Falling Down (Blu-ray Book) [Blu-ray]

 
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Product Description

Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 05/26/2009 Rating: R

This film, about a downsized engineer (Michael Douglas) who goes ballistic, triggered a media avalanche of stories about middle-class white rage when it was released in 1993. In fact, it's nothing more than a manipulative, violent melodrama about one geek's meltdown. Douglas, complete with pocket protector, nerd glasses, crewcut, and short-sleeved white shirt, gets stuck in traffic one day near downtown L.A. and proceeds to just walk away from his car--and then lose it emotionally. Everyone he encounters rubs him the wrong way--and a fine lot of stereotypes they are, from threatening ghetto punks to rude convenience store owners to a creepy white supremacist--and he reacts violently in every case. As he walks across L.A. (now there's a concept), cutting a bloody swath, he's being tracked by a cop on the verge of retirement (Robert Duvall). He also spends time on the phone with his frightened ex-wife (Barbara Hershey). Though Douglas and Duvall give stellar performances, they can't disguise the fact that, as usual, this is another film from director Joel Schumacher that is about surface and sensation, rather than actual substance. --Marshall Fine

Customer Reviews:

  • Joel Schumacher's and Michael Douglas' BEST FILM!
    Finally, a special edition of one of the few really innovative film to come out of a studio in the 90's! I didn't know about this film's existance until it hit cable in 1993, and I must've watched it over a dozen times back then. I'm very pleased to have a remastered special edition DVD, even if the special features are a bit sparse for my tastes.

    Firstly, this is truly the most interesting character Michael Douglas has ever played. This performance is the acting version of surgery. It's so percise and delicate, that one wrong decision and the whole thing, the character, the story, the film's tone completely falls apart. Douglas plays Ben Foster, though throughout the majority of the film he is simply known as D-FENS(the letters on his personalized license plate). D-FENS is a recently laid off defense worker, end of the cold war hung a lot of the men in this profession out to dry(according to the DVD's loaded commentary track) and he just snaps one day in traffic. He decides he is going to see his ex-wife and child and he walks across L.A. to get to them. He walks around parts of L.A. rarely seen on film. Parts of the city that make up the majority of it, but are glossed or glorified in past films. On his way 'home' D-FENS runs into common annoyances that are part-and-parcel when existing in a crowded area like a city: gang members, angry Korean store owners, surly fast food clerks, and a red neck running an Army/Navy store. Oh, and he does something I know I've always dreamed about to a construction site. This film is rife with blackly humorous satirical jabs and outrage against what America has ultimately become what certain people like D-FENS feel about a changing society that is happy to leave them behind.

    An audience member fed on a healthy diet of recent films coming to this movie cold will be shocked about the un-P.C. nature of the story. Filmed in 1992, I guess moviegoers were a lot less sensitive and could think more for themselves. This film would never get made today by a studio, NEVER. Douglas doesn't make excuses for his character's behavior in the film. There's no cheesy or false moments of realizations. He starts on a dark path and goes all the way through to the end without common movie conventions hindering the tone or reality of the story. That's why his performance is so brilliant. He plays a narrow minded dinosaur of a man, who acts out the worst possible aspects of a repressed outrage, but he manages to get some sympathy, and even some slight semblance of understanding from the audience. He acts out certain blue collar fantasies. He shows how awful they really are when being applied to reality, but never sugar coats it. He seems real in an unreal situation. The only contrived thing about the film is the aspect of how the Douglas character manages to make it across L.A. unnoticed and without being caught within what amounts to an 8 or 10 hour day.

    Robert Duvall plays that age-old cinema convention of the about-to-retire cop who has elected to ride a desk job for the latter part of his career. The weird thing is,this film makes the cop convention seem fresh, in no small degree due to Duvall's very real and welcoming performance. It just proves that just because it's a cliche' doesn't mean it can't be original or entertaining. He has the same blue collar life as D-FENS but he chooses a different path. The movie alludes that his obsession with apprehending D-FENS comes from how much he relates to his plight. In the film's climax you can sense in Duvall's performance the he doesn't want the situation to end badly. It's a more subtle performance, but it's just as brilliant as Douglas'.

    The DVD itself only has two special features, a commentary track and a new interview with Michael Douglas. I was bummed that there wasn't a retrospective doc concerning the film, but that was until I listend to the commentary track. The track has comments from director Joel Schumacher, the producers, Douglas, screenwriter Ebbe Roe Smith, and even Vonde Curtis Hall(who has about a minute of screen time in the film as the 'Not Economically Viable' protester outside a bank). This extra mile is why this commentary track goes above and beyond the usual and negates the necessity of a retrospective doc. The interview with Michael Douglas is really interesting. He gives details on how at the Falling Down point in his career he was in a slump, tired of playing reactive characters in such films as Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct. He also thinks back to the period and the changes the country was going through politically and socially. One of the main reasons this film even ended up studio produced was becaus Douglas(also a producer on the film) lobbied for it and its screenplay so hard. Not something many actors would do. A very interesting detail is in regard to how up until that point in his career he picked film projects more based on his producer's hat then his actor hat. He went for what would make the best movie and not necessarily the best character for him to play. Douglas is also on the commentary track and he doesn't repeat any of the info contained in the interview.

    Joel Schumacher is a very interesting director. He has worked in almost every genre and succeded at most of them. Most may know and love him from his film The Lost Boys and others may know and hate him from Batman Forever And Batman and Robin. Please, fanboys, get over it. Batman and Robin happened over ten years ago. He's made many fine films since then(Tigerland, Phone Booth, Veronica Guerrin, Phantom of the Opera). The new Batman franchise is awesome, you got your Batman back to make love to, so please get off the guy's nuts already. If you actually think Batman And Robin is the worst film ever made then you don't watch many films, at least ones of substance. Schumacher has always been a filmmaker who directs in darkness(which is strange that they picked him to 'lighten up' the original Batman franchise) and that's why he was perfect for this film. He lets the narrative and satire play out without haveing scenes or characters come out to let the idiot audience know that 'this was bad' or 'you shouldn't do that'. He leaves the judgements to the audience. He also leaves the joys of D-FENS acting out. Of course, D-FENS enjoyment is cut short in the grand scheme of things.

    After rewatching this film recently I was shocked at how much more relevant the subject matter is today. The film is about a man left behind in a changing country. He refuses to catch up and instead chooses to act out. Here we are in 2009, after the Obama election, and we still have some old white dinosaurs refusing to listen to the majority of the American public and continue to spout the same old-world/1950's empy rhetoric. It wouldn't surprise me if either Dick Cheney or Rush Limbaugh pulled a D-FENS on the freeway somewhere any day.

    See this movie and listen to the commentary track immediately. A great film about choices made, good or bad....more info
  • Falling Down - Blu-ray Info
    Version: U.S.A / Warner / Region Free
    VC-1 BD-25 / Advanced Profile 3 / AACS
    Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
    Running time: 1:52:36
    Movie size: 21,785,567,232 bytes (21,78 GB)
    Disc size: 23,023,352,785 bytes (23,02 GB)
    Total bit rate: 25.80 Mbps
    Average video bit rate: 20.10 Mbps

    Dolby TrueHD Audio English 659 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 659 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround)
    Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
    Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
    Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
    Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
    Dolby Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
    Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
    Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
    Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
    Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

    Subtitles: English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish
    Number of chapters: 33

    #Audio Commentary by Michael Douglas and Director Joel Schumacher
    #A Conversation With Michael Douglas (SD - 10m:11s)
    #Theatrical trailer...more info
  • Blu review
    Had been hoping for this title to hit Blu since the start as there is so much to preserve here, and in the end - it has been bittersweet. I am a big fan of the film, am happy to see it on Blu, but there are so many missteps by Warner here I couldn't in good conscience give this five stars.

    Picture: The remaster looks good on Blu. That yellow lens provides a nice richness to the urban sprawl in hidef. The clarity, other colors and panoramas look cleaned up, and there is only a sparse artifact depending on the scene.

    Sound: The old 2.0 - yech.

    Special Features:

    Commentary: I am so split on this one. The packaging and online listings show a commentary by "Michael Douglas and Director Joel Schumacher". In actuality - that is furthest from the truth. The track actually has Edie Roe Smith (writer), Paul Hirsch (editor), Michael Paul Chan (actor), a 1993 recording of Michael Douglas, and a non-scene specific rambling by Joel. Once this unknown dude starts the track with this lame introduction - I knew we were in trouble. All of the recordings were obviously done at different locations and are sometimes not scene-specific. But, the tidbits of great information from the creators make for a commentary you will want to hear.

    Conversation with Michael Douglas: (10 minutes) Would have almost wanted to hear this in the commentary instead. They do an updated interview but splice in all of these degraded film shots of the movie. It was distracting but at the same time was nice to see MD come back for a talk.

    The Book/Cover Art: Warner did that glued-on paper leaflet thing again. I already tore it off and the resulting picture of Douglas with film credits is much nicer. The book is nice, but the essay is more of an ad plug than anything at the Criterion level of intellectual worthiness. The only page I found worthy out of the twenty is the trivia page of five fun facts, which were mostly already known.

