Horns and Halos

Horns and Halos

Director: Michael Galinsky, Suki Hawley

Cast: Michael Galinsky, Suki Hawley, Sander Hicks, J.H. Hatfield

     
 

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…  See more details below

Overview

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 naïveté 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.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
A fascinating study in flawed character, this engaging documentary from filmmakers Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky is a curious entity in that, while its sympathies clearly lie with its protagonist, it doesn't shy away from his own personal flaws as author J.H. Hatfield attempts to keep Fortunate Son, his controversial biography of President George W. Bush, in circulation. Whereas many documentaries may take the word of their protagonists as gospel, Hatfield's tragedy as featured here sets Horns and Halos apart, as it nearly eclipses the already compelling tale of his struggle to publish Fortunate Son. Hatfield is a troubled character, and as the story develops the filmmakers easily make the point that sometimes there just are no definitive, black-and-white answers in life. His plight eventually raises as many questions about himself as it does about Bush. When original publisher St. Martins Press caves to pressure to withdraw the book from circulation, Hatfield is approached by political punk rocker/DIY publisher Sander Hicks and his fearless independent publishing company Soft Skull Press to make Fortunate Son available to the masses. Though at the onset this development is seemingly a solid victory for Hatfield, Hicks' enthusiastic efforts to keep Fortunate Son on bookstore shelves starts as a saving grace that soon transforms into an inescapable nightmare for the author. Facing constant litigation for their efforts, bad soon turns to worse, and the film offers a microcosmic example of the plight of independent business in the face of corporate conglomeration. When big business and high-priced lawyers can use money and power to silence the independent voice, democracy faces the same grim fate as Hatfield.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/05/2004
UPC:
0600773600492
Original Release:
2002
Rating:
NR
Source:
Go Kart Films
Time:
1:19:00

Special Features

Booklet insert with directors' statement, frequently asked questions about the film, and diary excerpts from Sander Hicks; Disc One: 1.85:1 widescreen presentation from 35mm film elements; Enhanced for 16:9 televisions; Directors' commentary by Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley; Deleted scenes; Optional Spanish subtitles; Disc Two: 2 feature interviews with author James Hatfield; Extended interviews; Protest coverage; Short film - Ralph Nader rally at Madison Square Garden featuring Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Eddie Vedder; Protests at George Bush's inauguration; Performance footage of Sander Hicks and White Collar Crime: "God Is Kick Ass" and "Hi Mom"; Rogers' Reel to Real profile on Horns and Halos at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival; Sander Hicks interview; KCET profile on Horns and Halos; WNYU feature radio interview with directors (60 min)

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Scene Index

Side #1 -- Disc One
1. Regrets [4:33]
2. Two Years Earlier [2:27]
3. Soft Skull [2:41]
4. Fortunate Son [3:37]
5. Criminal Record [4:57]
6. Texas Monthly [4:40]
7. Print Run [4:36]
8. Lowest Times [3:37]
9. 60 Minutes [4:55]
10. Black & White Hats [3:25]
11. Democracy Now [4:27]
12. Libel [4:27]
13. Convention [3:34]
14. Election [2:33]
15. New Edition [3:20]
16. Press Conference [5:40]
17. Greed [2:33]
18. Three Strikes [3:29]
19. One Month Later [2:03]
20. Dignity [3:53]
21. Closing Credits [2:53]

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