Off Topic Messages

Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie

Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:55 am ... 39157.html

Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie [2012]

90 min

Box Office

Single tickets are now on sale! Check the Box Office for more details: ... ation.html . Download a PDF of the 2012 Film Guide: ... +EARLY.pdf

Thu 4/19 6:00PM Clearview Cinemas Chelsea 7

Sat 4/21 4:00PM Clearview Cinemas Chelsea 5

Tue 4/24 3:00PM Clearview Cinemas Chelsea 7

Fri 4/27 5:30PM AMC Loews Village 7 - 3


Morton Downey Jr. was a chain-smoking showman, extremist, and master of provocation with the smile of a movie star and the mouth of a sailor. He was a son of a crooner and a sonofabitch whose friends in high places did not make him nearly as famous as his friends in low. Evocateur pays tribute to Downey Jr.'s legacy by showing that, while his act may have been all fistfights and F-bombs, there were deeper layers to both Mort and his show. He had a calculated plan for a new entertainment, and his politics—whether staunch beliefs or make-believe—were the driving vehicle.

Providing just the right balance of behind-the-scenes access, historical context, archival footage from Mort's glory days, and interviews with those whose path he crossed (either directly or indirectly), Evocateur remains admirably objective and stays on course to deliver an inside look into the polarizing man who people loved and loved to hate… allowing Mort to entertain us one more time, for better or worse.
--Ashley Havey

About The Director ... miller.jpg

Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger are Ironbound Films, which crafts documentaries for theaters, television, and the web. Their film The New Recruits, narrated by Rainn Wilson, aired on PBS, and The Linguists premiered at Sundance before airing on PBS. Both were nominated for an Emmy.

Re: Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie

Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:42 am

Here's a follow up: ... _Jr._Movie ... -era/full/

Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie Explores A Rightwing Blowhard of Another Era
By Alan Scherstuhl Wednesday, Jun 5 2013

Used to be to get famous in the rightwing blowhard racket you had to have an act. Not today. Has anyone ever once thought, "Oh, I can't wait to hear what Sean Hannity's going to say next"? (Or "squeak next," in Hannity's case.) ... 4181680/0/

Quad Cinema
34 W. 13th St.
New York, NY 10011

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: Greenwich Village

Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie
Directed by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger
Magnolia Pictures
Opens June 7, Quad Cinema
Available on demand

Consider this scene from the funny, arresting new doc Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie. "There are almost no feminists who have ever burned a bra, so let me get that straight," says a young Gloria Allred, her jet-black dome of hair suggestive not of an astronaut's wife's but of an astronaut's helmet.

"There are almost no feminists who ever had anything that they needed to wear a bra for," Morton Downey Jr., snaps back.

"Likewise on your jock strap," says Allred.

The audience hoots. Downey turns to them and asks, "How does she know? She has a tape measure on her tongue?"

Downey's briefly ubiquitous late '80s shout-fest talk show was soundly denounced during its day for being all the things that it no doubt was: brutish, noisome, theatrical, and pandering. Downey himself, many suspected, was entirely full of sh*t as he presented himself as a working man's truth-teller hollering about liberal pukes, lawless thugs, and Tawana Brawley—and opening his mouth so wide on so many magazine covers that by the time of his fall, not two years after his rise, all of America had intimate knowledge of his fillings.

The doc more or less confirms the full-of-shit hypothesis. Quite unlike the Secaucus, New Jersey, screamers who packed his WWOR studio, Downey was as much an everyman as the Kennedys he palled around with growing up. A frustrated crooner, a sensitive poet, a child of privilege, Downey was nevertheless always given to the legitimate impolite outburst: In hilarious home-movie footage that turns up in the doc, he always smiles at the chance to flip off his own family.

The story is a fascinating, hilarious one, well told. A couple years in radio taught Downey his racket: screaming that the U.S.A. is the strongest country the world has ever known, and that it's also somehow being destroyed right this minute by everyone who isn't exactly like the man screaming. Also key: Screaming that the media silences voices like the one screaming—even as that voice is making millions for media companies.