    The Menu: Does not exist in the normal form. The movie auto plays so you have to stop it to get to what they have for a main menu - which looks like a supplemental page. Probably one of the worst Blu menus I have seen. Not a deal breaker, but just adds to the feel that Warner did not put the effort into the packaging/logistics part of this product.

    Overall, I am happy with having it for my customers. The special features appear to be the same between the Deluxe Edition and this one. Since there are no upgrades to sound mixing, no updated commentary by Douglas, unfavorable packaging and presentation, and some mislabeling I could only give this four stars. ...more info
  • Top notch movie...deeper than most pro critics want it to be
    This is a stunner of a movie. I have seen it many times, but had to buy it for my home library. Michale Douglas, Robert Duvall are always good, but the acting talents of minor characters like the white supremist played by Frederick Forrest is stunningly good! (Forrest you may remember as Blue Duck in Lonesome Dove and also as "Chef" in "apocalypse now").
    You find yourself rooting for the "bad guy" (Douglas) not knowing he is the bad guy, he is avenging the everyday evils that face the average city dweller each day: traffic, crazy high prices in stop and rob stores, muggers, beggars who won't leave you alone and obviously don't need the money, poor service in fast food joints/stores, etc etc.
    Eventually working his way up the ladder to socio-economis inequalities, private golf courses, overpaid medical professionals etc.
    At some point, he realizes "So I'm the bad guy?"
    Duvall plays his solid role, he always amazes me in one movie he looks so young and the next so old...either he is great at makeup or just a heck of an actor! Get this movie or rent it...great stuff.
    ...more info
  • Geek pusshed too far
    sad movie about an abusive father that decides he should abuse the whole world for his failings..
    ...more info
  • SNAP
    Great performance from Michael Douglas in this film. For some reason, this movie has been forgotten. If you have not seen it yet, you are in for a treat. An urban tale of a man pushed beyond the limit, with disasterous consequences. Great film. ...more info
  • It Happens
    "Falling Down" shows you what happens when someone loses all he fought for all his life and people still keep being hostile toward him until he literally fires back.

    The DVD could have more features to it but it's a good watch over and over again.

    Hey, someone edit out the very beginning of the scene where Bill Foster fires that bazooka and we see the cameraman's tennis shoe for 1/8th of a second....more info
  • RIGHT IDEA, WRONG EXECUTION
    As we journey with Michael Douglas in this excellent film, cant' we all identify with his frustration and anger? 85 cents for a can of soda? A store that won't give you change unless you buy something? Panhandlers looking for food, money and making you feel you owe it to them? People who think gays, blacks and other minorities are worthless? A fast food place that won't serve you breakfast even when they have tons of left overs they'll have to throw out? Wealthy old farts who think they own the golf course they pay membership in?
    Yes, indeed, one can see why Douglas is so mad...it's just that his way of dealing with it is not one that we all should take.
    Joel Schumacher's direction is right on, I think; people tend to like to pan Schumacher, when he has actually given us some vastly entertaining films. He knows what the audience wants and he knows that in FALLING DOWN, there can be no happy endings, so let's just enjoy Douglas getting revenge on people we'll never get a chance to!
    Douglas is superb in the role, one of his best performances. Robert Duvall is very good in his role of the almost retired cop; Tuesday Weld is dazzling in her brief role as Duvall's wife; Rachel Ticotin does well in her role as Duvall's partner; John Diehl is very effective in his very brief role as the guy at the pool who offers to go with Douglas in order to protect his wife and child; and Barbara Hershey does wonders as Douglas' ex-wife.
    Manipulative thought it may be, FALLING DOWN makes a statement, and makes one wonder what we would do if we snapped like Douglas!!!...more info
  • The ugly reality of L.A.
    Here's the story of a simple man (played very well by Michael Douglas) who's life is crumbling around him. He's been layed-off for months now from the Defense Industry, a job he loved so much that he had his license plate personalized with the letters "D FENS". His marraige is over. He's been reduced to living with his mother, and is too ashamed to tell anyone that he's unemployed. He's been looking for work elsewhere but is "no longer economically viable", as you'll find out.

    He snaps and leaves his car sitting in a traffic jam on one of L.A.'s freeways. In the next 8hrs he goes from being a transparent man to a heavily-armed, camoflage-wearing vigilante who deals a heavy hand to anyone who gets in his way. And in the streets of L.A., it's not hard to find someone who wants to get in your way.

    Robert Duvall plays an L.A. Robbery Detective who just happens to be working his last day before retirement. He's chastised for having taken a desk job after a shooting incident, at the insistence of his wife (the only character in this movie I couldn't stand). And he realizes most of his fellow cops won't miss him for long when he retires. But, he's the only cop who links several violent crimes on that day to the vigilante defense worker. He further redeems himself by tracking down and stopping the vigilante. At the same time, he rescues his boys from his wife's purse and takes a stand for once in his life.

    You'll find yourself cheering for the vigilante as he leaves death and destruction in his wake. And at the same time, you can't help but feel sorry for him because his life is falling apart, hence the film's appropriately-named title, "Falling Down". I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. 4+ stars.

    If you liked this Joel Schumacher movie, I recommend one of his newest films, "Phone Booth"....more info

  • How two different people respond to the horror of urban life
    I reviewed this movie 5 years ago for VHS and had not visited LA at that time. 5 years and 2 visits hence, I felt the need to review this feature again for DVD. Michael Douglas(as Bill "D-FENS" Foster)is a man who paid his dues and bought into the American Dream in a place once considered the Promised Land- Los Angeles, CA. It's definitely not the LA of old, the magical place where the weather is warm and the skies are blue. It is not difficult to sympathize with Bill as he plugs on through a dirty urban wasteland with one thought in his bewildered mind...to see his daughter, his hope for the future. It is a lesson for us all to be a little more civilized and a little more empathetic to the ones who find it harder to adapt...Otherwise there will be more Bill Fosters...And far more lethal than he was.

    Robert Duvall (as Officer Prendergast) is a man who but for the grace of a Higher Power could have ended up a casualty like Bill. He understands the life of quiet frustration that Bill has had to lead, yet he tries with all his might to adapt to the misfortune that is 1990s' Los Angeles. Prendergast realizes that he must NOT be seduced into the abyss of savagery that has subsumed Bill. FALLING DOWN is the classic story of a black-and-white moralist who cannot distinguish the various shades of gray that our world has become. In my opinion the most important message of this movie is how two men with very similar backgrounds deal with the challenges of urban life, whether in L.A., NYC or any other metropolis. THIS is what separates the "good guy" from the "bad guy" in modern society and asks YOU--the viewer--this question: Are you the problem or the solution?...more info

  • Funny Movie Full STop
    Great Movie !!

    Best Line: "I'm an American, you're a sick scum bag."
    Had me in stitches....more info

  • A confused and fascinating movie
    "Falling Down" is a sly combination of a social commentary, a conventional action movie, and a sad character study. It's an odd and sometimes unsettling mix - sometimes the horror of what we're watching is undermined by the catchphrase-laden dialogue of our anti-hero - but it's a compelling, reasonably gutsy movie that raises a lot of questions.

    Michael Douglas, mostly known as D-FENS, has snapped. He leaves his car on a blistering day in LA and goes for a walk, only to face a series of annoyances that Larry David woulda loved - irritating convenience-store policies, fast-food fascism, gang-bangers, even a neo-nazi. Instead of cracking wise, however, D-FENS responds with violence and vandalism.

    Meanwhile, back at the LAPD, Robert Duvall is a low-impact cop on his last day of the job. He's not well-liked, even though he seems to be a perfectly nice guy. He starts tracking these strange reports of a white nerd on a rampage, and ultimately gets involved with the case.

    The movie seems designed to generate controversy, with its casual xenophobia and the sometimes pandering actions of the Michael Douglas character. Look deeper, though, and you'll note that Duvall's cop is basically a well-adjusted version of D-FENS. Both men feel utterly insignificant, only Duvall has learned how to laugh and get through life, while Douglas is bewildered and disillusioned - and deeply sad.

    Things get even more confused when we learn Douglas has shown violence toward his family in the past, and may have a sinister goal in mind. This is probably unsettling to those who have been cheering him on, but who can blame them? Douglas is given pithy dialogue and exit lines for each of his encounters, as if we're supposed to applaud when he destroys, say, a Korean man's business. If Schumacher had downplayed the mayhem, or showed the violence as the actions of a desperate, sadly warped man (instead of a spokesman for the overlooked white man), the movie would have more power. But would anyone want to see it? The movie's ambivalence about the actions of D-FENS is fascinating and refreshingly non-judgmental.

