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Left of the Dial
Left of the Dial
Actors: Mark Walsh, Al Franken, Katherine Lanpher, Randi Rhodes, Janeane Garofalo
Directors: Kate O'Callaghan, Patrick Farrelly
Genres: Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 38min

This America Undercover documentary charts the long-anticipated rise, scandalous near-fall, and subsequent salvation of Air America Radio, a liberal radio network geared towards those whose opinions skew a bit more to the ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Mark Walsh, Al Franken, Katherine Lanpher, Randi Rhodes, Janeane Garofalo
Directors: Kate O'Callaghan, Patrick Farrelly
Creators: Kate O'Callaghan, Erica Soehngen, Jack Lechner, Jacqueline Glover, Lisa Heller, Michael Bonfiglio
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Documentary
Studio: Hbo Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 02/21/2006
Original Release Date: 03/31/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 03/31/2005
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 38min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Three Cheers for Air America!
Patrick | Wisconsin, USA | 11/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The story of Air America is really an amazing one. Before it ever launched, right wingers were saying it would never make it. A few days after it was on the air you had Bill O'Reilly saying "Is that still on?" And Ann Coulter saying "Nobody listens to Air America." The company had very poor management in charge and ended up losing Los Angeles and Chicago. It looked like Air America was going to flop. But because of the on air talent, most notably Randi Rhodes, it survived. People may tune in initially to hear Al Franken, but it's Randi that keeps people coming back day after day. The company is nearly two years old and it's already got over 70 stations. It's ratings are still far behind Rush Limbaugh's but he's been on for over 20 years and broadcasts from over 600 stations. So when he talks about Air America's ratings just remember that the company is still a baby but this baby is already on it's feet walking.

I had the pleasure to attend a live broadcast of Al Franken's show in Los Angeles (AM 1150) and the venue was jam packed full of people. So Air America has an audience and it's growing every day."
Great documentary about a great radio network
C. L. Johnson | Campbell, CA United States | 03/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have been listening to Air America almost from its inception when I discovered that I could stream it on my computer. This documentary does a great job of showing us how Air America got started and it's great to see the radio personalities learning this new (for some of them) craft. It was Al Franken and his book "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right" that brought me to Air American, but it has been Marc Maron and Sam Sedar who make me stay (and keep me sane!). With this DVD, there is the added plus of listening to the commentary of Randi Rhodes and Marc Maron as well as the filmakers themselves, and they all offer some nice tidbits from behind the scenes. Hopefully Air American will become stronger and the local radio stations (KQKE in my area) can broadcast nothing but progressive/liberal talk radio that will ultimately make our country and the world a better place."
Amazing Documentary
Reelbuff | 02/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This HBO documentary about the early days of Air America Radio is a pretty amazing piece of work. It's a real edge of your seat film with plenty of twists and turns to keep your attention. It's a total roller coaster ride with internal meltdowns, allegations of fraud, very funny political on-air stuff and loads of drama. Even if you're not a fan of Al Franken, Randi Rhodes and Janeane Garofalo (which I am) you'll find this behind the scenes documentary really compelling. The stuff with Randi Rhodes in particular is awesome -- she's a total revelation in this film. For anyone interested in re-visiting the political passions of 2004 this film is a must.
Highly recommended."
Engaging, Passionate, Honest, and Surprising!
Zapp B. | 02/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I've been a listener of Air America (esp. The Majority Report) from Day 1 but missed the broadcast of "Left of the Dial" on HBO. Thank goodness they released the DVD!

As mentioned by reviewers, Randi Rhodes is THE surprise of the film. I find her radio show to be fun and energizing...but only in small doses. She can be rather shrill & grating to my ears but I was very glad to see her in a more intimate light.

The DVD has two audio commentary tracks, #1 with Randi and Marc Maron, #2 with filmmakers Farrelly and O'Callaghan (BOTH TRACKS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!) but sadly, no subtitles/close captioning of any kind. There are several excellent special features: Deleted Scenes, Interviews with Randi, Chuck D, and Janeane Garofalo but the 20-minute Q&A segment with the filmmakers at the Jacob Burns Film Center is a special treat.

The film and commentaries revealed some of the massive internal problems - deception, infighting and clash of personalities / philosophies - which, by all accounts, should have sunk this venture. The fact that Air America is very much alive and growing is a testament to the passion and commitment of the staff, and to the very real need that they serve in an America with policies and doctrines that Thomas Jefferson would neither recognize nor approve.

(4-1/2 Stars)"