Micheal Cobley

Interstellar Tactics




Bill Hicks – The Movie That Never Should Be

I originally intended to do a riff on writing in this post, something along the lines of how writing prose is a balancing act between description and character, between dialogue and evocation, between pace and meditation. Then I thought I`d do something about the vile iniquity of the governments of the UK and the USA, focussing on Blair/Brown and that ghastly crew, hands still drenched in the blood of innocent Iraqis as they wag their self-righteous fingers over the horror of Baby P…. but going into that maelstrom of malignity would occupy all my energies for the rest of the day and boy, have I got work to do.

Then I heard about the Bill Hicks movie.

Seems rumours have been percolating about a movie of Hicks’ life with Russell Crowe in the part….and my hate for Hollywood surged anew. After all, there is nothing that these heartless, dead-eyed schlockmeisters couldn`t degrade and debase, and the notion of them turning Bill Hicks into a movie caricature…verily my stomach doth become buoyant. Apparently, though, it appears that a script is in development at a production company owned by Russell Crowe, for what its worth.

However, we should also keep in mind Hollywood’s marvellous ability to sideline quality, so mebbe a film about Hicks will overstep the quality tolerance levels of those production and finance mavens. You know how it goes; ‘Hmm, quality on this Hicks proposal exceeds our monthly quotient. Any way you could scale it back a little? Why not get Adam Sandler for the part?’

I mean, how could a movie made in Hollywood about a radical like Hicks NOT suck? As the man himself might say – ‘Hi, I’m Bill Hicks and I’m dead now. So keep yer f*&*%in’ hands off my life!’

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11 Comments already, do join in...

  1. R J Says:

    December 4th, 2008 at 12:29 am

    You’re looking at this from a wrong angle – the fact that a movie about Bill Hicks is being made is an important step forward – it means that awareness of him will be raised; it means his material (cds, dvds, books) will be prevalent and available; it mean more people will hear his words, his routines, his observations. After watching the movie, many people will check him out. This is a very good thing. Exposure (even diluted and twisted Hollywood exposure) will help get Hicks’ message across to many more people.

  2. rockitboy Says:

    December 4th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Hmm, this sounds reasonable but can you actually point to any examples in the past where this has worked? I’m perfectly willing to be convinced, but if a diluted and twisted version of reality gets splashed up on the screen, would the mainstream audience be willing to make the leap to the actuality of the man? I mean, he broke every taboo going; strong language was a regular feature of his performance, and I really doubt that we`ll see that aspect portrayed. Mind you, if he were alive I`d say do it, man, just so he could get the movie money….but being a live hero just isn’t as bankable as being a dead hero.

  3. Bazza Says:

    December 4th, 2008 at 4:42 pm


    That old Dustin Hoffman biopic of Lenny Bruce was pretty good, and Lenny Bruce for his day was arguably even more radical than the Hickster, though less funny.

  4. R J Says:

    December 4th, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    The Doors – with Val Kilmer, and of course Lenny – starring Dustin Hoffman – still his favourite role – which got people listening to (and reading) Lenny Bruce, so maybe the Hicks film will do the same for Bill’s work. Also, as Hicks was on the road for most of his life, the movie will have to contain large sections of his comedy material in re-created performances. I understand your concern regarding possible content dilution/distortion, but it really is better to have BH awareness raised – rather than to have him ignored. Even one convert to the man’s work is better than none.

  5. Poo Baa Says:

    December 9th, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    I agree with RJ.

    There are numerous examples of films that revitalised the original franchise/person/brand.

    I agree that a bad fim will make the blood boil, but who’s to say it WILL be a bad film?

    What I would like to see is Hicks’ legacy restored, his pivotal place in the pantheon of original dangerous thinkers given the weight it deserves. Actually, I think Crowe as Hicks could work astoundingly well.

    My only concern is what the story might be, and I cannot help but feel that it may revolve around Hicks’ spat with Jay Leno and the powers that be.

    You should take a look at Good Night and Good Luck to see what it might turn out like.

  6. rockitboy Says:

    December 9th, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Hmm, I see that in the face of such a marshalling of facts and possibilities, I shall have to revisit my original narkazoid posting. Okay, lets be cool about this and say…..that the Mike Cobley jury on a Bill Hicks movie is not in!

    Sigh, the curse of an open mind – with folk like youze all lining to put stuff in it!

  7. Daniel Says:

    March 31st, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Mike Myers could be the only guy to pull off the Bill Hicks roll. Think about it.

  8. rockitboy Says:

    March 31st, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Hmm – dunno if MM has the presence and can do that delivery. Buty hey – weirder things have happened.

  9. jmcl63 Says:

    April 1st, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Jim Carrey excelled in Man on the Moon, the biopic about Andy Kaufman. I’m not suggesting Carrey for this film; rather pointing out that a project of this ilk need not bowdlerise its subject. :)

  10. rockitboy Says:

    April 1st, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Never saw Man On The Moon but heard a lot of good things about it. Point taken, JM.

  11. jmcl63 Says:

    April 1st, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    So Mikey: who would you choose for the lead then? ;)

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