He was the world-renowned King of Pop Artand his life was about to take a dramatic turn in exchange for someone else's fifteen minutes of fame! Starring Lili Taylor (Ransom) and Jared Harris (Father's Day), and winner of t... more »he Sundance Film Festival's Special Jury Recognition Award*,this "vibrant, touching and thoroughly entertaining film" (The New York Times) explores the provocative story behind the shooting of '60s superstar Andy Warhol. Valerie Solanas (Taylor), a lesbian writer, loner and prostitute, has come to the Big Apple with one goal in mind: to spread the gospel of her radical feminism. Desperate for an audience, she latches on to the fringes of Warhol's (Harris) glamorous sex-and-drug-laced Factory scene. But as her zeal swerves dangerously out of control, her private madness leads to a bizarre obsession with the artist himselfand a final, explosive act of violence that not only gets her notice...but makes her manifesto infamous. *1996« less
Chris K. Wilson | Dallas, TX United States | 05/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I suppose "I Shot Andy Warhol" is different things to different people. I have argued vehemently with friends whose opinion I respect about the extraordinary merits of this film. I think "I Shot Andy Warhol" was one of the finest films of 1998. I also think this film is blessed with one of the most intense performances of any era by Lili Taylor, unforgettable in the lead role of lesbian-prostitute-feminist-deranged-Warhol-groupie Valerie Solanas. Hers is a brave, utterly believable portrayal, wrought with desperation, loneliness and a creative need chained by conventions of American society.To expect a by-the-numbers retelling/recreation of the true events portrayed in this film - Solanas' assault of Andy Warhol - is entirely missing the point. I believe film director/writer Mary Harron was trying to reveal a type of exploitation of women that existed during this time, and certainly hovered in the shadows of the pseudo alternative arts culture of Andy Warhol's Factory - a dream-like warehouse littered with black-clad artists/writers/filmmakers instinctively creating against-the-grain works while rebelling against the conservative conventions of 1950s-1960s American culture.Harron's version of Solanas, who would go on to publish the frightening though fascinating work "SCUM Manifesto," is a lonely, out-of-place soul. She initially appears to have found a comrade haven in Warhol's Factory. But her rage, plus her radical feminist views, eventually causes her "excommunication," leading to her assualt of Andy. The shooting itself essentially ended Warhol's artistic career, leaving wounds which would never entirely heal.I like the contrast Harron makes several times throughout the film between Warhol (well played by Jared Harris) and Solanas - with Warhol as the effeminate introverted male and Solanas as the masculine extroverted female. These two are definitely opposite sides of the coin. I was also impressed by Harron's pointed observation of the women-hating exploitation that existed in much of the Factory's art. It has always been cool to admire Warhol and the legend of his Factory. Harron's recreation of several of the warehouse parties, including a memorable Velvet Underground concert, are some of the many highlights of this film.But eventually in Harron's film, Solanas' radical views are too counter culture for even Warhol and company. And once again Solanas is an outcast, lonely and adrift within the confines of the New York art scene of the 1960s. "I Shot Andy Warhol" is such a sad film in many ways, detailing lost souls void of acceptable identity. Solanas' rage is the angst of all struggling outcasts, cursed by a need to create, but unable to find the proper forum or audience. That she took her rage to the ultimate extreme should not be applauded. But to place her into the conventional (and safe) category of demented psycho is not entirely accurate. It's a brave stance "I Shot Andy Warhol" makes, and perhaps it is just another form of the emotional truth of this story.Harron's "I Shot Andy Warhol" is an alternative examination of alternative lifestyles. It's stance is disturbingly unique, with a creative style undeniable."
Totally degenerate, but very well done
Dennis Littrell | SoCal | 11/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Director Mary Harron invades the sixties tinfoil castle of Andy Warhol and spins a kind of art deco loser romance with the very talented Lili Taylor playing the very butch Valerie Solanas, who actually did shoot Andy Warhol. I have been driving myself crazy trying to recall who Taylor is taking off on, some little guy, ghetto denizen from a forgotten flick of my mind. If anybody recognizes the style, please let me know. Anyway, she manages to be surprisingly sympathetic as the authoress of the SCUM manifesto (that's "Society for the Cutting Up of Men") and a play entitled "Up Your ...," which I suppose is appropriate considering the decadence depicted. Taylor's Valerie Solanas is strangely winning as a victim of a desperate, mad integrity. (I suspect the real Valerie was anything but sympathetic.) She won't take a job but will beg, panhandle, turn tricks and steal. She's a true believer whose main tenet is that men are something akin to a disease. Because she is bright and witty and courageous she wins us over even though she hates us. We forgive her because we know she hurts a lot and can't help herself. (To which she would say, "...")Harron decorates this sixties cum nineties version of New York chic/flophouse reality with the kind of degenerate personalities for which the Big Apple is justly famous. Jared Harris plays Andy Warhol brilliantly with something like a truer than true characterization, combining a sympathetic, eccentric and gentle exterior with an exploitive mercantile heart. One gets the sense that he had it coming. Stephen Dorff is Candy Darling, a transvestite so fetching that he makes a guy like me wish he had a sister. Lothaire Bluteau as Olympia Press publisher Maurice Girodias seems a little young, but otherwise fits the bill, and Martha Plimpton as Stevie does a nice job in a modest part. The sound track might catch your ear with Blue Cheer performing the Coasters' "Summertime Blues" and Bettie Serveert doing a fine interpretation of Dylan's "I'll Keep It with Mine." Jewel (yes, the very same) sings "Sunshine Superman," and completing the nineties accent on the sixties, REM does "Love Is All Around." Probably outright anachronistic is the use of an aluminum soda can to smoke grass. I don't think that came into practice until later when the skunkweed got so strong you could smoke it like hash.Some other sights: the Andy Warhol hanger-ons doing a faux sand-painting mandala with pills as they party, and then one of them rolling her naked torso into the pills so that they stick to her body. Or the guy coming out of--an encounter, we'll call it--with a jar of Vaseline in hand in time to greet some slumming French aristocratic ladies whose hands (one gloved) he kisses. In a bit of haute culture ridicule, another of the hangers-on asks poor Candy Darling, "We've been wondering, how often do you get your period?" To which s/he replies, "Every day. I'm all woman."If you're the kind of person who watches the Disney Channel, I would recommend you skip this. Otherwise you might want to check it out. I found it surprisingly smart and witty. The print is finely cut, the acting is superior, and there's an underlying sense of something close to the heroic in a clearly quixotic way."