    "Falling Down" is just as haunting for its flaws as its virtues. If it's meant to be a commentary, it undercuts itself with its action sequences. As an action drama, however, it's pretty deep and fearless in presenting men of quiet desperation - and two different methods for conquering it....more info

  • A Powerful Film...
    The first time I saw this film, I didn't like it... yet for some bizarre reason I felt compelled to come back to the theatre and watch it again... and again... and again...
    The film is particularly interesting because it plays on a common human fantasy : The wimpish underdog suddenly becoming empowered and turning the tables on his enemies in a very Hollywoodish manner... Though many films may have unlikely superheroes, the film plays upon this fantasty to a most ridiculous extreme and the realism inherent in the plot (he's not a superhero in blue tights) is what makes the film so unique... I mean, its one thing to punch out some guy you don't like... but to gradually acquire an evergrowing and more powerful arsenol of weapons along the way and use them to confront every single menace of daily urban living ? - - Oddly enough, though no idealistic Billy Jack (see "The Born Losers") Douglas's cartoonish laid off white male pencil pusher turned madman vigilante easily strikes a chord in the viewer... Yes, the guy is obviously off his rocker... but you can't help chuckling at him as he confronts one social ***hole stereotype after another... You watch the film - - understand that he's obvoiusly the bad guy, yet can't help cheer him on as he confronts everyone from gangsters to cheeky fast food convenience store workers (one who looks amazingly like one of the Brady's) ... and of course a paranoid homophobic neo-nazi Army/Navy Surplus Store owner. - - One downside of the film however is that at times it seems to try so hard to make its point.... My favorite is the "poignant" shot of the American flags falling to the ground in slow motion as Douglas "turns back prices to 1955" and teaches the Korean store owner a lesson about living in "his" country ! - - and also the various "montage" type sequences the director uses to demonstrate urban angst with the eerie incidental music... or even the "not economically viable" viable guy sequence and the shots of Douglas's character sadly watching him as he's arrested and how suddenly (...oh so dramatically) as the cop car stops he turns to him and says, "Don't forget me !" (cue the violins !) - - but the biggest example of the director's possibly intentional use of "over-dramatization" has to be the about to retire cop on his last day of work meaning from the start of the film you wonder when he's gonna it, and the director milks this to the utmost in virtually every line of dialogue whenever Duvall's character appears. - -With all this said, in the end, FALLING DOWN wins back every point in being a great film about urban angst and frustration, even "white rage" (though you don't have to be white to associate with many of Douglas's frustrations) and a film that bears repeated watching... all in all, I would say that by any standard, be it a message, action or "exploitation" film, this is a highly watchable and re-watchable film, so you'd be at a miss not to own a copy of it !...more info
  • Intense and Darkly Funny
    Falling Down is one of Douglas' greatest performances as a 40-year-old nerd who, on a hot day in the middle of traffic, starts to have a breakdown, trying to get to his young daughter's birthday party, even though he's divorced and his wife keeps telling him he can't come. Along the way, no matter how big or small the obstacles, (including un-fair fast-food restaurants, lazy construction workers, expensive convenience stores, a gang of punks, or fanatic military vets), he's determined to make it home, even if it means death. Duvall is the cop who is tired of the job and is retiring within the day, yet who quickly and voluntarily gets involved with tracking Douglas' rampage across Los Angeles. Douglas, although inspirational at first at how he makes a stand for himself among the many inconveniences of society, gets genuinely and convincingly creepy and loony as the movie progresses from big to enormous. Although what happens along his trip home is anything but funny, this movie has plenty of dark comedy for even the most shocked viewer. This movie is one of my favorites because of how Douglas reacts to the many stupid laws and regulations of society, some of which I agree, and if you're fed up with how places and people are acting these days, you're sure to love this movie too. A damn good time!...more info
  • White man as the victim
    I watched Falling Down once on USA Network and love the whole concept where the white male is the victim in the movie. Rarely does Hollywood portray the white male star as the antagonist of society. Throughout the movie, he is attacked by three sociological factors: government (laid off from the defense department), family (wife divorced him 'cause of his aggressive and dominant behavior) and culture (confronting various ethnic groups in downtown Los Angeles). These events leads to a chain reaction which causes D-Fens downward fall in society, even though he claims that he is doing the right thing.

    Michael Douglas did an exceptional job portraying the monster in every white-collar worker in this country. I'd suggest if you have a really bad day at work, watch this movie for anger management (or any Adam Sandler movie will do).

    And yeah, thanks for the DVD advice. I'll consider purchasing it after the holidays....more info

  • I had to laugh.........
    Michael Douglas as a nerd-gone-psychotic...living at home with his totally oblivious mother...flashbacks of his wife and child who could not stand the "horsey" he made her ride when she was a toddler....

    Robert Duvall's shrew wife demanding he be home on time for dinner.....and going ballistic when his female partner answers his phone...

    This film has it's stereotypes, but it was entertaining. I especially liked the fast food restaurant scene, when MD demanded BREAKFAST! Also when he went up on the freeway demanding the DOT workers to answer "why" the road was being torn up.....his bungling of the rocket launcher (and the kid telling him how to fire it) was totally comical!

    Ahhh, Michael, what a gorgeous NERD you made! ;)...more info

  • A Film That Isn't Afraid Of Boundaries
    The film starts off with Michael Douglas sitting in his car, caught in traffic while on his way to work. His hair is cut short, he wears thick black-rimmed glasses, nice black pants with a nice shirt and a tie to go along. He represents the average American businessman. As we see from the very opening, this man has been pushed over the edge by society. He believes that he is right, and everyone that argues with him is wrong.

    After a few long minutes of sitting in completely stopped traffic, he becomes so frusterated that he gets out of his car in the middle of the freeway, and just walks off. This is how the day starts for D-Fens (License plate name) as he looses his mind, and encounters many people on his way. The initial thing about this film that surprised me was that it wasn't afraid of boundaries. Michael Douglas' character is bold, racist, violent, and profane...so there's a good chance that a handful of viewers would find this film to be highly offensive. I give this movie credit for pushing the envelope and not caring what anybody says.

    The main thing that I liked about Falling Down was how much it struck a chord with me. I always look for films that are different and share some same ideas that I have. I also believe that society is corrupt, and this film shows it.

    Along with the great acting, Falling Down is highly enjoyable and holds up on repeated viewings. The DVD is average, with good picture and sound quality, so I don't have any reason to complain. It seems that most viewers either love or hate this film, so see it for yourself so you can determine...which category do you fall into?...more info

  • Take your pick!
    "A tale of urban reality". It's not like this round our bit of urban. Michael 'nepotism' Douglas stars as either a victim of modern society frustrated to the point of madness by the callousness of a post-industrial wilderness where the rights of the individual are challenged at every turn and decency and civility are lost in a maelstrom of consumerism and corporate heartlessness, or a self-obsessed moany nutter - take your pick.

    The best bit is right at the start in the convenience store because the Korean bloke's hilarious, but it's got a good cast including Robert Duvall and Barbara 'obvious nickname' Hershey....more info

  • The name is Nick
    The best part of this movie happened in the army/navy supply store. The guy Nick played his part so well that one couldn't help but be impressed. Even the most politically correct people can't help but laugh at him. Nick was the movie and well someone should tell Duval to play another role besides a cop....more info
  • The "editorial review" missed the whole point
    This will be a commentary on the "editorial review" of the movie for other Amazon users have already given good reviews of it.
    It seemed to me like the pro. missed the first 10 minutes of the film, and missed what was happening around him in the early '90s.
    As a former defense worker I can assure you that this is the only sympathetic movie out there for the tens of thousands of people who lost their jobs due to permanent downsizing. I was not one of them but I survived a 50% downsize, no morale booster in itself.

    Michael Douglas has been in defense for 2+ decades.
    He's laid off. Just like that. It's about how a def. worker comes out into the real Central/East/South LA at that time and is in disbelief that people treat each other the way they do.
    In silence, he looks around at this place and I'm thinking he's wondering why he spent his life building weapons to save these people from being occupied by other countries. It has cost him his wife, custody of his child, and now he is "thanked" by being made redundant.
    He'd just like to show up at his daughter's birthday party, against his wife's wishes. Yeah, as he runs into trouble along the way he gets more desparate and more isolated. The cop pursuing him played by Robert Duvall is also obsolete, which gives him insight into finding him.

    I guess the editor, Marshall Fine, was living in his own world when he wrote his review of the movie....more info

  • "GOD BLESS THE WORKING STIFF!!!!!"
    In this excellent film, Michael Douglas plays Bill Foster, an everyday man working in the everyday world, although he is not the example of the American Dream (which to you older folks, no one ever is). He is divorced, has a high level of rage, has been downsized from his defense worker job, and is being scr##ed over by the system. One day, sitting in his car in a traffic jam during a heat wave, he snaps, and starts to walk home through gangland. He first encounters trouble with the system through a Korean shopkeeper, who charges 85 cents for a can of soda. When the shopkeeper attacks Foster, he takes his bat and smashes up the store, which after he leaves, attracts the attention of the LAPD. Along the way, he accquires a bag of weapons, and the movie becomes real interesting...

    We all understand what is going through Foster's head, mainly because when a bad day hits its peak, we all, deep down, want to do that to our aggressors. Michael Douglas is great as Foster, while Robert Duvall is equally as great as the detective on his last day, determined to stop Foster. The DVD, however, is horrible (I only got it because it was in the bargain bin). The video and sound are excellent, but the extras are severly lacking. All there is is a trailer that focuses on the comedy elements of the film. A commentary and TV spots would
    have been nice! Great movie, lousy DVD.

