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I'm hard to
please when it comes to this kind of movie. Biopics play heavy on
drama, and I don't care much for drama. However, if it's a good
film biography, we can all take something from it. This sort of
film is more for educational purposes, I feel, than
entertainment. Biopics that have a dishonest, Hollywood,
sensationalist feel are not welcome in my movie collection.
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"Beyond the Doors" (1984) [aka "Down on Us"]
"The Doors" (1991)
"Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" (1993)
"Ed Gein" (2000)
"Ted Bundy" (2002)
Dahmer (2002)- BORING! Who would
think a movie about a legendary serial killer could be so boring!
It's 102 minutes, and ALL of it dwells on Jeffrey Dahmer's
homosexuality. Dahmer was gay, and he hated himself for what he
was, so he hurt and/or killed everyone he came into contact with.
A good movie would have established that in a total of about 20
minutes, then moved onto the story. In reality, Dahmer was known
to have killed seventeen men; this movie shows two...and spreads it
throughout the whole movie via incoherent flashbacks. This movie
doesn't even touch on Jeffrey Dahmer's cannibalism, which was the most
hair-raising thing about this case on the news. "Dahmer" doesn't
show us how he was caught and arrested, there's nothing about the
trial, and nothing about his experience in prison. A little card
at the end of the movie tells us he was beaten to death in prison just
two years into his life sentence. How come we're not told more
about that? Basically, this movie tells us nothing except that he
was an angry gay guy.
I guess Jeremy Renner did a good enough job of
portraying Jeffrey Dahmer...he just didn't get to do anything!
Bruce Davison played a cool character as Jeffrey's father, Lionel, who
really tried to help out his son back in his teenage years, but the
scenes with Lionel were really just filler. It didn't have much
to do with anything that Jeffrey Dahmer did. If Lionel had served
some inspiration for Jeffrey's killings, then it would've been
important to show him. But I think this movie just wanted to let
us know Jeffrey had a father and grandmother and that's about as deep
as it went. As far as characters go, Artel Kayaru had the most
interesting part as Rodney, an intended victim of Dahmer's that was
lucky enough to not be killed. Rodney was kind of funny and
likable. But the whole movie falls short on being informative
about the Jeffrey Dahmer case or entertaining.
Final analysis: If you're curious about the
Jeffrey Dahmer case, you're better off watching one of the
investigative reports from the news for information and entertainment
value. Don't waste your time on boring, dry "Dahmer".
Jeremy Renner as Jeffrey Dahmer
Bruce Davison as Lionel Dahmer
Kate Williamson as Jeffrey's Grandma
Artel Great as Rodney [credited as Artel Kayaru]
Matt Newton as Lance Bell
Dion Basco as Khamtay
Director & Writer- David Jacobson
- The Mind
is a Place of its Own [US; working title]
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993)-
This is definitely not a 100% true biography, but the
basic events are true enough. It's a very "Hollywoodized" version
of Bruce Lee's life story. It doesn't at all touch on his
mysterious death, but more than gives us a good look into his character
and what happened in his life.
Bruce Lee, as you should know, became the world's
most celebrated martial artist in and out of film. He had a slow,
but steady rise to fame. On the edge of international
superstardom with the film "Enter the Dragon", Bruce Lee died just
three weeks before the legendary film opened in theaters.
His life outside of movies was just as thrilling as
his onscreen adventures. That's what this movie really brushes
on. Jason Scott Lee does a wonderful job as Bruce Lee. I
really enjoyed the whole cast. This is quite a story and one that
can't be missed.
Jason Scott Lee as Bruce Lee
Lauren Holly as Linda Lee
Robert Wagner as Bill Krieger
Sven-Ole Thorson as The Demon
Iain M. Parker as Brandon Lee
Michelle Tennant as Shannon Lee
Forry Smith as Green Hornet
Van Williams as Green Hornet Director
Shannon Lee as Party Singer
Rob Cohen as Enter the Dragon Director
Clyde Kusatsu as History Teacher
Director- Rob Cohen
Writers- Robert Clouse (author, "Bruce Lee: The Biography"), Linda Lee
Cadwell (author, "Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew"), Edward Khmara, John
Raffo, and Rob Cohen (screenplay).
Scott Lee had no previous martial arts training or experience prior to
this film. He was a dancer. A dancer was selected to play
Bruce Lee because it was believed that it closer matched Bruce's style.
Scott Lee was trained in martial arts especially for this role by a
former student of Bruce Lee. This man, older and with gray hair,
can be seen in the movie! It was the scene where Bruce Lee leaves
the ring after he defeats the man who once broke his back.
Lee was offered the role of Bruce Lee, but turned it down pretty early
Lee, Bruce's first child with Linda, plays the party singer. In
that scene, Linda tells Bruce she's pregnant. Shannon was the
result of that pregnancy! How cool is that!
- The style
of kung fu practiced at the beginning of the movie by little Bruce Lee
and his master is called Wing Chun.
Williams, who actually played "The Green Hornet" on TV, plays the Green
Hornet Director in this movie!
on May 7, 1993 in the US.
Ed Gein (2000)- Originally known as
the Light of the Moon". "Ed Gein" is a better title for this
movie and makes more sense. I normally don't care for movies
about psychos. This is a bit better done than most. "Ed
Gein" is made to be more of a straight-ahead biopic rather than an
exploitative Hollywood flick. This movie was not made to
celebrate the killing; it simply tells the story of a mad killer.
