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American: The Bill Hicks Story Blu-ray Review

“American: A Bill Hicks Story” feels like more of a tribute than a documentary.

Through stock footage, photographs, concert footage, animation, and interviews with family and friends, “American: A Bill Hicks Story” is a documentary that chronicles the controversial comedian’s childhood, his rise to fame, his changing image, and his tragic death to cancer. For those expecting a truly revealing and in-depth exploration of the comedian, you might be disappointed by the finished product here. We never really get a real understanding of the man as the film glosses over his life fairly quickly. Instead, we get a film that essentially showcases his talent and shows him as he was.

Of course, the documentary has its bright spots. There are some truly fascinating moments here such as his political and religious views/rants and his transition from a clean-cut comedian to an angry, drinking, smoking, drug taking comedian. I’m sure some fans were already aware of the comedian’s history, but to me, it was interesting to watch how his comedic material (and his life) altered so drastically throughout the course of his life.

Summary: If you are a fan of Bill Hicks, this documentary will appeal to you. If you aren’t a fan, I don’t see this documentary changing your mind about him.

Video/Audio:

The widescreen 1080i picture quality is so-so. A lot of the stock footage is very grainy, but the newly shot scenes look crisp. With that said, I don’t quite get why this is getting the Blu-ray treatment. Documentaries don’t tend to be must own hi-def titles.

The 5.1 DTS-HD audio track is generally fine (depending on the quality of the stock footage).

Extras:
* “Sherlock” and “Doctor Who- Series 5” trailers and an audience reaction trailer of “American- The Bill Hicks Story.”
* A booklet with behind the scenes information.
* Extended interviews: Bill’s Early Life, Creating Characters, School Years, The Comedy Begins, Early Annex Years, Heading to LA, Back In Houston With The Outlaw Comics, The Dark Years, Going Sober, Performing In The UK, Diagnosis, Bill Tells His Friends, and Love, Laughter & Truth.
* A Q&A panel for “American: The Bill Hicks Story” at South By Southwest.
* “Dominion Tour”- People involved with the “Revelations” special reminisce about it.
* 7 deleted scenes, 4 early scenes and 3 alternative scenes.

* 18 rare clips involving everything from the Outawls, Waco, and Ninja Bachelor Party.
* 3 Bill Hicks audio journal clips from 1981 and 1992.

September 1, 2011 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review |

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