    FALLING DOWN
    (1993, R)

    Bill Foster\ D-FENS: Michael Douglas
    Prendergast: Robert Duvall
    Beth: Barbara Hershey
    Amanda Prendergast: Tuesday Weld
    Sandra: Rachel Ticotin
    Nick: Fredric Forrest

    Director: Joel Schumacher
    Writer: Ebbe Roe Smith

    MOVIE: 5
    VIDEO: 5
    AUDIO: 5
    EXTRAS: 2
    MENUS: 3
    OVERALL: 5...more info

  • Misinterpreted and unjustly trashed as racist
    Ok after reading a few of these reviews I cannot resist the urge to get the point accross that ninety percent of you reviewers must be the types of people that fall into the crowd of politically correct nerds that cannot accept that total equality is a fallacy. For the most part, your interpretations of this movie are misconstrued by your own biases and the main point of the movie, that the average white working male (yes I said average white) is a thing of the past. The movie is, more or less, geared towards a changing society and delivers a powerful message that good and hardworking men... the kind that keep their mouths shut and just do their jobs respectfully... are no longer guaranteed success in life (as the old motto would have us believe that hard working men and women will ultimately get what they deserve).
    In all, this is a great movie. I wanted to stand up and cheer for Micheal Douglas's character throughout the movie....more info
  • Good concept, poor execution
    Falling Down is a movie about the average Joe's frustrations with a sick world. The performances by Douglas and Duvall are both outstanding. The big problem that I had with this movie was that it seemed that the director was trying too hard to prove his point. Here's two examples to show what I mean. First, Douglas' encounter at the fast-food restaurant is a bit overblown. I admit that it is frustrating to miss breakfast by only a few minutes at one of these restaurants, but is it really that big of a deal? It almost seems that the director had to justify Douglas drawing his automatic by having the employees act like complete jerks. Even then, one must realize that the employees are under stress just like Douglas is and can hardly be blamed for getting angry when a customer disagrees with a blanket policy set by the company's corporate headquarters that they cannot change. The second example involves Duvall's encounter with his captain. The captain says something to the effect of, "I know it's your last day, and just so you know, I never liked you." My initial reaction was that Duvall is surrounded by the same sick world as Douglas, but would a real boss, no matter how cruel, really say that? Once again, the director is simply trying to prove his point by stretching the limits of our reality. Falling Down leaves us with a feeling that we live in an absolutely detestable world. Maybe sometimes we can agree with this statement; however, I think that the director failed to realize that the world really isn't as bad as he portrays it....more info
  • A film that really leaves its mark on you
    This is a powerful film, but I personally don't look at it as some type of social commentary or condemnation of modern society, although it certainly touches on some of the problems that will always exist among human beings. Falling Down may well have a potent effect on anyone watching it, though. It always leaves me feeling really, really weird because it touches on so many things we all have to put up with each day, presents a monster whom I can't help but sympathize with in some degree, provides us with a hero whose own life is rife with undeserved problems, and runs its course atop a strong undercurrent of sadness. Michael Douglas gives one of his better performances as Bill Foster, an unremarkable man who finds his world torn apart and finally just snaps. He has lost his wife and little girl (which is his own fault); he's lost his job, the one thing that made him feel important; he just wants things to be like they used to be. He doesn't want to sit in traffic with no air conditioning or pay almost a dollar for a little can of soda or see plastic surgeons living the life of Riley while he can't even support his little girl. His journey "home" is an extraordinary one, and the kinds of awful people he encounters on the way do nothing to help his mentality. It's hard not to cheer him on when he manages to effect an escape from a couple of gangsters trying to rob him, but acts such as holding a burger joint up just because they refuse to serve him breakfast after lunch time is, obviously, way out there. No matter what terrible things he does, though, I can't get completely past the fact that he earnestly wants to see his little girl and give her a present for her birthday; in a clearly psychotic way, I find this movie somewhat touching, and that only makes the whole experience more depressing than it already is.

    Robert Duvall is indeed quite good as the good cop, Prendergast, pursuing this vigilante on his last day before retirement. His life is no dream either, but of course he handles his own problems in a way quite unlike our man Foster does. His wife is clearly disturbed, made frighteningly burdensome and vulnerable by the death of their own little girl and an earlier wounding of her husband on the job. For her benefit, he took a desk job and is forced to put up with a lot of jokes and insults from his fellow cops, including his own boss. Except for his partner, all of the cops in this film are as unfeeling and cruel as some of the shady characters Foster meets up with during his journey home, and that is to me one of the more disturbing aspects of this film.

    One of the things I liked most about Falling Down was its attempt to portray Foster as one very disturbed man and not a stand-in for any type of stereotypical vigilante; one character in particular makes this point quite clearly when, discovering that Foster doesn't actually agree with him in his own twisted, stereotypically extremist mindset, he asks the man just what kind of vigilante he is supposed to be. My own thinking is that Falling Down is not meant to be a warning about a group of potential Bill Fosters festering in the midst of society; instead, by showing us what happens to one man, it is warning us to walk carefully on our own journeys and to be careful to keep our tempers in check even when the world seems to be out to get us. At the same time, it doesn't imply that we should roll over and play dead whenever a problem comes our way, using the character of Prendergast to show us that we can and should stand up for ourselves but only in constructive ways. I really have a lot of conflicting emotions about this film, but the one thing I am sure of is that Falling Down is an unforgettable motion picture well worth seeing....more info

  • The Decline and Fall of the American Empire
    This movie taps into the core of what's wrong with our "society." First of all, it shows that we don't actually live in a society, we live in a cesspool.

    The definition of a society is a "group of people distinguished from others by mutual interests, shared institutions, and a common culture." And I don't mean consumerism.

    During the film, however, we don't see things that resemble "mutual interests" and "shared institutions." What we see is multiculturalism, which is the opposite of culture. We see groups fighting against one another, struggling to survive. We see people stuck in traffic like cattle on the way to slaughter. The only thing people share in common is paying their taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. The government has to milk all of its cows. And when they're done using you, they discard you like a piece of garbage. People are reduced to cogs in a machine.

    One of the most poignant scenes of the film involves a black man trying to get a loan from the bank, but he's declined because he is not "economically viable," in other words the bank believes he isn't worth exploiting. The bottom line for the bank is profit. So he gets thrown to the curb. People are treated like numbers and ratios: which amount to dollar signs. Some "community," eh?

    Deceit is another theme in Falling Down. People are often misled and taken advantage of in society. The cheeseburger on the menu always looks bigger and tastier than in it does in real life. These subtle acts of lying are common enough in our world that people don't care or notice.

    I wonder how long will it take before everything bursts at the seams? If this movie is any indication, it'll be sooner rather than later. Thank our "elected" officials for selling out America. As my favorite bumper sticker points out, "we don't have a democracy, we have an auction."

    Well, it's time to go watch Jerry Springer....more info

  • A "must have" for any movie collector
    Take the hottest day of the year, a traffic gridlock, cracked pavements, dirty streets, unwarranted hostility and a general feeling of being short changed. Then add the frustrations of having an estranged wife and child, an extremely jaded and unbalanced mindset, and the frustration of being obsolete with no marketable skills. Set them against the decadent back drop of modern day LA where if you are 'Not economically viable,' you are of no use, and the result is Falling Down.

    The tag line 'The Adventures of an Ordinary man at War with the Everyday World,' makes Joel Schumacher's masterpiece sound like the benign story of a working stiff with issues. However Falling Down is a dark and engrossing urban fable, a study into the mind of the disenfranchised and reminder to all that the removal of comfort is a lot closer than we care to believe.

    Full of clich®¶s, like the cop on his last day before retiring, Falling Down bravely meets all expectations of stereotypes, rather than challenging them, making for a realistic reflection of a failing society. Here, a man in extremis, without the feral cunning or killer instinct required for a life in the street, makes his way on anger and luck alone, somehow surviving to leave a paper chase of violence and destruction behind.

    Relying heavily on symbolism (watch for the Stars and Stripes being knocked over) illustrating a flip side of America running parallel to the hunky dory world occupied by the successful, the over all message of 'No Matter, Never Mind,' is clear in this world where children play next to vagrants dying from AIDS and where Korean grocers can legally steal from the public with their overpriced goods.

    Michael Douglas displays some hitherto unseen talent as the unbalanced D-FENS, as he casually totes gang weapons (complete with rubber bands on the grips) in his formal shirt and tie, does battle with store owners and comes up against fast food restaurants, homeless people, gangsters and Nazis. Robert Duval is equally brilliant as the desk jockey on his final day, determined to stop anyone else from being hurt, including the perp.

    There is, of course, a small amount of Hollywood sentimentality thrown in for good measure, however the dynamics of such a strong narrative make this completely forgivable and it's possible to overlook this as a flaw given the film's overall strengths.

    Praise surely has to go to Ebbe Roe Smith for writing one of the finest scripts ever to grace celluloid. Known for bit parts and cameos, who the hell knows who Ebbe really is? Look on IMDb to find out (if you're a geek like me) or release him into the ether if you don't care. The truth is, he's out there. The question is: Where's the next script?

    On the whole, Falling Down is a powerful and dramatic indictment of American culture, societal decadence, and the failing values of the West. It's not for everyone and will most certainly offend some, but if approached with an open mind, will provide plenty of fuel for thought. It's a shame though that the DVD doesn't come with any extras (mine didn't, anyway) because there's so much to this film that you just want to know more and more.
    ...more info
  • Divorced, Going thru a child custody fight?
    Falling Down DVD

    Joel Schumacher's 1992 movie "Falling Down" is a chillingly powerful movie that seems to get often misinterpreted. Don't get the wrong idea, there definitely is substance to this movie--it's not just some kind of freak show.

