Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|If I Should Fall from Grace - The Shane MacGowan Story|
Actors: Nick Cave, Philip Chevron, Victoria Clarke, Elvis Costello, Johnny Depp
Director: Sarah Share
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
This unflinching, music-driven documentary provides the first real insight into the background and career of this legendary Irish artist who, as lead singer and songwriter for the Pogues, became a worldwide punk icon. The... more »
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Certainly spins the yarn
razoredge24 | 06/04/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If I Should Fall From Grace is a great in-depth look at a man with the beautiful soul of an Irish poet combined with the arrested development of a London punk. We are of course, speaking of the one and only Shane Macgowan. Through much of the documentary it is quite obvious that our subject is teetering on the edge of passing out, but that doesn't prevent him from some brilliant moments of clarity and poetic commentary. The documentary takes us through Shane's early days as a troublemaker at school, abusing pain pills, and eventually dropping out to later form the Nips (shortened from their true name so as not to appear sexist) where he fist began performing in England. Next we move on to the earliest days of the pogues and the real meat & potatoes of their repetoire. Shane and the other commentators give insight to how the songs came about, their production, and the eventual toll touring took on the band's health. Next we move onto the Pogues at their peak, the "If I Should Fall from Grace with God" era, which is treated just as so in the film. Then begins the rapid decline of Shane's health, the band breaks up, yadda-yadda-yadda. Differing viewpoints are given, but nevertheless, Shane was put out to pasture. While the film is chock full of great music videos and live performances with and without the Pogues, I feel that the director did not give any time to Shane's new band, the Popes. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform at Guinness Fleadh '98, and they are an equally vibrant band that seems to fit well with Shane's continuing self-abuse through chemistry. Perhaps their inclusion would have merely reinforced Shane's continued debauchery, but interviewing ex-Pogues, and none of the current line-up makes the film feel somewhat incomplete.Nick Cave's commentary throughout the film was probably the most brilliant of all offerings, especially as we see Shane skipping lines and even nearly whole songs altogether (in bits & pieces) in the latter quarter of the film.Interspliced throughout the film are bits of "Shane about town". Some scenes are very moving, in that he hasn't forgotten the down-and-out, or his family. Still, the film, especially the end, plays like a reason not to abuse substances.All-in-all, I highly recommend this film. The good, the bad, and certainly the ugly are all rolled into one. If you're a lover of all things Irish, the story of Shane Macgowan is not one to be missed."
Paddy Public Enemy #1
razoredge24 | 06/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a vast improvement over the BBC's doc, THE GREAT HUNGER a few years back. The film makers here aren't rubbernecking nor deifying their dentally challanged subject. On the contrary, they succeed in giving you some insight into MacGowan's resiliant & unrepenting character. Sure, they talk about the booze & drugs. & Yes, MacGowan is suitibly lit up like a X-Mas tree in July throughout. But though his speech is garbled through booze, accent & lack of 2 front teeth, he is remarkably lucid behind the seeming haze. One of the more poignant moments comes when he hands all his cash to a homeless geezer, gently gesturing for the camera man to stop filming. They don't. He gets his revenge later when he playfully pokes the camera with a stick swiped from the Irish countryside. This is must have for fans due to the live footage alone. "Waxie's Dargle" captures the band in all their glory, while "The Irish Rover" shows MacGowan at his stately best. Among the interviews, Philp Chevron's are the most revealing, especially in regards to Shane's leaving of the band. While they wanted to branch out beyond Irish music, MacGowan wanted to stick to his guns. Ofcourse, the booze & dope were part of it as well, but that's nothing new. Nick Cave pretty much sums up the p.o.v. of this film when he says, "I have no right to admonish anyone for their drug intake". Rather than moralizing, this doc does it's candid best to reveal the man behind the drunken legend & pretty much succeeds. So hopefully, you'll walk away with a sense of respect, rather than tragedy. Rock's answer to Brendan Behan he may very well be, but the story's far from over."
S. Harris | Spotsylvania, VA | 09/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This may be the best rock documentary ever made. If it isn't, it's certainly in the top 3. "If I Should Fall from Grace," is an excellent introduction to McGowan and the Pogues. It also cements in the viewer's mind the group's importance. I use the term "group" pretty generously. This was MacGowan's group, and he was the engine, as much as the other members thought it some sort of democracy (and there does seem to be bitterness between McGowan and the group).
"If I Should Fall from Grace" is also a sad affair. McGowan is a waste case, and in a shocking way. The only time he really lights up, shows there's still a brain left in that stew, is when he talks, quite intellegently, about the importance of the Sex Pistols, and the whole music scene of that time. Another interesting aside, is how McGowan views "Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash," which is a favorite album of mine. He's very so-so on it. Elvis Costello produced it, and McGowan essentially overprodued it. But you wonder if this is sour grapes, since Costello would take away the Pogue's bass player, Cait O'Riorden, and marry her. The rest of the present time in the documentary McGowan shuffles along, a lot like Ozzy Osbourne, mumbling, drinking, laughing like Aqualung on a park bench, with bottle nearby. McGowan's mate, Victoria Clark, seems less a lover now, and more a nursemaid. In contrast, interviews with Nick Cave, an admiring friend and contemporary of McGowan's, who was also a bad boy rocker, shows who made the right choice regarding drugs and booze. McGowan choice will probably send him to an early grave. It's impossible to imagine he has any music left in him. The video probably should had an R rating due to the awful state of McGowan's teeth, which seem to be rotting out of his head. But despite all of that, the great music clips from the past show the Music, the Man, and the Time, and this is director Sarah Share's triumph, and despite McGowan's current state, also his."
Elsa | 05/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Shane MacGowan is the stuff that legends are made of, a cockroach surviving his own torment, and letting souls such as myself, an alien to his world get an inside view. I was turned on to the Pogues in graduate school, and instantly fell in love. Shaney Mac's growling gravel voice has gone from somewhat clear to grunting, but I still love him. He can carry a tune like no other, his Irish is unique and haunting. Not always embraced, but easy to be around, scarry at times, but that's the attraction, isn't it. This dvd is an awesome journey into Shane's world, you get background life story, music, and coming full circle you see what the man has become, and wish that he had taken better care of himself, because you mourn for all that could be. I don't know how long we will have Mr. MacGowan, but as a fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this dvd, and would reccomend it without hesitation. Just make sure you are ready to be entertained, and please, do not moan about his voice or his life as I have heard so many others do, just enjoy it for what it is. If you're not a fan of his music, you might not get him. If you are, you're in for a treat. There was a great BBC special done on Shane called The Great Hunger, if you get the chance to view, I highly reccomend it. This dvd goes into much more detail and background, more interviews. Shane MacGowan is a cult classic. I am hoping they will release the BBC interview on dvd some day."