Steal This Movie

Overview

Steal This Movie! is a dramatic account of the tumultuous life and times of Abbie Hoffman, one of the most visible and influential figures of America's 1960s counter-culture. Its title was inspired by Hoffman's irreverent "survival guide," Steal This Book. Hoffman's founding of the Youth International Party better known as the "Yippies" and inventive acts of street theater -- including an "exorcism" of the Pentagon and the riotous protests at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago -- made him a household name ...
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Overview

Steal This Movie! is a dramatic account of the tumultuous life and times of Abbie Hoffman, one of the most visible and influential figures of America's 1960s counter-culture. Its title was inspired by Hoffman's irreverent "survival guide," Steal This Book. Hoffman's founding of the Youth International Party better known as the "Yippies" and inventive acts of street theater -- including an "exorcism" of the Pentagon and the riotous protests at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago -- made him a household name and a star of the anti-war movement. They also earned him enemies, and he was eventually arrested for trying to sell cocaine to an undercover cop, a bust that he contended was a set-up meant to discredit him. Rather than face a long prison sentence, Hoffman went underground, leaving behind his wife and children and posing as "Barry Freed," who became a respected environmental activist. In time, Freed acknowledged that he was Hoffman, spent two months in jail, and returned to activism full-time until his 1989 death. Steal This Movie stars Vincent D'Onofrio as Hoffman, Janeane Garofalo as his wife Anita, Kevin Corrigan as Jerry Rubin, Troy Garity as Tom Hayden, and Jeanne Tripplehorn as Joanna Lawrenson, who became romantically involved with Barry Freed.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Abbie Hoffman, the clown prince of antiwar protesters and one of the infamous Chicago Seven, is lionized in this vivid film about the socially turbulent 1960s. Actually, the story begins in 1977 as Abbie played by Vincent D'Onofrio, still a fugitive, recounts his past to a reporter, hoping that the resulting article will expose illicit government operations. Abbie's estranged wife, Anita Janeane Garofalo, and his lawyer Gerry Lefcourt Kevin Pollak cooperate, knowing that the piece's publication could endanger him. Steal This Movie! tells Hoffman's story in an impassioned, energetic, but largely uncritical way. His unsavory peccadilloes are, in the main, either glossed over or dismissed outright. But D'Onofrio is positively electric as Abbie, and director Robert Greenwald Breaking Up re-creates the period with uncanny verisimilitude, making it difficult to tell newly shot scenes from skillfully interpolated news footage. A vibrant chronicle of the Vietnam Era, Steal This Movie! isn't just for the unreconstructed hippies who might be expected to comprise its core audience; it should be required viewing for anyone interested in this endlessly compelling era of American history period. The DVD release includes a commentary by director Greenwald, and interview footage of not only cast and crew members, but also some of the real-life characters portrayed in the movie, most notably fellow activist Bobby Seale. The disc also features deleted scenes, production-design sketches, and storyboards.
All Movie Guide
As with many biopics, Steal This Movie is a competently made "greatest hits" that fails to penetrate emotionally. What's dispiriting here is that the life in question is joyously ostentatious, yet the film comes across as comparatively limp. Vincent D'Onofrio has long been considered a cinematic chameleon, subjugating his true self to whatever the role requires. You'd think he'd be a great choice to don Abbie Hoffman's jester hat, but his performance suffers compared to other cinematic versions of the infamous yippie, specifically the vocal gusto Hank Azaria brings to an animated Hoffman in Chicago 10. D'Onofrio does well with the more serious moments of Hoffman's later life, when he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and went underground to elude the feds. But the scenes that are supposed to represent the essential Hoffman -- such as him getting married nude in a public park, wearing a pig mask -- are a bit pale. Two other creative choices share the blame for that impression: 1) Cinematographer Denis Lenoir decided to go for retro period accuracy, using washed-out and grainy film stock, which drives a bit of a wedge between the style and the performances; 2) Bruce Graham's script starts out structured as a series of flashbacks based on interviews that took place in 1977, which removes some urgency from the events depicted, then catches up with the movie's present tense, which leaves the narrative feeling scattershot. More than anything, Steal This Movie gives the sense of having failed the spirit of its subject. Abbie Hoffman would have wanted a movie about his life to be outrageous and outside-the-box, but Steal This Movie is too conventional to have won his approval. Michael Cera fans, take note: In his first feature film performance, he plays Hoffman's eight-year-old son, america Hoffman, spelled with a lower-case "a."
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/23/2001
  • UPC: 031398756132
  • Original Release: 2000
  • Rating:

  • Source: Vidmark / Trimark
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Vincent D'Onofrio Abbie Hoffman
Janeane Garofalo Anita Hoffman
Jeanne Tripplehorn Johanna Lawrenson
Kevin Pollak Gerry Lefcourt
Donal Logue Stew Albert
Alan Van Sprang David Glenn
Troy Garity Tom Hayden
Ingrid Veninger Judy Albert
Kevin Corrigan Jerry Rubin
Technical Credits
Robert Greenwald Director, Producer
Jon Avnet Executive Producer
Ken Christmas Executive Producer
Vincent D'Onofrio Executive Producer
Renee Davenport Set Decoration/Design
Bruce Fortune Sound Editor, Sound/Sound Designer
Douglas Ganton Sound/Sound Designer
Bradley H. Gordon Co-producer
Bruce Graham Screenwriter
Evyen Klean Musical Direction/Supervision
Elizabeth Seltzer Lang Co-producer
Gerald Lefcourt Associate Producer
Denis Lenoir Cinematographer
Tony Lucibello Asst. Director
Mader Score Composer
Martin Malivoire Special Effects
Jeanne McCarthy Casting
Sherry McMoran Costumes/Costume Designer
Richard Paris Production Designer
Edelgard Pfluegel Makeup
Kimberly Ray Editor
Linda Del Rosario Production Designer
Jacobus Rose Producer
James Ryder Makeup
Marilyn Terry Makeup
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