Anyone who asks themselves the question, "Who was this guy?" will get a
Outwardly, Ed Gein was an easygoing guy, but always
a bit odd to the people of Plainfield, Wisconsin. No one expected
that he was the victim of lifelong abuse by his parents, both physical
and verbal. Ed Gein's sordid family life scarred him emotionally
and affected him mentally. Ed's mother Augusta, in particular,
was an extreme religious fanatic. Her forced readings of Bible
horror stories to Ed, from childhood to middle age, encouraged a deeper
fascination of human mutilation. His feelings and actions
remained repressed until after his mother died. Once Ed lost
guidance from his controlling mother, he began to carry out his twisted
fantasies. At first, he simply dug up corpses from the cemetery
to fulfill his guilty pleasures. Then he moved onto actually
killing people before he was caught and arrested. Declared
legally insane, Ed Gein was institutionalized for the rest of his life.
This was filmed well and although there are a few
moments of explicit violence, much of the violence is implied.
The filmmakers weren't trying to make this over-the-top or hard to
watch. We actually have an empathy for Ed Gein and can see why he
was so disturbed. This film isn't promoting violence or stating
that it's okay in any manner, but we do see how Ed Gein was driven to
his actions. "Ed Gein" does a good job of showing the title
character and the supporting cast as real people, even those that are
doomed. I'd recommend this film for college history classes.
Steve Railsback did a commendable job as Ed
Gein. Other standout performers include Carol Mansell, Carrie
Snodgress, Sally Champlin, Steve Blackwood, and Pat Skipper.
Everyone did a great job, but the actors mentioned have the most
interesting parts and they did very well with them.
Steve Railsback as Ed Gein
Carrie Snodgress as August W. Gein
Brian Evers as Henry Gein, Ed's brother
Bill Cross as George Gein, Ed's father
Craig Zimmerman as Pete Anderson, Ed's friend
Carol Mansell as Collette Marshall, store owner
Sally Champlin as Mary Hogan, bar owner
Steve Blackwood as Brian, co-worker to Collette Marshall
Pat Skipper as Sheriff Jim Stillwell
- In the
Light of the Moon (US; original title)
- Under the
Moonlight (US; working title)
real-life Ed Gein was the inspiration for movies "Psycho" and "The
Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Pretty much, Ed Gein became the
archetype for EVERY movie about some crazy serial killer and/or
cannibal. It's a heck of a way to make your mark on the world.
this movie expressly says that he killed two women, it is believed that
he might have killed four other people. But evidence strictly
ties him to the two murders detailed in this film. It's still
unknown just how many people Ed Gein actually killed. And, of
course, it's greatly believed that he killed his own brother and made
it look like an accident.
Bundy (2002)- Again, I'm not really into movies about
psychos, but this one is excellent. It's based on the true story
of Ted Bundy, and views more like an action movie than we'd
expect. Even at that, we are still given depth into the man's
extremely disturbed mind. This isn't at all exploitative, but I
think the real story is so fantastic that it just translates well into
a movie. The film moves quickly, and there's always something
happening. Ted Bundy is the bad guy, make no mistake, and at the
end of the movie he gets the punishment he deserves.
Ted Bundy was not on anyone's list of suspects when
the killings first started. Handsome and charismatic, Ted had no
trouble getting female attention. However, a deeper madness drove
him to kidnap, rape, kill, even dismember an unknown number of
attractive young women in a five-year killing spree. It's known
that he killed about 35 or 36 women, but it's speculated that he killed
over 100 women, possibly even 150.
It's a terrible pity that so many people had to die
and so many lives had to be shattered in order for this movie to even
be inspired. I hope, and I believe the filmmakers hope, that
people will see this and learn not to take someone at face value, and
not to leave yourself vulnerable to strangers. Nearly all of
Bundy's victims took it on good faith that he was an honest,
well-adjusted man and they paid the ultimate penalty. Although
this movie may not be 100% true to the real thing (hardly any biopic
is), it is a very good representation of what actually happened.
Michael Reilly Burke does an excellent job of bringing the infamous
serial killer to frightening reality.
Michael Reilly Burke as Ted Bundy
Boti Bliss as Lee [credited as Boti Ann Bliss]
Steffani Brass as Julie, Lee's daughter
Tracey Walter as Randy Myers
Carol Mansell as Mrs. Myers
Jim Kundig as Lee's Husband
[UK, US; working title]
- The Ted
Bundy Story [US; working title]
and footage of the real Ted Bundy are shown at the beginning and end of
- The names
of the victims mentioned in the movie are fictional and not the actual
names of Ted Bundy's victims. I imagine this was done out of
respect for the families of the victims.
- Rob Lowe,
Peter Saarsgard, and Kiefer Sutherland were all offered the role of Ted
Bundy, but turned it down due to the nature of the character.
Mansell, who played Mrs. Myers in this movie, also starred in another
movie about a famous serial killer, "Ed Gein" (2000).
in the movie when Ted's dancing, the music sounds like 1990s techno,
although everything happening is supposed to be in the 1970s.
- In the
movie, Ted is given one application of lethal electrical current.
According to Florida procedures, he would have actually been given
three applications. Small, almost insignificant detail, but
Ted Bundy WAS diapered prior to electrocution, it's said that neither
Florida or any other state engages in the "butt-stuffing" procedure we
see in this movie. That part may have been done more for dramatic
effect, to show Ted's ultimate humility.