    Michael Douglas, in a spellbinding performance, plays William Foster, a man who totally collapses emotionally while stuck in traffic one morning. He ditches his car, leaving it right in the middle of the roadway, and begins an on-foot trek 'home' through the streets of Los Angeles. What follows is a day of extremely temperamental and violent behavior from Foster, lashing out against a Korean shop owner who 'won't make change', Latino gang members who accuse him of invading their territory, a fast food restaurant that's 'stopped serving breakfast', and a neo-Nazi gun shop owner who already has some frightening issues of his own.


    Michael Douglas is clearly the perfect actor for the role of William Foster. Douglas' terrific knacks for subtlety and dry humor are key ingredients to making his character, despite all of his fits of violence, frighteningly sympathetic. It never appears that Foster derives any amount of pleasure or satisfaction from his violent reactions--it's as if he thinks he is merely 'bringing justice' to the inadequacies of everyday life.

    We learn that Foster's ultimate destination is to return to his ex-wife's home for his daughter's birthday. We learn from the ex-wife (played by Barbara Hershey) that she has a court order against him from seeing her or the daughter. She admits that he never actually resorted to violence against her on the daughter, but that she "thinks he could".

    Robert Duvall plays Prendergast, an about-to-retire cop. Despite the fact that it's originally intended to be Prendergast's last day on the job, he becomes immersed in the trail being left by Foster. The two finally encounter each other in the movie's powerful 'big climax'--by this time, Foster has definitely reached the point of insanity, or as he says in his own words a bit earlier on in the film, "past the point of no return".

    Michael Douglas makes it seems as though this kind of devastating emotional collapse could easily happen to just about any 'average Joe', and that's where a great deal of the film's power lies. "Falling Down" is a thought-provoking movie that really stays with you.



    Highly recommended for fans of Michael Douglas and any man who has been through a divorce.

    Gunner January, 2008

    ...more info
  • Gotta love it.
    I'm not a white collar worker but man can I indentify:) Great movie, seen it more times than I can count....more info
  • An interesting movie with a protagonist we can identify with.
    I've always found this to be an intriguing movie, and though it is no deep and profound commentary on our culture and behaviors, it does, nonetheless, touch on an issue of real importance in our society: the issue of social interaction between strangers, and how it can go horribly wrong. Bill Foster, the main character, is clearly presented in this movie as the bad guy. He's emotionally unstable, demonstrably capable of extreme violence, and judging by his relationships with his ex-wife and his mother, not completely in touch with reality. Nevertheless, as so many other reviewers here have noted, despite the fact of his bad guy status, one can't help but feel sympathetic with him. There's really no mystery to this; we've all been faced with rude store clerks, snotty fast food cashiers, supercilious rich people, and so forth. Some of us have even been face to face with violent, dangerous punks. And probably all of us have fantasized about punching the smug, sneering face of the arrogant jerk in front of us in such situations. Bill Foster is a sympathetic character because even though he overreacts violently (although I wouldn't call his response to the gang thugs, or the neo-nazi overreaction, as his life was truly threatened in those cases), in each case he IS genuinely provoked. Not one of the strangers he confronts thoughout the course of the movie would have had anything to fear from him if they had simply treated him courteously and respectfully.

    This movie ought to be taken as just as much a warning about the potential consequences of certain behavior (in this case, rudeness) as another of Michael Douglas' movies, "Fatal Attraction" was about adultery. It's never a bad idea to treat others with the same respect and courtesy you would want for yourself. You never know what the person in front of you at any given moment is going through, or what that person may be capable of. And although this is a movie, a work of fiction, we've all read about violent road rage encounters, and other incidents arising from seemingly the most trivial provocation. Just the other day I read about someone shooting someone in line at a convenience store because the person ahead of him was taking too long to make a purchase, and responded rudely when urged to speed things up. Don't go around being rude to people. The stranger you snap peevishly at may just become angry enough to knock your block off. And quite aside from fear of what others might do if you irritate them, being polite is simply the right thing to do. And it costs you nothing, so why not just be polite to people?

    In this movie, Bill Foster throws off the restraint most of use every day when faced with such provocations and irritations, and soon finds himself the object of a manhunt by the police. Even though he self-destructs in the end, and even though we are presented (in the form of Detective Prendergast) with a character who manages to cope with just as much stress and bad human behavior as Foster, we still feel a twinge of sympathy for Foster, right to the very end....more info
  • Douglas on top form
    This is easily Michael Douglas's best ever acting performance. In Falling Down he is a man on the very edge of a complete breakdown. The problem is that anybody who upsets him is likely to come off badly.

    At the start of the film we see 'D-Fens' (Douglas) in his car in a non-moving traffic jam. Its a boiling hot day, his air-conditionaing has packed up and everything is annoying him. Eventually he just walks away and leaves the car saying hes going home. Home it turns out is where his estranged wife and daughter live. To get there he has to walk miles and its his journey home that the core of the film revolves around. The set-pieces in this film are very well done. In particular his visit to a store to buy a pair of hiking boots is brilliantly done. Robert Duvall plays the Policeman (who is retiring that day) who realises that De-Fens is very dangerous indeed. Duvall as always is excellent and in an under-stated way matches Douglas's very edgy performance.

    The film isn't without its faults. The message that D-Fens is cracking up is hammered home over and over, uneccessarily in my view. We can see this from D-Fens actions, so the frequent shots of people carrying placards emphasing this point weren't needed. However overall this is a well directed and very well written film.
    ...more info
  • Life vs Foster
    William Foster is pretty much your average Joe with a nowhere job doing nothing much with life. "Falling Down" takes you into his world during the one day that he decides to fight back against life's trials. A traffic jam seems to be the trigger for what is a rollercoaster ride through the city, all the while Detective Prendergast is trying to track him down on his own last day before retirement.

    This is a seriously powerful look at life just wearing someone down, and their explosion against it. I saw it as a comment on the soul-destroying, monotonous lives that a lot of people have, and the yearning for a reality that could never be. Foster seemed to live in an idealised past that was no more.

    Michael Douglas is intense as William Foster, putting in a gritty and raw portrayal of a man fighting against the very world he lives in. While there are some humourous moments, mostly it is a shocking walk through the worst day of a man's life.

    Not a film to go "Wow! That was cool!" about, "Falling Down" is a fantastic movie with real depth. I would recommend it to anyone who just felt like choking the living **** out of some smarmy shop assistant. One might be surprised at how relatable Foster is....more info
  • loss
    A man pushed to the edge. But the way he finds a temporary reprieve from his situation...............is a roller coaster ride in itself. Michael Douglas steps out of his clean cut, do everything right image and what he does will leave you breathless......................more info
  • Our Greatest Fear.
    In life we set our course and we put one foot in front of the other and we start along that chosen path. Every so often something comes along and pushes us one way or the other and we fight to remain on the path we've chosen. We hold on with tenacity, with hope and sometimes through sheer faith that everything will turn out like it's supposed to.

    Michael Douglas does a fantastic job of playing the part of a man who is sort of yanked from his path, then as he tries to pretend that nothing has changed is given the final push towards oblivion. His actions seem to be those of a psychotic, but the end result, which he outlines for Robert Duvall at the end of the film, sadly, makes sense.

    He realizes his path is gone, he realizes he is too broken to fix, but some good can still come from his lack of usefullness.

    He does what we all fear doing while following that path we set for ourselves in life. He falls down and doesn't have it in himself to get back up....more info
  • ive seen this movie 300 times
    ive seen this movie 300 times. and it gets better with each viewing....more info
  • How Everyone feels somtimes
    the portrait of an average American sometimes feels this way or fantasizes about this movie. this flick was a great stress reliever. It makes you wonder what the world is really doing to people. ...more info
  • A Not Implausible Portrayal In Today's World
    It's simple to see how this sort of thing can happen. I see it every single day, with people at my company attempting to run the SAP accounting system. They all, like D-FENS, have fermented in their minds to a state that can most charitably be described as boiling rage, and any one of them could erupt at any second. ...more info
  • Grim Look At The World Today
    Even though this film was released in 1993, this movie still holds up exceptionally well today. The movie has a simple premise, take an ordinary man that goes through the kind of life that so many of us do nowadays (divorce, laid off), and watch as he snaps. As the lead character Michael Douglas tries to calm himself down from the normal stresses that we all have to deal with now, he encounters more and more things blocking his path to possibly being able to reach some sense of calmness and rest. Whether it's being mugged, overcharged, stuck in traffic, attacked, or just sickened by society in general, the lead character eventually goes down a path that he cannot turn back from as more and more is said about how we are as Americans today. Exceptional supporting cast featuring Robert Duvall with surprisingly solid directing by Joel Schumacher, 'Falling Down' is a classic that I believe belongs on the list of best films of the 1990s and one that I can very easily recommend.

    ***** HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...more info
  • Taxi Driver- LA Style
    Like Deniro's Travis Bickle in 1970's NY, Michael Douglas portrays a man pushed to his limit in the urban environment of 1980's Los Angeles. He's lost everything and decides spontanteously to leave his car in a bumper to bumper traffic jam and begins a chaotic walk across LA to get to his estranged wife and daughter's house near the beach.
    Meanwhile Robert Duvall plays an LAPD detective enduring his last day on the job and their paths inevitably cross.
    This is really a very memorable film and both Douglas and Duvall are excellent in it.

