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If I Should Fall from Grace: The Shane MacGowan Story (2001) HD online

If I Should Fall from Grace: The Shane MacGowan Story (2001) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Documentary / Biography / Music
Original Title: If I Should Fall from Grace: The Shane MacGowan Story
Director: Sarah Share
Released: 2001
Duration: 1h 31min
Video type: Movie
Music videos and archived footage supplement recent interviews in this documentary of ex-Pogues singer Shane MacGowan. We follow his life from the early days in Ireland and England, through his formation of - and later dismissal from - The Pogues, to his new band The Popes. Shane's family, friends, and former bandmates comment on the music, the rumors, and the alcohol.
Credited cast:
Nick Cave Nick Cave - Himself
Philip Chevron Philip Chevron - Himself
Victoria Mary Clarke Victoria Mary Clarke - Herself (as Victoria Clarke)
Elvis Costello Elvis Costello - Himself (archive footage)
Johnny Depp Johnny Depp - Himself (music video: "That Woman's Got Me Drinking") (archive footage)
Philip Gaston Philip Gaston - Himself
John Lydon John Lydon - Himself (archive footage)
Kirsty MacColl Kirsty MacColl - Herself - Song "Fairytale of New York" (archive footage)
Maurice MacGowan Maurice MacGowan - Himself
Shane MacGowan Shane MacGowan - Himself
Therese MacGowan Therese MacGowan - Herself
Sinéad O'Connor Sinéad O'Connor - Herself - song "Haunted" (archive footage)
Deirdre O'Mahony Deirdre O'Mahony - Herself
The Pogues The Pogues - Themselves (archive footage)

The title is taken from The Pogues' 1987 album "If I Should Fall From Grace With God."

Reviews: [10]

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    There is a deleted scene on the DVD showing Shane MacGowan, the subject of this documentary, in a bar playing "Kitty", a love ballad from the first Pogues album. Out of the drunken stupor he has put himself into comes a glimmer of the genius this man once had. And then he finishes the song and returns to his drink.

    MacGowan was the founding member and many would argue the driving force behind an Irish Folk/Punk band in the 1980's called The Pogues. They released several albums that are considered master works before it all fell to pieces due to Shane's heavy drinking. The film follows MacGowan around London and across the strait to Ireland as he prepares for a concert with his new band, The Popes. Along the way we hear the story of one of the punk generation's greatest song writers, told through interviews with MacGowan's parents, his wife, former band mates, and MacGowan himself. We also see archive footage and music videos interspersed thoughout. The difference between the Shane making the music he is known and loved for and the Shane of today mumbling drunkenly through songs is striking and sad. Its a great film, and I highly reccomend it, escpecially to parents trying to teach their kids about the dangers of addiction.
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    What an excellent individual to do a documentary over. For those that are not familiar with Shane MacGowan, he is the former leader of the Pogues and current solo musician (along with his band the Popes). MacGowan is respected throughout the world as one of the greatest songwriters of all time. His ballads and energetic rock pieces are brilliant. His haunting voice is unforgettable. Of course, as this movie shows, all is not perfect with Shane. Shane is a hopeless alcoholic, in fact he was asked to leave the Pogues for that very reason. Moreover, his health and hygiene are not the best (to say the least). However, he continues to tour and make great music. Perhaps the alcohol is taking its toll on his body, but not his music. A hard living Irishman in the same vein of so many two-fisted Irish drinkers and poets. See and hear the legend of Shane.
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    Ozzy Osbourne is funny apparently. Drug and alcohol abuse makes a great TV experience. With merchandising and exploitation aplenty. So where does that leave this beautiful, sensitive and destructive soul known as Shane MacGowan ? He too has immersed his existence in such a fervour of drug and alcohol abuse which has resulted in massive mental injury and speech afforded a stroke victim. So surely he's next on the list for voyeur giggles.....?

    Thankfully, he transcended the tabloid exposure and has been afforded a portrait of his life and sadly none too unique lifestyle, in this haunting and evocative film.

    Before witnessing this biopic, I was not a McGowan/Pogues disciple. I was always aware of his life and read the many articles of varying coverage and rented this film to assuage my own growing guilt of drug and alcohol abuse and I was keen to experience this man in regard to own demons.

    Narcissism aside, this is a triumph of outsiders looking in. A very sad and beguiling tale of a man riddled with a crippling sensitivity that is exposed through a compilation of interviews with Shane, his partner, band members and admirers, including a very poignant and refreshingly honest Nick Cave including a tapestry of archived clips and footage that paint the picture of the present footing of Shane MacGowan.

    Somehow the film, though mired in a dark and brutal avenue, succeeds in elevating Shane and his predicament to a place of inspiration without condoning or encouraging the waste on display.

    A Beautiful Gift....
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    if you love the music of the Pogues, you'll love this documentary. If you've never even * heard* of the Pogues- you have a real treat coming in this film. (and this from someone who's kids are older than MacGowan!)

    Another plus : after seeing the honest, often moving and funny scenes

    and interviews of Shane, you'll never again judge people by their appearance.

    And the songs are brilliant, indescribably wonderful. "Fairytale of New York" will be a classic Christmas song, up there with "White Christmas"

    (though of another world!) If you get Sundance Channel, see it while you can.
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    My one-line summary says it all. This movie is a must for fans of the Pogues and Irish music in general. The performance and video clips are fantastic. One of my particular favorites is the sequence where an incomplete collection of the band members, all quite young, are performing a raucous song (Waxy's Dargle) and Spider Stacy is using a drink tray as a tambourine by bashing his head into it. Looks like it would have been great fun to see live.

