We Can't Go Home Again and Don't Expect Too Much | Chicago Reader

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Avant-Garde, Biography, Documentary, Experimental, Program
Hollywood maverick Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without a Cause, Bigger Than Life) would have been a hundred years old in 2011, and in honor of his centennial, his widow, Linda Ray, has restored his unfinished experimental film, We Can't Go Home Again, and created a documentary about its genesis, Don't Expect Too Much. In 1971, nearly ten years after his Hollywood career had fizzled out, Ray landed a teaching gig at State University of New York at Binghamton, where he enlisted his students in the creation of a movie drawn from their common experience. We Can't Go Home Again (93 min.) ranges from the arresting to the tedious, a failed attempt to incorporate video art and split-screen imagery into an improvised and vaguely autobiographical story. By contrast, Don't Expect Too Much (70 min.) is a fascinating and deeply troubling account of a 60-year-old artist, once great but now awash in a sea of drink and drugs, as he tries to connect with people 40 years his junior. Ray's students appear in both extensive behind-the-scenes footage and in new interviews; whatever their feelings toward Ray now, they all seem to regard the project as a galvanic experience, their chance to experience close-up one of the giants of the Hollywood cinema.


See our full review: Rebel without a script

Rebel without a script

A new documentary chronicles the twilight years of Hollywood maverick Nicholas Ray »

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