    The reaction of Douglas to some of the urban stereotypes including, two gangbangers, a surly Korean grocer,fast food employees and two goofy old white guys at a country club, while violent are understandable under the circumstances he finds himself in.

    At the end he asks the cop " am I the bad guy ?"
    To some degree the audience is left with the same question....more info
  • A Black Comedy about a Demented White Man
    For some reason I missed seeing this movie when it came out, and just now (July 2006) got around to watching it on DVD. I've been catching up on movies I missed in the theatre, and "Falling Down" is among the best of them.

    Yes, it's contrived and a bit preachy, but the acting is marvelous, and Bill "D-FENS" Foster's adventures as he walks through 1993 Los Angeles are laden with moments where we can't help but cheer him on. The scene in the burger store is classic. Who among us hasn't wanted to strangle some officious little prick who tells us we missed the breakfast menu by three minutes?

    If it were possible I'd give "Falling Down" 4.5 stars, but that's not possible on Amazon. It's really a very good movie, but not quite up there in the realm of greatness. While we sympathize with Foster's SITUATION, we can't really empathize with Foster himself, because he's clearly demented and becomes increasingly so as the movie progresses. Another minor flaw: many of the people Bill encounters are stereotypes (the Hispanic gangsters, the Nazi surplus store guy, the burger joint staff, etc.) and his reactions to various frustrations are often absurd.

    Still, it's a sharp, insightful and enjoyable flick. If you haven't seen it, it's worth seeking out!...more info
  • Urban Rage as only Douglas Can Bring It
    One of the things I enjoy about Michael Douglas is his versatility at playing the white-male-power archetype. From Wall Street to The Game to War of the Roses (with the exception of Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile), he plays roles that critique and perpetuate ideas about white masculine power and the consequences of emasculation.

    In Falling Down, we see Douglas (in my opinion) in one of his better moments playing a working class, seething, neurasthenic average Joe named William Foster who goes on a downward spiral into moral vigilantism in La La Land (LA). Disgusted with what he sees as the flaws of society, Foster (Douglas) goes on a one man battle through the streets of LA to visit his estranged wife and daughter. Traffic jams, heat, high-priced goods in a Korean convenient store, gang violence, and road construction are among some of the many things that Foster responds to as he journeys back to the peaceful life he once had with his ex-wife (Barbara Hershey). The only thing is that Foster never had a peaceful life with Beth (Hershey). He believes in an ideal that is virtually unattainable for him.

    Robert Duvall (Det. Martin Prendergast) plays opposite Douglas as a retiring robbery detective who is given one last moment to protect and serve before migrating to Arizona with his needy and emotionally fragile wife (Tuesday Weld). Essentially, Prendergast is Foster's nemesis and the only one who consequently understands his rage.

    Overall, I think this film is an interesting commentary on masculinity, xenophobia, race, and "urban life" during the Bush I administration in the early 1990s. ...more info
  • falling down
    you ever had one of those day's? watch this and it will make you feel better...more info
  • Love it and hate it
    This is one of the most haunting films I have ever seen. I saw it only once, when it was first released, and I both loved it and hated it, but I can't forget it. It affected me so strongly because I am a middle aged, white, defense engineer, in Los Angeles. Judging by the other reviews, people see different things in it. But to me it was the only film I have ever seen that expresses the frustration of us who grew up in the 50's and 60's in nice clean middle class neighborhoods thinking that someday we would live just like the Cleavers in a beautiful house in a neighborhood with trees and lawns, and then we grow up and get a job and suddenly find ourselves in a congested, smoggy, paved over place like Los Angeles where we are the minority race. Now I know people will immediately think "racist!" But what I am talking about is just the shock of such a rapid change in society in one generation. I think anyone of any race in any country would feel the same if their country changed so rapidly.

    The first half of the film was extremely powerful in portraying this frustration. Bill just wants to go home, but the traffic won't move. He abandons his car and starts to walk. Shouldn't a citizen be able to walk safely thru their own town? But it isn't his town anymore, he is an alien in his own city. He walks thru MacArthur Park, remember that song "MacArthur Park is melting in the rain"? I always thought MacArthur Park must be a beautiful place, but if you go there now you feel like you are in Guatemala, or a drug dealers convention. And the scene at Bill's mother's house is so true to life. A little old lady who bought her house 40 years ago in a nice middle class neighborhood where the kids could play outside who now finds the neighborhood changed around her and she needs bars on the doors and windows. I see that every day in Los Angeles, old white haired people adrift in a world they don't understand. So I was very impressed that the makers of this film had the insight and courage to express this very non-politically-correct feeling.

    But in the last half of the film they seemed to cave-in to political correctness. The scene with the neo-nazi surplus store owner seemed to be put in only to appease the liberals in the audience and to try to make sure everyone knew that Bill is not a "racist." Also, there seemed to be no blacks in the film at all, even though the hamburger place was supposed to be in South Central LA. It is as if the film makers thought it was OK to stereotype hispanics and asians, but they were afraid to offend blacks. This seemed like a cop-out to me.

    And the worst was the ending, where after the whole movie has made you identify and feel for Bill, the smugness of the police officer and the complete uncaring of his wife just infuriated me. After-all, even though Bill broke some laws, all the violence he did was in self-defense. So I have never seen the film again, and yet I still remember every bit of it, after 13 years, which is not something I can say about most films....more info
  • Falling Down
    I don't know why I missed this one, years ago! Even today, years later, there is something within it that many of us can relate, within today's society. I guess some things do not change, with the passage of time. The areas of the law; (or lack of, I should say) the lack of respect for one another; and the presures of reality which can push many of us too far, are clearly present within this movie. Also for me, the fears and pressures of a pending retirement, I can relate to very well. It's a well done story, with interesting insights. I highly suggest it for mature, realistic adults. I purchased two; one for relatives. And as for liberals: Avoid this movie. The truth might frighten you....more info
  • a chillingly powerful film that seems to often be misunderstood
    Joel Schumacher's 1992 movie "Falling Down" is a chillingly powerful film that seems to get often misinterpreted. Don't get the wrong idea, there definitely IS substance to this movie--it's not just some kind of freak show.

    Michael Douglas, in a spellbinding performance, plays William Foster, a man who totally collapses emotionally while stuck in traffic one morning. He ditches his car, leaving it right in the middle of the roadway, and begins an on-foot trek 'home' through the streets of Los Angeles. What follows is a day of extremely tempermental and violent behavior from Foster, lashing out against a Korean shop owner who 'won't make change', Latino gang members who accuse him of invading their territory, a fast food restaurant that's 'stopped serving breakfast', and a neo-Nazi gun shop owner who already has some frightening issues of his own.

    With its story of a white man 'fighting back' against urban decay, "Falling Down" is similar to the 1970 film "Joe" (starring Peter Boyle). A deeper peek though reveals "Falling Down" to be kind of a cross between "Five Easy Pieces" and "Taxi Driver", both masterpieces in their own right--William Foster's wildly erratic and tempermental behavior strongly brings to mind the former's Robert Dupea (Jack Nicholson), while the good-guy-turned-violent reactionary element of Foster isn't too far off from the latter's Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro).

    Michael Douglas is clearly the perfect actor for the role of William Foster. Douglas' terrific knacks for subtlety and dry humor are key ingredients to making his character, despite all of his fits of violence, frighteningly sympathetic. It never appears that Foster derives any amount of pleasure or satisfaction from his violent reactions--it's as if he thinks he is merely 'bringing justice' to the inadequacies of everyday life.

    We learn that Foster's ultimate destination is to return to his ex-wife's home for his daughter's birthday. We learn from the ex-wife (played by Barbara Hershey) that she has a court order against him from seeing her or the daughter. She admits that he never actually resorted to violence against her on the daughter, but that she "thinks he could".

    Robert Duvall plays Prendergast, an about-to-retire cop. Despite the fact that it's originally intended to be Prendergast's last day on the job, he becomes immersed in the trail being left by Foster. The two finally encounter each other in the movie's powerful 'big climax'--by this time, Foster has definitely reached the point of insanity, or as he says in his own words a bit earlier on in the film, "past the point of no return".

    Michael Douglas makes it seems as though this kind of devastating emotional collapse could easily happen to just about any 'average Joe', and that's where a great deal of the film's power lies. "Falling Down" is a thought-provoking movie that really stays with you....more info
  • Falling...into love with this film
    This movie will make you laugh, cry, and think. This guy may seem like a pscho path, but he's just a normal dude that is fed up with all the bull crap in the world. If like action,adventure and love to laugh. This is the one for you. Buy it right now !!!!...more info
  • Could have been better - the first half is great, and then...
    Have you ever had ENOUGH ALREADY of Fast Food
    places pulling the switch of breakfast to lunch
    on you? Are you tired of punk spraypainters ruining
    your neighborhood, if you live in/near a big city?
    Tired of being overcharged by store owners that
    barely speak 'the queen's Amer-I-can'? Then the
    first half of this well filmed and very well acted
    movie is for you. Based on a WASPy novel about a
    laid-off DEFENS worker who "get's back some of his
    own" on the society and the 'Political Stupidity'
    around him, Michael Douglas does a good job here.

