Home Movie (2001) Poster

(2001)

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8/10
If you want a break from heavy, serious stuff, give it a try.
timnil19 June 2004
This documentary is by the same person who did "American Movie" which documented the attempted making of a low budget horror movie. It's a fascinating look at how people re-model their houses to match their personalities. I love quirky documentaries like this, so it was right up my alley.

The houses included one that was made out of an abandon missile silo in Kansas - complete with an aging hippie homeowner playing a Native American flute to chase the evil spirits away. There's a retired actress that lives is a hydro-electric powered tree house in the jungles of Hawaii, an alligator wrestling good old boy that lives in a houseboat in the swamps of Louisiana and an uber-geek that has remade an electric house complete with robots.

My favorite though, is the family that has completely remade their house in order to let their 11 cats run amok in it. This is a short fun film - if you want a break from heavy, serious stuff, give it a try.
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9/10
A simple, humorous, genuine, and brilliant documentary. Real "reality TV".
radiosystems10 March 2002
Just saw this film last night at Austin's South by Southwest Film Festival. What a breath of fresh air. This documentary, I think, brilliantly captures the humor and zest-for-life of five eclectic households whom are all living their own version of the American dream. All of the characters are fascinating for their quirkiness and eccentricity, but what really strikes you is just how genuine each person is. In a world of pre-packaged sound bites, "reality TV", and political correctness, it was refreshing to see people that were so in touch with themselves that they are able to create habitats that are such complete extensions of their personality. To me it also reminded me what I believe is best about America, that even in this day of look-a-like sub divisions, SUV's, and office cubicles, you can still be who ever you want to be in this country as long as you have the courage to follow your inner voice.
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Living outside the box
thomasdosborneii25 May 2002
A big, burly guy who makes his living working with 'gators lives in a home-made houseboat in the Louisiana bayous and takes people on tours to see the water lilies blooming. An electronic genius in Illinois lives in an all-electric house that is his greatest toy, and when he says all-electric he doesn't just mean the cooktop--rooms change locations, living room chairs are as mobile as wheelchairs, soapdish hands pop out of the wall, and everything is controlled by pressing code numbers on the telephone. A new age family in Kansas lives in an abandoned Atlas missile silo that they converted into what they call their "twentieth century castle" and play Native American instruments in rooms where potential nuclear destruction was once housed. A childless couple living in California have turned their house completely over to their eleven or twelve cats who have hundreds of yards of overhead walkways, secret passages into hidden rooms, and every single thing that a cat could want, and the couple makes their living by photographing their cats for greeting cards, calendars, and cat-lover books. In Hawaii a pioneering elderly lady lives in a tree-house generating her own electricity in a remote jungle valley that is barely assessible via her SUV only when the level of a boundary river is low enough. Come meet these fascinating, unusual, genuine people who fashioned for themselves EXACTLY the kind of life that THEY want. We can too. What are we doing with our tract houses, our ticky-tacky apartments, our nine-to-five jobs, our outrageous mortgages, and we don't even have what we really want! These people broke free (if, indeed, they were ever trapped in the first place), because the only voices they listened to were their own, inner ones. Very inspiring for the rest of us. It's not too late to dig up that forgotten wishbook, roll up our sleeves, and start making our desires come true, too.
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10/10
HOME MOVIE's impact has nothing to do with film-making.
jengarber-16 May 2006
"should be required viewing for all of us in the extended homeowner's association we call the human race." That comment by Bluerb, posted somewhere below about HOME MOVIE sums up why I find myself talking about this film more than any other.

HOME MOVIE's impact has nothing to do with film-making. Plot cohesiveness, cinematography and character development are irrelevant, and whether it was originally intended as a film, or a series of commercials is beside the point.

HOME MOVIE is a pure and an intimate microcosmic glimpse into the distinct realities created by a few unique citizens of the united states. It is memorable not merely because of the unique living environments it reveals.

For those of us living in the USA at a time when many blame our current socio-political and economic situation on the apathy and ignorance on our citizens, HOME MOVE is a source of reassurance, and of inspiration.

The characters in this film share a common drive. They've all refused conformity to our society's norms, they all have vision, and they all have passion for something... anything.