A brilliant and overlooked film!
FloozyFlapper1926 | Somewhere in the 20's | 05/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""I Shot Andy Warhol" is an interesting look at the life of the disturbed feminist Valerie Solanas. Its a brilliant film that takes you into a world that is often ugly yet impossible to turn away from. The first time I watched it, I felt a little uncomfortable with some of the subject matter. I don't see this movie as making a judgment call on either side. It just tells the story of the deterioration of this woman and her growing hatred and obsession with Andy Warhol that led to the shooting. Valerie wrote this odd little play with a name I can't write here. She found her way to the Factory through Candy Darling, a drag queen brilliantly portrayed by Stephen Dorff. None of them were interested too much in the play and it got tossed out with the trash. After being duped by a shady publisher for her feminist manifesto, she became increasingly enraged and obsessed with Warhol who she believed was trying to steal her book. I have to admit that this would be a disturbing film for most people. Her ideas were very warped and skewed by a hatred and distrust of men. The ironic thing was that she probably could have been a good writer if her bitterness and insanity hadn't taken over. I think this shows what can happen to a person sexually abused as a child. Its a really depressing film that always makes me wince whenever I see it. However, its so powerful that I've watched it many times. I think Lily Taylor should have got an Oscar for this film. She put her heart and soul into this character.All in all, I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. Its definitely a film that offends a lot of people. I didn't see this film as glorifying this woman nor condemning her. It told the story the best that it could. Its definitely a film that will be remembered."
Only in Manhatten?
calmly | 08/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It must be Manhatten. The distance between the Warhol art scene and the Times Square porn scene seems to have been small. A "Midnight Cowboy" for the 90's.
This is one of my favorite films from the 90's. Certainly more of an edge than Oscar winners from the '90's Forrest Gump, Titanic and Shakespeare in Love.
Lili Taylor as Valerie Solonas is superb. The overall cast is excellent. Stephen Dorff as Candy Darling is ... irresistible. Going beyond the fine acting is the direction, Mary Harron making it all just too real. She also co-wrote the script with Daniel Minahan, who later directed "Series 7: The Contender". Without Harron's tight handling, this film probably would have just been odd. Now it's great and odd. Billy Name, who was responsible for covering the actual Factory's inner walls in foil, was an advisor. He seems to have been put to good use.
I've watched twice now, the second time seeming even more powerful than the first. The second half was especially absorbing. The entire Warhol scene seems fascinating. Reading about it first in a book like "Popism: The Warhol Sixties" might enhance viewing of this movie. Something to watch but perhaps to be glad not to have been part of. Well, who's bold enough?
And yet somehow these wild side walkers have been made to seem familiar, perhaps not the girls next door but maybe just up the street. "I Shot Andy Warhol" begins as a look at the fringe and ends much closer to home."
Drag Queens, Dope Fiends, and The Manifesto...
yygsgsdrassil | Crossroads America | 03/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you want to see a tour de force performance--well, two, actually--buy, rent, borrow or steal this vid. Taylor as Solanus is amazing as well as Dorff as Candy. Recall those old WB cartoons in which there's the big Bowery bulldog prancing down the street with his little dog protege?--"Hey, Spike, let's chase some cats! Yawanna? Yawanna? Do ya?". Well, that's a bit how hustling street girl Solanus comes off as sometimes. Her line is "For 'you,' a quarter--fifty cents"..The way she cocks her hat and smokes tons of cigarettes while spewing forth her rampages about how men are genetic mistakes is priceless--she totally gets into her character. There are hints at the infamous Warhol subversive videos and cinema, the Underground and the Swinging Sixties--Yeeeah Baybaay! And the genius of the fringe and near fringe. And Noo Yawk Citay! Was Warhol exploiting the poor for his art? Or did he have a certain kinship because he was the ultimate outsider? Who's to say? Anyway, this is a great production that slipped by many movie goers when it was released. Enjoy it, now!"