    However I was a bit leary of this movie when I saw
    the name of Israeli arms dealer extrordinarie, Arnon
    Milchen [pronounced ar-NON MILL-chin], in the credits.
    This film could have been a "Populist" favorite for yrs.,
    to come - until the film unravels to the point of when
    Douglas character quizically says to one of Virginia's
    finest-ever Actors, Robert Duval('s character), near the
    end, 'I'm the bad guy?', and procedes to get blown away
    by pulling a water gun on the retiring-cop-on-his-last-
    day! By then you must think to yourself, "What's the use
    [or point!]..."...more info
  • Unique and Memorable!
    Yeah, yeah... I know, the film is loaded with stereotypes and hokey moments. Especially that scene where Duval sings to his nutty wife over the phone... Ick.

    Yet, lets get beyond that stuff. Is this film all superficial? No substance? HARDLY!!

    Number one... it is "unique." Oh sure, the retiring cop afraid of being killed on his last day is cliche, but it's not the main thrust of the movie.

    Number two... stereotypes DO have a basis in reality. It isn't over reaching to imagine the gang members, the convinience store owner unwilling to break a dollar, the fast food joint insisting on "lunch menu" only one minute after the change over, the neo Nazi militant, the snobbish country club coots, etc, etc.

    Number three... Douglas has flipped his wig. He's really not responsible for his actions, as he does everything most of us have secretly fantasized about. It's not really a "celebration" of violence, but it seems absurdly FUNNY as he acts out his retributions. He is obsessed with his ex-wife and daughter... he can't accept their loss. His mind is falling down...

    Number four... The main thrust of the movie is a societal commentary. Everyone is after the "crazy man" with a white shirt and gym bag... but when put in perspective, the wandering psycho isn't as "sick" as what is ACCEPTED in modern day LA. Gangs, drive-by shootings, rude store and food service workers, closet nazis, people who are "not economically viable," loud mouthed jerks in traffic jams, country club snobs who can't even tolerate a person "passing through," and on and on.

    This point is drummed home perfectly when Douglas says to his wife "I'm sick? Take a walk through this town... THAT'S SICK." Every weapon Douglas carries is "taken" off somebody else... he just absorbs the sickness that's around him.

    SPOILER ALERT>>> in the end, Douglas realizes he's ruined whatever chance he had for a normal life. He willing sarifices himself, so his estranged daughter could benefit. Douglas meets his end, and we weep for the "bad guy."

    Meanwhile, our sick society goes on being sick...

    This is a truly memorable movie, with a few cliche' moments.

    Jeff Messenger, author of the novel "The Shroud of Torrington."...more info
  • I probably like this movie TOO much (SYNOPTIC REVIEW, LOTS OF SPOILERS)***
    After a bad day at work, from time to time I just put this in the DVD player and skip everything except the confrontations between Bill Foster (aka "D-fens"), a man who snaps for reasons revealed to us as the movie progresses, and the people who get on his bad side. Abandoning his car in gridlock traffic, he marches across LA like a video game character, acquiring weapons and unleashing them on troublesome modern stereotypes all along the way. His destination: his daughter's birthday party (without an invite from his ex-wife).

    Foster's anachronistic appearance (a nerdy, bespectacled engineer complete with white shirt and pocket protector) match his plight--the once powerful white American working man who can't move into the present and accept the changes that have taken away his power and control of the world around him. Not that he is a racist. He makes that clear during his confrontation with a real one.

    Prendergast (the cop who is on the trail of D-fens), his basketcase of a wife, and his fellow cops are a complete annoyance, especially his ex-partner who's constantly trying to get him to jump into the sack with her.

    Foster's ex-wife's unsympathetic telephone needling and admission to the police that he never actually hit her lead one to suspect there are two sides to their story and he has not entirely deserved losing his daughter.

    The confrontation scenes are a bit contrived, never allowing anyone to intrude and interrupt or disrupt D-Fens's righteous speeches and violent actions against his antagonists. The scene where he walks away from a carload of dead and dying punks after they've crashed their car trying to do a drive-by on him looks like he's walking off of a set because the girlfriend of one of the punks waits patiently on the curb until D-fens leaves before rushing up to the car hysterically.

    The one person Foster encounters during his sojourn that I liked is the sarcastically sweet waitress at the Whammy Burger. She's the only one behind the counter who doesn't lose her cool when D-fens pulls out the AK-47 or whatever it is because they won't serve him breakfast. He certainly isn't the average jerky customer, and she's going to enjoy the moment, especially watching her idiot boss squirm as he is forced to deal with the situation. She seems fascinated with D-fens, almost like she'd run away and join him on his rampage if he asked her to.

    D-fens' only purely heroic act of the day is bashing in the face of the jerk yelling at the woman for cutting him off in the gridlocked traffic. He probably killed him. That's one I have to watch over and over again. So's the scene where he cuts the phone booth to ribbons with the machine gun because the impatient jerk behind him mouths off at him for taking too long to finish using it. Yes, I get a load of vicarious thrills out of watching this film, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

    The darkly hilarious scene where D-fens makes an old fart at the golf course regret not letting him walk through the fairway makes this my favorite golf movie. I would gladly watch a four hour version of this film if D-fens spent all the additional time wreaking havoc and spreading panic all over the golf course, slipping a 4-iron and a pitching wedge into his bag of weapons, and climbing back over the fence, leaving the course to its onslaught of police helicopters, SWAT teams, ambulances and fire trucks.

    Having far passed the point of no return by the end of the film, D-fens realizes he has lost the game and makes his most sensible decision of the day.

    I would love to have seen a series of these movies. "Falling Down 2," etc. Just imagine how much fun D-fens could have while paying a Middle Eastern convenience store clerk $3.00 a gallon to (in his mind at least) subsidize terrorism, or shaking down a roofing crew for green cards and work visas.

    ...more info
  • "I'm the bad guy?"
    Joel Schumacher could've had a killer movie: a feature-length newspaper headline reading "Angry White Male Cuts Swath of Destruction Across L.A." It couldah been a contendah. And besides, how can you go wrong with Douglas and Duvall?

    But it does go wrong. First, we get recycled ethnic characters from every possible ethnic group (AWMs included in Douglas himself, wearing 60s knock-off classes, a white shirt and a pocket protector for heaven's sake). Even then, the movie could have been great in a schlocky kind of way, a fantasy revenge flick for AWMs. But then Schumacher totally blows the other parts of the story, particularly Duvall's Detective Prendergast as a recycled detective-on-the-verge-of-retirement, a cliche so common that it's been repeatedly lampooned in movies like "Short Time" and cartoons like "The Simpsons": "No! NO! MENDDDOOOOZAAA!"

    In short: great principle story and actors ruined by tired supporting characters and secondary plot.
    ...more info
  • Classic
    This had to be one of the funniest movies ever made. Weak ending, though....more info
  • Sentimentality Runs Amuck
    I have a daughter, too - like the protagonist in this film.

    She's studying English composition in high school, and I was helping her study. There was a list of composition terms, like "exposition" and "suspense" and "resolution."

    One was "Sentimentality." It made me think of this movie. The writers were trying to place the audience in sympathy with Bill Foster, and did so by creating circumstances around him that middle class white people have heard about or experienced.

    The warped edge of sentimentality is that, once you're hooked by it, you can be manipulated by it. So, interest in dramatic quality gets sidetracked by our own visceral need for resolution. We can set aside our moral objections and hope that Bill just kills somebody.

    Of course, that's exactly how the makers of the movie reel us in. Gradually we are manipulated into shifting our identification from Bill to Robert Duvall.

    What makes this a weak movie, though, is that good movies don't manipulate audiences with sentimentality. Audience identification is welcome and maybe even essential, but who likes to feel outsmarted or manipulated?

    When it was first relased, the film succeeded commercially by capitalizing on the sensationalism of its main theme. Now, so many years later, we see how the end result leaves you cold....more info
  • D-Fens
    Falling Down

    Drama

    1993

    Director: Joel Schumacher

    Review by: Flint McColgan

    Expertly directed by Joel Schumacher, Falling Down is the fantastic story of a man who has come to the end of his patience for the filthy, dissappointing world around him, and he sets out to fix it.

    Michael Douglas gives a startingly great performance as Bill Foster, "an ordinary man" who designs missiles to defend America from "the communists." Foster leads a rather miserable life; his ex-wife, Elizabeth, has a restraining order against him, his daughter is growing up without him experiencing it, he lives with his mother, he has a car with no air conditioning on the hottest day of the year, and he's pissed.

    The construction sign keeps saying "DELAY," "DELAY," "DELAY," the kids in the school bus next to him are loud, an ugly woman is applying way too much lipstick, a fly is driving him out of his mind, a tacky "Garfield" stuffed-animal is stuck to the window of a car with children, people are shouting into a cell phone in a convertible, and it's hot, too hot. Foster just wants to go home. It's his daughter, Adele's, birthday.

    Detective Prendergast, played by Robert Duvall, is just trying to finish up his last day on the job before moving to some town with a lake in Arizona with his mentally-ill, manipulative wife when he picks up some on connections in a string of chaotic events. He has never really been taken seriously as a cop because he is too gentle and just not one of the guys. Now he struggles to resolve the madness despite gradually becoming a civilian again.