Linda Beech, who looks to be in her seventies, says a little prayer and then drives through a river every time she drives to, or from her home because her trees, and the life she's built around them are just that important to her.

In that you will find the value of this film.
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Ben Skora
thomdoyle21 August 2003
To his credit he's built one 280-pound, 6'8" robot named Arok who can vacuum the carpet, mix drinks, dance, take Polaroid photos and talk, plus two smaller (5' tall) robots, one for the Orland Park Police Department another for the police department in Park Ridge. Before the Ferrari there were three other remote controlled automobiles. Skora says he invented a cordless telephone three years before AT&T came up with theirs. He's built a viewer/telephone that actually operates between his home and that of a friend in Mokena.

Skora's home is an electronic fantasy with a 6'-diameter electronic iris door, remote control roll-down shower curtain and a 16'-diameter revolving living room. The house has kitchen cabinets with shelves that go up and down electronically, lights, music and waterfalls that turn on and off by remote control, a wet bar that glides out from a flat wall, electronically-controlled hands that appear out of nowhere to deliver hand soap or swizzle sticks for your drink, a transporter room, Hollywood smoke effects and an easy chair that can be driven --starting, stopping and turning on a dime-- by operating two toggles on the arm rests.

And, as they say, that's not all. There are fascinating things too numerous to chronicle around every corner in Skora's house. Most can be operated by simply dialing numbers on a touch-tone phone. "I can operate everything here even if I'm in Tokyo," Skora boasts, making a sweeping motion with his arm to take in his entire residence. What's even more remarkable, from all accounts he's been able to perform that bit of electronic magic for close to thirty years.

All of Skora's electronic bells and whistles, from the suit of armor that doesn't just talk to the full-sized female mannequin/floor lamp with a panties lampshade to the, well, bells and whistles, are created with one thing in mind - fun. Ben Skora is nothing if not an elfin prankster. Friends say that if Ben thinks about something he'll build it, but if it can get a laugh, he'll build it faster.
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9/10
Sure, this isn't everybody's cup of tea, but I really liked it!
MartinHafer1 August 2008
This is a very simple documentary. There is no narration, so it's up to the homeowners of five very strange houses to show you around their homes. While this no doubt would bore the pants off some people, I found it fascinating for many reasons. First, it was great to see people who had so much passion for life and for their homes--as well as deep senses of contentment about their lives. Second, each of these people was actually pretty fascinating--perhaps not "normal", but very fascinating. Being welcomed into their worlds was a nice privilege.

The five houses consist of a guy who lives in a houseboat and hangs out with gators, an electronic house with tons of push-button gadgets, a family living in an ex-Atlas missile silo, a home completely designed around the many cats of the family and a lady who lives in a tree house in the middle of nowhere in Hawaii. Really interesting people and I would love to see a follow up film showing where they all are now or perhaps highlighting other strange homes.

Well done and a great look at some very passionate and weird folks--and I do mean weird in a generally good way! A great little slice of Americana and an important but seldom talked about part of our history and culture.

By the way, although his home was the most "normal", I think I would have liked to have visited with the houseboat guy the most. What a cool life. The lady in the Hawaiian wilderness was also amazing and I loved how she holds onto life.
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5/10
Too long for what it is and too short for what it could have been.
bandw11 January 2006
This could have been an excellent movie, but it lacks focus. It deals with some highly unusual people living in some highly unusual houses. After a quick round-robin visit to each house and occupants, that lasts about ten minutes, we know about as much about these people and their houses as we find out in the next hour. We are left with wanting to know more about how these people came to be in their current situations and about the history of their houses. For example, the alligator man says that everything in his house has a sentimental value - then show us some of those things and explain to us what they mean to him.

I wanted to see more about the houses themselves - how they are laid out and how the people live in them. The people who live in the old missile silo give us a ten second tour of where the rooms are in their house *from above ground,* and that is it for the overview.

These people are satisfying some deep emotions through their living environments and I wanted to know more. Think what Errol Morris would have done with this material.

The film indeed has the look of a home movie, so the title is a clever pun.
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