ends with his death from cancer. In the process, they place each of the DVD's and CD's in context & show lots of interview clips of fellow comedians, friends & family.
So far, so predictable.
The great thing about this film though is that they have included many, many pieces of unseen footage & have strived to put him in the context of fellow comedians (all of whom are excellent - e.g. Jimmy Pineapple (esp the 'I am 'it'' routine))
The most original contribution that the film maker's have made is to take all the 100's of photos of Bill & turned them into action-stills. A lot of the material by the man is the same, but he always had a gift of being photogenic and hence this factor symbolises the director's efforts to bring something new to the table.
By no means is this film perfect & I have heard some people say 'It's not that good', but not from anyone who's actually seen it.
One thing I can pick out is that there is nothing about his relationships or Girlfriends that were so formative to much of his comedy (e.g. his Fiance Colleen McGarr).
There is also the fact that the film ends with the 'It's Just a Ride' scene, which is fast becoming cliche (e.g.Read more ›
The film was clearly a massive labour-of-love for the directors. Unlike some of the other documentaries about him, it focuses on the recollections of those who knew Bill best, and not on high-profile celebrity opinions, and is all the better for it, I think. As I understand it, it is the first film about Bill to have the full blessing and cooperation of his family.
The animation is funny without intruding at all, linking the action and illustrating points well. Yes, the film includes the possibly clichéd "It's Just A Ride" bit, but in this excellent re-telling of it's context, (his knowledge of his impending death) that part of his routine is, for me, renewed and very moving.
The lack of detail about Bill's relationships with women was explained by the Directors: his ex partners had either died or were unwilling to take part in the film. This is a shame, but there is so much material to whittle down to an hour and a half, that it was inevitable some good stuff would have to be left out. And it would have been a shame not to do that part of his life full justice.
Apparently there will be loads of extras on the DVD, and if the excellent rare footage in the film itself is anything to go by, that alone will make it a must for Hicks fans (even those of us who know the routines backwards, and were lucky enough to see him perform live).
I don't really see how this film could have been done better than it was. Deserves a wide audience.
The image quality of the new material is excellent - and where the source was good enough the archive footage has scrubbed up well.
On the extras disc there is a little flaw - you want to watch all the rare footage - and there's no "Play all" feature - and annoyingly - after each one the menu system resets back to the root - and you have to navigate back to each one...
But aparat from that - a worthy addition to any Hicks fan's collection.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked Bill Hicks, and this DVD tells 'his story', of how he became a comedian, and his demise from cancer of the pancreas. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Morebrightness