    Bill has worked hard for his country, got a Purple Heart in Vietnam, works for the defense of the nation and all around him is filth. America is the land of the free, the home of the brave... None of these worthless pieces of garbage around him are worthy of it, even of life.

    The acting is truly amazing... Douglas almost lead me to tears in his confused reaction to his life and world crumbling, (or,rather, "falling") down around him. Duvall is bearly recognizable as the as the actor Duvall, but, instead, totally embodies his character to someone you can almost come to know as a friend. Barbara Hershey, as Elizabeth, balances both her undeniable fear of and love of Bill, who she really just wants to get better and finally be happy.

    Supporting characters and minor-role characters really shine with their characters and provide enough depth to where you actually end up hating, loving, or feeling sorry for them. Foster's mother, Lois Smith, gives a very depressing image of a mother who has forgotten how to live and tries to replace this by befriending glass statues. Frederic Forrest disgusts the audience with his interpretation of a crazy, Nazi-sympathizing Surplus Store owner who tries to ally himself with Foster.

    Falling Down presents a world, Las Angeles and surrounding areas, filled with struggling immigrant shop keepers, brutish street gangs, dirty scammers and a homeless population to compete with the homeowners. This rather chaotic, yet familiar, populace is not helping the already dreary lives of the main characters who all present their own webs of sad, lonely histories in this very memorable, compassionate, and highly enertaining film.

    4 / 5

    Notes:

    Bill Foster is commonly referred to as "D-Fens," because that was what was written on his license plate. This is wrong, because usually characters are credited as things other than their names because we do not know their real names. An example is "Bandaged Street Thug" being a credit for a character that was, well, a gang-member that happens to be prominently bandaged in some way. Another example would be crediting a spokesperson for a company as "[Company Name] Spokesperson"). An argument to this would be that Bill had changed into "D-Fens" when he went on his rampage. I don't believe this, however, because, from the backstory we learn in the film, he has always been an tempermental, dysfunctional man....more info
  • FALLING DOWN - Michael Douglas at his very best.
    This film has had more controversy surround it than most, but let me tell you, it's one kick-ass piece of work. Like Richard Burton's reverend in NIGHT OF THE IGUANA, who goes over the edge during a Sunday sermon, Douglas, as the victim of downsizing, makes that same trip while stuck in a traffic jam on an L. A. freeway during a summer heat spell. (I live in the Los Angeles area, and though I have never lost my job to downsizing, I still have total empathy for the character's breaking point every time I get stuck in similar traffic snarls!) Once he gets out of his car, leaving it abandoned in the middle of the traffic jam, and starts his march through the city to go home to his ex-wife and child, we know nothing positive is going to come. The trip is alternatively funny and tragic, thanks to Douglas's performance. He somehow manages to walk the very thin line between his character's Archie Bunker-isms and his character's horrible situation as he cuts a violent path to the ocean. There are some truly hard-to-watch moments in this film (the war surplus store sequence is particularly brutal), but one can't shy away from the out-of-control anger of this poor man, who can't understand why he's suffered his fate of unemployment after playing by all of the rules. Economic forces continue to leave many in similar circumstances, but Douglas starts connecting the dots to things that have nothing to do with his plight: a Korean mini-mart owner who marks up everything, including a can of soda; fast-food service providers who play by their policies with arrogance, etc. The tragic humor in the Douglas character is that he sees himself as the victim of all these forces and of the inner-city dry rot that he encounters on his journey. (Thankfully, most people shelve their victimhood and move on with their lives, often landing squarely and positively on both feet.) This film is great because it provokes reactions in the viewer, often creating a sense of discomfort. Not easily forgotten, FALLING DOWN should be enjoyed as the masterpiece it ultimately is.


    ...more info
  • What a movie!
    I absolutely loved this movie! It was awesome and very powerful! The movie was also hilarious! Michael Douglas gives a great performance as William, a layed off engineer who has a meltdown and a very hectic day. Will is stuck in awful traffic because of pointless road construction and just leaves his car. He wants to see his daughter on her birthday but his mean ex wife won't let him and threathens him. She was a character that I dissliked and I felt great pity for Will. Will has a crazy day where he revolts against society. This movie is very powerful as it shows some of society's problems. Will teaches a Korean guy that the prices in his store are all wrong, beats up some mean gang members trying to steal his briefcase, holds up a McDonald'sish store because he wants a breakfast meal and not lunch, destroys a payphone and much more. The classic golf sequence and the construction site scene are awesome and hilarious and worth it alone. Robert Duvall gives a good performance also as a cop. The movie is hilarious but also sad and makes an important point. It shows how society is srewed up in so many ways.
    Here's my advice. Don't rent this movie. Buy it. It's worth it and is a remarquable film worht rewatching over and over again. I loved it and it's even in my top 25 movies of all time! Please check them out on my about me page and listamia list under my top25 movies! It's changing sometimes but I really recommend these movies to EVERYONE! So, if you want to see some excellent movies that I really enjoyed, check them out! I think that you'll really enjoy them!...more info
  • Zorba the White Guy
    I somehow managed to miss this movie when it was new and saw it for the first time a few days ago (circa mid 2005) and have been haunted by it ever since. Michael Douglas gives a masterful performance, the best I've ever seen him give, as a thoroughly forgettable middle class White Guy facing the same urban pressures many of us (at least here in the good old USA) face daily, and snapping. After being caught in an L.A. traffic jam with a disfunctional air conditioner he does the thing many of us have thought of doing but somehow never managed to quite do: He gets out out his car (license plate D-FENS) and walks away. From there, Douglas' character goes on an orgy of 'doing the things we all have been tempted to do, but somehow don't'. From trashing a rude, venal convenience store owner's enterprise to offing a homophobic Nazi sympathizer (who makes the mistake of assuming Douglas' character is 'one of us'). Douglas is on a mission and at the point of dispatching (by any means necessary) any and all impediments to that mission. The mission: to give his little girl a birthday present, ultimately to "go home" and reestablish his life (somehow) to "what it used to be" before his ex-wife (understandably) kicked him out. I won't synopsize the movie any further (except to say that Robert Duvall gives his typical amazing performance, the kind that justifies the art and profession of acting in spite of everybody else out there who call themselves actors), others here have done a fine job at that, so I won't try to repeat them. I'll just add a reaction that I had that I didn't see in other's reviews. Somewhere in the middle of the movie I realized that I recognized Douglas' character, that I'd seen this guy somewhere else and couldn't for the life of me quite figure out where. Now, this character is a pretty unlikely one, a guy whose entire being is focused down to exactly one tiny little, gleaming, diamond hard task that he will let NOTHING interfere with, or even slow down. A guy whose goals we tend to sympathize with, but whose methods we can't (quite) bring ourselves to tollerate. As Daniel Jolley put it in her review above, "in a clearly psychotic way, I find this movie somewhat touching," a sentiment apparently shared by almost all the other 'amature reviewers' on Amazon's site (who for the most part did a magnificent job reviewing this movie, by the way). Touche, Ms. Jolley! Back to my own point: After brooding over it for a long time I finally realized where I'd seen this character before; as the hero of almost all of Nikos Kazanzatkas' novels. In particlar, Douglas' character IS St. Francis of Assisi as portrayed in Kazanzatkas' novel of the same name (published as 'God's Pauper: Saint Francis of Assisi' in England), or, to a somewhat lesser extent, Jesus in 'The Last Temptation of Christ', or Zorba in Kazanzatkas' best known novel. For anyone who has ever read a Kazanzatkas novel, this should strike a chord. Kazanzatkas' heros are NEVER 'good guys', their goals are far too big for such trivial classifications to be appropriate, at least in the view of the hero in question, as they are for Douglass' character. They are habitually, and constantly, at odds with society around them, are on missions that (by their lights) are far more important than the few little people who may, regretably, become incidental casualties of their quest. They are, in a word, psychotic. I, for one, have found Kazanzatkas' work so magnificently powerful in part because of the way he manages to explore this tension between personal lunacy (his St. Francis would spend his entire life in a straight jacket today) and the quest for higher truths/goals. Perhaps, if it could have happened, 'Falling Down' would have recieved a far less ambivalent reception oh, say 200 years ago, when people were more used to thinking of the 'big picture', more willing, at least hypothetically, to sacrifice the individual in persuit of the larger truth. I'm not sure what that reception would have been, but I don't think it would have been ambivalent. I also believe that the Amazon reviewers of the early 1800's wouldn't mistake this as a movie about 'White Rage', or 'Urban Violence' any more than the story of St. Francis is a story about 'animal rights', or 'The Last Temptation of Christ' is a call for marriage in the priesthood. Kazanzatkas (and St. Francis, and Jesus, and Douglas' character) had bigger fish to fry. I won't presume to propose an opinion on the nature of those fish, since that would undermine the entire point of this movie I think, to get YOU to think about the nature of the big fish. It's had that effect on me at any rate, as a Kazanzatkas novel does.
    If you've ever read a Kazanzatkas novel (all the way through I mean) then you should own a copy of this movie. You will look at it periodically, and brood, and think of St. Francis, and big fish, and other psychotics. ...more info