Rush Limbaugh was figuring this out at the same time. Limbaugh, of course, would never allow a Gloria Allred on the air. (He would just have called her names from his radio-hole.) But Downey's shtick was antic confrontation, not mere talking points or political advocacy, and he was quick-witted enough to craft arguments and insults on the fly, some worth quoting years later, both for their outrageous bad-boyism but also for actually being funny, even in their puerile hostility.

At its best, The Morton Downey Jr. Show was a burlesque of the genre it helped midwife: Here's the sexist friend rightwing talker but mixed with Al Bundy, at the shoe store, facing off against women the writers dreamed up to annoy him. On one episode featured in the film, a wan vegan lists all the animal products she abstains from; watching Downey watch her, wolfishly, and hearing the audience's anticipatory laughter is high cartoon comedy, something like when a hapless dowager tells the Three Stooges she's hired as handymen to take care not to upset her priceless urn.

The doc makes some vague connections to today's talk-radio culture, but it's strongest as a character study and behind-the-scenes showbiz story. Show producers dish about the troubles of Downey-wrangling—he once asked a subordinate to hold his penis as he peed—and the troubles of booking serious guests as the show became more popular and ridiculous. On air, Downey started fights, threw guests out, and bellowed his mighty "shut up!"s. The generous sampling of clips in the film demonstrates that, for the guests, the heightened emotion was never just theater—there's some fight-or-flight kicking in. At first the show gave early TV exposure to Allred, Pat Buchanan, and Al Sharpton, seen here calling an adversary "a punk faggot." By the end, the producers were reduced to hauling in white supremacists and Jerry Springer-ready strippers. (The filmmakers toss in some anime segments, scenes of celebrities reading Downey's '60s poetry, and interviews with former fans.)

Downey, of course, crashed hard after claiming, fantastically, that some of those white supremacists assaulted him in an airport bathroom. As the directors make clear, he was already on the descent, from overexposure, from his drinking and carousing, from his audience-alienating desire stillto be some kind of crooning folk singer. We see him butcher Merle Haggard's "Are the Good Times Really Over?" on the deleted - see guidelines #2 Pat Sajak Show; we see him call an Inside Editionreporter a "cunt-lipped bastard." Even if he had exercised control over himself, it's hard to imagine Downey's career would have survived into the age of Fox News: He bragged about his bad habits, never pretended he had religion, and once introduced his young girlfriend, Lauren, to a convention of fans by asking, "Wanna see what a 60-year-old guy is friendly these days?"

He stuck with Lauren, and she stuck with him. He eventually kicked the cigarettes that were his trademark, but he did so too late. Toward the end of his life he made a cause of it, railing against the smoking that killed him, with enough of the old theater. The film is like his life: scabrous, upsetting, kind of moving, funny as hell, alive with hints of how we've become what we are.

Re: Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie

Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:38 pm

Here's more reviews: ... -1.1365124

‘Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie,’ movie review

Also in review: 'Wish You Were Here,' with Teresa Palmer; 'Syrup,' with Shiloh Fernandez; 'Free Samples,' with Jess Weixler


Published: Thursday, June 6, 2013, 2:36 PM

Updated: Thursday, June 6, 2013, 3:45 PM

Morton Downey Jr. in ‘Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie’


Documentary about late talk show host Morton Downey Jr. (1:30). R. Quad.

Funny how firebrands can become footnotes. In the late 1980s, Morton Downey Jr., frustrated musician and son of a semi-famous singer, followed the airwaves first to Secaucus’ WWOR, then to national syndication. His shtick was outrage and, later, shock. Downey helped beget the shout-filled TV culture that now will never die.

Downey died of lung cancer in 2001, and this punchy, enjoyably slanted chronicle of the troubled man, his times and his mission includes fans and fellow media fixtures (Richard Bey, Pat Buchanan). As a look at how we got from there to here, “Evocateur” is one for the time capsule. ... 74ypTBDoIK

Morton Downey Jr. booms back in 'Évocateur'
Last Updated: 10:32 AM, June 7, 2013
Posted: 9:55 PM, June 6, 2013

Kyle Smith
Blog: Movies


Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie
The mouth that roared. Running time: 89 minutes. Rated R (profanity, disturbing images). At the Quad, 34 W. 13 St.

