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Horns and Halos (2002)

Cast: Sander Hicks, Sander Hicks, J.H. Hatfield, more...
Director: Suki Hawley, Michael Galinsky, Suki Hawley, more...
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Go Kart
Genre: Documentary, Political & Social Issues
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish
    see additional details...

In 1999, as George W. Bush's bid for the presidency was gaining momentum, free-lance writer J.H. Hatfield contracted with St. Martin's Press to write a biography of the Texas governor and son of former U.S. President George Bush. When St. Martin's published Hatfield's book, entitled Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President, it gained overnight media attention for its allegation (supported by unnamed sources later revealed to be insiders in the Bush campaign) that Bush was arrested for cocaine possession in 1972, but the Bush family exerted political pressure to have the incident wiped from the records. Alarmed by the controversy the book had generated as well as revelations about Hatfield's past which cast suspicions on his credibility (including the fact he was a convicted felon), St. Martin's buckled under pressure (some allegedly exerted by the Bush family and their legal team) and recalled the book. After Fortunate Son disappeared from shelves, Sander Hicks, a young political activist and punk rock singer, approached Hatfield with a proposal to reissue the book through his small leftist publishing company, Soft Skull Press. Horns and Halos is a documentary which examines the controversy over the book but places its main focus on two major players in this story -- Hicks, whose energetic idealism doesn't always mask his na´vetÚ or his endless self-promotion, and Hatfield, a kind but troubled man whose ambition and desire for literary success, coupled with a desire to tell an important but controversial story, proves to be his undoing. Horns and Halos was named Best Documentary Feature at the 2002 New York Underground Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Ratings

Horns and Halos (2002)
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6.63 (30 votes)
Horns and Halos (Bonus Disc) (2002)
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5.50 (8 votes)

GreenCine Member Reviews

A little bonus by talltale October 26, 2004 - 3:07 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
I was so taken by the original HORNS AND HALOS documentary--surprised, charmed, moved and tickled--that I rented the bonus disc to learn more. On it, the directors mention that they originally had over nine hours of movie and so cut it down and down and down to less than an hour-and-a-half. Evidently, a lot of what they cut is on this disc, and a lot of it is somewhat tedious. The interviews are the best part (unless you're into so-so rock-n-roll)--with the directors, publishers (former and current) and some journalists coming off as the most interesting. The writer himself continues to dig his own grave in terms of truthfulness. Finishing this disc, you will probably be even less impressed with him, but still saddened by what has happened. His book "Fortunate Son," however, still appears to be selling--and to be worth a read.

More a character study than a political film by LissnerE October 25, 2004 - 2:34 PM PDT
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
As a character study, this film succeeds very well. One gets a good sense of the complexity of the two protagonists, the author and publisher.

However, despite what the publicity materials say, one should not turn to this movie for a political expose' of the Bush family and media complicity. The story is much more complicated than simply "evil Bush and media," as quickly becomes clear as we learn more about the protagonists.

I believe that large parts of the media are cowed by the Bush administration, but this documentary ends up being more about the personalities involved than a clear indictment of media cowardice.

The Hot Doc by talltale October 11, 2004 - 4:02 PM PDT
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Here's another election-year documentary to add to queues of the politically savvy--although, in this case, HORNS AND HALOS is much less about politics (or George W. Bush) than it is about business, marketing and the media. Its subject is a very special book, the author of that book and the publishing na´f who tries to give them both a second chance. If the title "Fortunate Son" rings a bell, you may already know something about the book in question, but I'll bet you don't know the half of it! This movie will fill you in and (depending on whether or not you know the WHOLE story) leave you amazed and perhaps a little bit shaken. This is one hot documentary: funny, surprising and oddly moving.

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