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A Hell of a Note1977

  • 3.9
Eagle Pennell was a self-taught filmmaker who had been hanging out around the University of Texas Austin campus when he decided to make A HELL OF A NOTE. This short film features his two best collaborators, Sonny Carl Davis and Lou Perryman. Sonny and Lou create the prototypical characters they will refine in THE WHOLE SHOOTIN' MATCH and do variations on in LAST NIGHT AT THE ALAMO. The film follows our two heroes from getting fired to getting drunk. The ending doesn't have the grace or courage that the ending of THE WHOLE SHOOTIN' MATCH has, but that doesn't matter. You can clearly see Sonny's still breathing. They were all just getting ready for the real thing. This restoration to HD was done from the camera negative.

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2 members like this review

A little slice of life -- two buddies who work together at a miserable roofing job get fired, get drunk, try to meet women, get in fights... I'll stop there. Eagle Pennell had a wonderful sense of gritty realism and the sometimes black humor of everyday life, which he took to perfection in his next film, "The Whole Shootin' Match." A pioneer of the Austin film scene and direct antecedent of Richard Linklater, who took a similar style and tone in "Slackers." The companion documentary "The King of Texas" is well worth seeing too. Unfortunately, Pennell was a victim of substance addictions that gradually helped drag him down; he could have been one of the greats of American cinema. As it is, he is an interesting footnote.

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Member Reviews (4)

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top reviewer

A little slice of life -- two buddies who work together at a miserable roofing job get fired, get drunk, try to meet women, get in fights... I'll stop there. Eagle Pennell had a wonderful sense of gritty realism and the sometimes black humor of everyday life, which he took to perfection in his next film, "The Whole Shootin' Match." A pioneer of the Austin film scene and direct antecedent of Richard Linklater, who took a similar style and tone in "Slackers." The companion documentary "The King of Texas" is well worth seeing too. Unfortunately, Pennell was a victim of substance addictions that gradually helped drag him down; he could have been one of the greats of American cinema. As it is, he is an interesting footnote.

2 members like this review

A terrific film short with authentic (non-Hollywood) Texas flavor.

1 member likes this review

Texas-style slackers--pre Gen-X. The acting may not have been top notch, but the authenticity to the characters and dialogue that more than made up for it. I also found the three buddies very likable. If you like Charles Portis (e.g., Norwood), there's a good chance you'll like this.

boring