* * *

The low-budget doc “Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie” is a frank and worthy look at the trashy demagogue who ruled the airwaves in a spectacular, and spectacularly brief, two-year run. But this material cries out for big-budget treatment by a real master like Paul Thomas Anderson or Martin Scorsese.

Downey, the son of a famous Irish tenor who was once featured on the cover of Time magazine, was himself a failed singer and friend and neighbor to the Kennedys who built up a radio career, then, in 1987, exploded onto TV with a populist talk show in which he would berate his guests using favored words like “slime” and “puke.”

Often, he would deliver his comments with his nose located 2 inches from his guest’s, in a voice loud enough to be heard outside the studio. Channel 9 aired the show in prime time, and it was syndicated nationally. “He could have been a serial killer,” says one observer, with deep respect.

But guests and advertisers eventually fled, and Downey guessed wrong on the case of Tawana Brawley, the Wappingers Falls, NY, teen who staged a fake racist attack on herself. Together with Al Sharpton, Downey defended her incessantly until the case fell apart. He himself pretended to be attacked by Nazis. Then the cigarettes he so arrogantly smoked on air began to catch up to him.

It’s a fascinating look at an almost frighteningly charismatic figure, and interviews with producers and guests such as Alan Dershowitz provide a fair portrait of a man who turned into a caricature of himself. Don’t miss the closing credits: A suitably trashy (and funny) spoof of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” ... -jr-movie/

By Matt PriggePublished: June 5, 2013

Morton Downey Jr. shone bright, but burned out quickly as ‘Evocateur’

Morton Downey Jr. unleashes unchecked outrage in the documentary "Evocateur."

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

‘Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie’
Directors: Seth Miller, Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger
Genre: Documentary
Rating: R
4 (out of 5) Globes

It was almost too good (or bad) to be true: For a comically short time (i.e., less than two years), “The Morton Downey Jr. Show” burned bright as the most controversial program on late ‘80s television. Its host, a pursed-lip gargoyle who plowed through four packs a day, brought classy guests onto his skuzzy, low-rent show. There he stirred up chaos among his audience of rowdy, emasculated Jersey boys by hurling obscenities, invective and all-too-real-seeming outrage. Through his reign he drove the normally collected Ron Paul into a tizzy, recklessly inflamed the Tawana Brawley incident and swapped flirty put-downs with Gloria Allred.

Today, he’s almost forgotten — but he shouldn’t be. “Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie” holds his work up as a predecessor to both the trash talk show detritus of the ‘90s and the easily riled hysteria of Fox News and the Tea Party. Unlike the recent Andrew Breitbart documentary, “Evocateur” is no hagiography. It’s in awe of the man’s passion if not necessarily his message, and does some digging to find the person underneath the blowhard.

Born Sean, his father was, of course, Morton Downey, known as the Irish Nightingale, one of the biggest singers of the 1930s and ‘40s. His aunt was the great Hollywood actress Joan Bennett. MDJ hated his father, but borrowed his name anyway when he tried to become a singer himself. (Happily he had enough tiny success that footage exists of him crooning a torch song in an early music film.) If the image of MDJ as a pleasant pretty boy runs hilariously up against his traditional fire-breathing sociopath image wasn’t enough, the filmmakers also drum up photos of him hanging happily with Ted Kennedy in the 1960s, a future object of his ire.

No one can stay turned-up-to-11 pissed for very long, and “Evocateur” depicts his very brief mega-fame as a kind of possession: a mid-life crisis that made him finally more famous than his father, but took him back to where he started. Lung cancer ravaged his body, and finally, this outrage machine who yelled at anyone with the tiniest bit of authority and jetted around the world while pretending to be a working class hero was reduced to pleading with people not to be a miserable nicotine addict like him. Without taking his side, “Evocateur” makes us feel genuinely terrible for him.