I first encountered author Harlan Ellison's writings in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine, when I was in high school. I enjoyed his "Watching" series of movie essays, and in fact I still do -- I have the collected book of them, and I sometimes reread them when I want to remind myself of certain things I like about film criticism. So naturally I was excited about Dreams with Sharp Teeth, Erik Nelson's documentary about Ellison that screened at SXSW this week. I wasn't disappointed, but obviously I was already a fan of the author.
The movie sets out to show you various facets of Ellison's life, without resorting to a linear biography. Various friends, colleagues and well-known acquaintances of Ellison talk about him -- Robin Williams perhaps most surprising among them, reviewing a list of the crazy stuff Ellison has allegedly done, and Ellison responding on whether the stories are true. Neil Gaiman and Battlestar Galactica producer Ron Moore also make appearances. The film also includes some vintage interviews with Ellison, such as Tom Snyder's interview from the 1970s. In between these stories about his life, Ellison reads excerpts from some of his best or best-known work.