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The People vs. Larry Flynt (SE)
DVD disk
Oct 7, 2004 By: Indiana Sev
The People vs. Larry Flynt (SE) order
Director:
Milos Forman

Actors:
Woody Harrelson
Courtney Love
Edward Norton

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A bio-pic on the life and times of controversial Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt. The film follows Flynt’s rise as one of the top publisher’s of “adult literature” and focuses on his many outrageous and inspiring court battles over the years fighting for his First Amendment right to….well, peddle smut!
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I decided that it was crucial to do a lot of research before reviewing this film; so I went to the local library (under my bed), did some serious research (once every couple of hours) and came up (no pun intended) with this review.

Okay, if you’re still reading after that completely unprofessional set-up, you’re gonna love this movie almost as much as this (very tired) reviewer. What do you get when you mix the wacky writers of ED WOOD, the talented director of such films as AMADEUS and ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST with a gifted cast of actors like Woody Boyd (oops, Harrelson), Edward Norton and a lot of social commentary, humor and touching moments? I don’t know. Oh, that’s right, you get one hell of an entertaining movie-watching experience. In fact, it’s such a treat to watch a film that can show the importance of the rights and freedoms that all Americans have without sounding like a goddamn broken record, but director Forman manages to give the audience a very good idea of who Larry Flynt was (and still is in body and soul) without boring us with minor details. He paints a very accurate portrait of a man who had strong convictions and wanted to be remembered for more than just another porn magazine magnate.

I would even go so far as to say that it’s one of the most inspiring bio-pics I’ve ever seen. The film deals with a man who was the head of a billion dollar enterprise and was still willing to take prison sentences, meaningless lawsuits and a goddamn bullet in order to bring to the forefront the importance of everyone’s right to free speech and expression. Harrelson also put himself out there as one of the top actors around with his brilliant performance (it’s a shame the dude doesn’t do more movies, I think he sells hemp pants now?) while Forman mixed in equal doses of heart, humor and humanity all around. The score and soundtrack were also top-notch and the feeling that this movie leaves you with is something that you can take to the bank and put in your safe deposit box because it’s…um….special?

Oh, darn, I almost forgot, Courtney Love plays herself again as a drugged-up whore (aaaaah, ain’t free speech grand!)
THE EXTRAS
Yipeeeeeee! Two audio commentaries (one with the three principal actors and the other with writers Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski). The writer’s commentary is a great listen, these two buddies talk without any pauses throughout and matter-of-factly go through their entire experience with this film and their screenwriting careers. The other commentary, doesn’t actually have Love, Harrelson and Norton talking at the same time (boooo!), they all have their separate scenes and there are many lulls in between their commentaries. The most interesting is Harrelson’s (when is he not entertaining?) Next at bat is a featurette entitled “free speech or porn”. This is a half hour ride into the belly of this movie; it’s got everything in it, from Love’s and Norton’s screen tests, to various interviews with the writers, director and cast (and the obligatory 2 cents by Oliver Stone, of course).

It also includes behind-the-scenes footage and a whole lot of other fascinating bits that I don’t want to ruin for you. If you loved the movie, it’s a great sorbet to follow it up with. “Larry Flynt Exposed” is another 30-minute feature which is basically a mini-bio of the man narrated by Dennis Hopper (?). This is essential for anyone who wants to know more about the man. Footage of Flynt in his hey-day, on the stand and the like are part of this interview-laden bio, which is thoroughly entertaining. It covers many things the film didn’t have time for and it’s a great addition to this DVD. Two deleted scenes with optional commentary are also included, nothing to cancel your vacation plans over, but a cool little feature nonetheless. They also include a New York Times article entitled "Larry Flynt, Patriot" which was in print around the time of the film’s release and praises the film for its important social and political stands. Some filmographies and trailers round out this impressive extras set.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Do me a personal favor: go out, drive, walk or run and buy yourself a copy of this DVD. It’s a great addition to anyone’s DVD collection because it’s got the kind of stuff that will make you want to get up, and say (like in another important socially conscious film NETWORK): ”I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” Indeed. This is a beautifully made picture with loads of brains, balls and belly laughs…what more do you want? A porno mag, perhaps?
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