    As were the Pogues themselves, of course. I had the good fortune to see the band in concert four times between 1987 and 1991, and have seen the Popes twice since then (and tried a third time - see below.) In all cases it was a visceral experience. The music surged through my veins and Shane's almost completely unintelligible singing provided a counterpoint. (One generally had to know the lyrics to the songs pretty well to sing along with them; little help was to be expected from Shane. But that was part of the experience.) The highs in this documentary are high indeed.

    But the utter enjoyment is somewhat tempered by the footage of the current-day Shane McGowan. The alcoholism that eventually led to his ouster from the Pogues has had its predictable, ever-increasing effect on him. (The last time we tried to see the Popes, we got to the House of Blues in Chicago and were told at the door that Shane had not been able to make it out of Boston. Seeing this documentary, I think my suspicions as to why were more or less correct. Not that it was hard to deduce.) There is a tinge of sadness in watching recent clips and trying to decipher what he is saying. Were he not who he is, the observer would think he is seeing a barfly on a particularly bad night. But Shane is who he is; the Pogues would probably not have been the phenomenon they were had he been habitually sober. Genius is often driven by demons, and this is clearly the case here.

    When all is said and done, the tinge of sadness and pity is there, yet Shane does not come off as in any way pathetic, at least in my opinion. Ultimately you just appreciate all he has meant to the music world and wish him some more time to contribute.

    Bittersweet also describes the brief appearance of the late Kirsty McColl, singing her duet with Shane (the greatest Christmas song ever written, "Fairytale of New York." I'm only partially facetious in that statement.) I saw her in concert once, in 1995 or so. Great show. But she was run over by a speedboat in Cozumel just before Christmas a couple of years ago, in full view of her children. A damn shame.

    No question, this one's a must. 9/10

    P.S. There is a current band that comes close to filling the hole the Pogues left. They are called "Flogging Molly." The musical style and performance level is very close to the Pogues in their prime. I think it's not quite there, because they don't have the key ingredient of McGowan's booze-soaked voice, but they're damn good. Buy some CD's and give them a listen - you won't regret it. (And, no, I am not employed by them!)
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    One of the great singer-songwriters of our time, yet also an absolute trainwreck. I do think that this is a very important film, although its terribly sad to see how the years of alcohol abuse have taken a great toll on Shane. I normally discuss a film over pints of beer after seeing a film, but after this one - I couldn't.
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    I was so moved when I saw this film it brought me to tears. You see I am an alcoholic too, as is Shane. I saw this after having relapsed after seven years sobriety. I wept openly and still believe he is a genius inspite of his madness. Don't dwell on his interviews which he was incoherent. Listen to the words of the songs he has written and the way in which they were performed. You will see his genious too. In the mean time please pray for both of our recoveries.
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    As a Pogues fan, I really appreciated this intimate look at Shane MacGowan. Although Shane's sweet side comes out in his lyrics, I never really knew too much about the man. Yes, the one on one interviews w/ Shane were very hard to understand, but it's worth watching nonetheless. The film cast Shane as the sweet drunk at the party, both witty and romantic. Obviously not all the results of Shane's relationship w/ "the drink" were shown, especially as it related to his leaving the band. It's in impossible for me to rate this film objectively as Shane is one of those artists who really spoke to me as a teenager and I've loves his work ever since.
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    There's no VH1 Behind the Music episode dealing with Shane MacGowan or the Pogues, so this perhaps comes the closest to such an animal. It's a frank look at Shane, and what has gotten him to this stage in life where he's an Irish icon, but in a constant state of drunkenness and God knows what else. It also details his amazing songwriting over the years, and features numerous live clips and video clips. Also has a few insightful interviews from Nick Cave and Phil Chevron, among others.

    If you're a fan you'll find it somewhat insightul and very funny, and well worth watching.


    If you're not a fan of Shane, the Pogues or Irish music, it would be hard to recommend, which is why I gave it 9 instead of 10. Call it a nod to those who haven't discovered Shane yet.
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    As I read these reviews, I wonder if we were watching the same documentary or if those above watch many of them. I don't say that arrogantly, but rather I've seen some documentaries on great subject matters which have sadly fallen short due to bad editing or meandering paths with no seeming point in sight.

    The documentaries which are similar to this one in which the subject matter was amazing but the film making fell short include "Billy Childish is Dead" and "Danielson: A Family Movie (or, Make a Joyful Noise Here)".

    This documentary starts off well enough with many photos of a young Shane and sad interviews with his parents who carry their age much better than Shane. But this film features random bits of Shane signing shirts of middle aged ladies, about four or five complete music videos and a very odd meandering style which really was not conducive to the story.

    The long and the short of it is that if you're not a Pogues fan, you might not want to have this be your intro to them. Go find your local Irish punk fan, get drunk with them on whiskey and rock out. It'd be better.

    I found myself knowing enough about Shane that I always seemed about 10 minutes ahead of the time line of the film because the film was that slow. I found myself being bored because it was another random few minutes of footage with hard to hear interviews and grainy inside shots of Shane in another bar.

    Overall, this documentary could have been 45 minutes shorter, had better paced editing and a more comprehensive set of interviewees. The five stars are for Pogues fans who will love this no matter what... the lack of five is for anyone else who doesn't know much about the band. You'd be better off watching the music videos on the bonus section of the DVD because that's about half the documentary right there.