This stroke fest tries with all its might but still fails to make its subject look like anything other than an insufferable, repugnant asshole. He delights in telling people they’re stupid, recounting anecdotes of him being abusive to industry worker bees, reading passages from his own stories in an orange turtleneck while fanciful screen saver landscapes dance behind him and not much else.
The people being interviewed seem terrified. Remember when Whitney gave that tragic interview to Diane Sawyer and midway through Bobby Brown wandered in drunk or high and just sat back there watching? Silently intimidating her into talking about the strength of their love and marriage? This was like that except Ron Moore was Whitney and they were talking scifi and not crack.
The best part is when Ellison’s BFF Robin Williams waxes poetic about the sanctity of intellectual property. He hasn’t been this funny since Mrs. Doubtfire.
Honestly, Harlan Ellison is a super interesting, entertaining man and there are times when he makes a lot of sense. I’d be interested in seeing another documentary about him someday when he doesn’t have as much control over it or the person doing it. (… Smithers …)