Shattered Hopes DVD Review

General Discussion About the 1974 DeFeo Murders and related topics
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Deadguydan
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Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by Deadguydan » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:39 am

I got my Shattered Hopes DVD in yesterday and watched it last night.

The DVD itself is all pro. Nice packaging and a nice fold out insert inside. This is not a DVDR this is a real deal DVD.

The production values are pretty good for an independent release. Katzenbach and crew did a good job of sticking to era details. It does have a 70's feel to the whole thing. Katzenbach even added some visuals to give scenes an old look (film grain etc.). It kinda works but I could have done without it. It doesn't take away from the film though. There details that could have been improved upon like Big Ronnie's car. It wasn't a Buick LeSabre but hey how many can you find from 74 that are mint and in working order? They did use a car from the 70's that matched in color so I give them credit on that. Also the scene in which Butch puts a gun up to big Ronnie's head and threatens to kill him is up for questioning. The film has the weapon being a .22 cal. rifle but I thought it was a shotgun? I could be wrong on that one so if anyone knows for sure feel free to jump in.

The acting was sub par, about on line with Discovery Channel's "A Haunting" series. That could have been improved upon but again this is low budget and I wasn't expecting any Di Nero-esque acting anyway.

Now onto to Geraldine Gates because I know everyone wants to know. There is a good portion of her claims in this film. Not everything hinges on her words but there is a lot that does. The final night seems to be based on what Butch's version seems to be although the film ends with gunshots and leaves you hanging. About what I expected really since we all know this is a trilogy. Some things that Gates claim makes me believe she did in fact have a relationship with Butch. Was she married to him? I'm not convinced by the film. There is nothing but her word stating the claim. Something we all want cleared up if there is proof. Hell even Ryan has stated to me that at face value Gates is a fraud BUT there are something things she says that makes me believe she knew the family. There is mention of a necklace that Louise wore that is present in a crime scene photo I have never seen before. It is also present in a photo of her by the pool with her kids that was taken by a family friend who was close to the DeFeo's. There is some truth there somewhere but I need more info and hopefully that will come with parts 2 and 3.

I can honestly say that I believe that Big Ronnie was abusive. There is enough evidence through the interviews with family friends that state that Ronnie was abusive. Most of it really points to verbal and emotional but I can see that turning into psychical as well. I think the most damning evidence is from the husband of the housekeeper Linnea (DeFeo's housekeeper and family friend). It seems to me she shared what she saw in that house with her husband and I see no reason why he would lie about it. They do dwell a lot on Big Ronnie's obsession with religion and how he thought he could see auras around people. How he could be rather fanatical about it all and still have these problems with being an abusive person. Big Ronnie had problems that seemed to stem from his father in law. Michael Brigante basically bought the house for Louise and Ronnie so that took a toll on Big Ronnie mentally. Here is a man who is the king of the castle so to speak but yet he didnt actually provide that castle. They did a good job presenting that aspect.

Mob ties.....yep I believe there were. The dealership was under investigation for quite awhile in the late 60's early 70's. The place was wiretapped which is briefly touched on in the book High Hopes. Now did the mob cover up anything with the murders? That is never mentioned so we have to wait on that.

One thing I didnt like was how Butch is painted more like a victim in all of this. A victim of abuse, a victim of alcohol and drugs. It never condoned what he did but I didnt take well to his portrayal. I am wondering if maybe this portrayal will change in the next two films. Another aspect that I can't swallow is the murder plot to ice Michael Brigante. This info comes from Geraldine and to me discredits her more in my eyes. Apparently Big Ronnie felt that Brigante needed to go. He told Butch that it was going to be Butch's job to take him out. He gave Butch a pistol and sent him into Brigante's office to shoot him. Ronnie doesn't because of his love for his Grandfather. He gives the gun to Brigante and tells him the deal. I can't for the life of remember what happened after that. I stared the movie at 10:30 and this was around the hour and 45 minute mark and I was getting rather sleepy! I know that sounds wussified but Im just being honest. This is when the whole deposit robbery comes into the picture but they don't go into great detail about it. Basically I dont buy the "kill your grandfather" story but I do believe that Big Ronnie was taking money from the dealership and that he was in charge of keeping two books to work out the embezzlement. That doesn't surprise me for some reason.

Another aspect that I can't seem to swallow is story that the housekeeper gave Osuna about Louise planning to poison the family on Thanksgiving. This all came from an email between Osuna and Linnea. It is never mentioned in the interview with her husband. I would imagine that if it were true that she would have shared that with her husband since she shared just about everything else.

Anyway Im going to wrap this up since it is rather long. Overall a good documentary for what it is. I will remain open to all the possibilities surrounding the case and at the end of part 3 maybe I will have a solid grasp on the whole thing. Maybe my mind will change, maybe not but I commend Ryan on a well made film and I look forward to the next two installments.

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Rokiisun
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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by Rokiisun » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:32 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the documentary. Mines is on the way too so I'll hopefully be able to add some of mines too when that happens. 8-)

You were saying about how Ronnie is painted as a victim in the documentary? I too would think that the angle could possibly change in parts II and III. From what you are saying I'm gathering that the film deals a lot with the abuse the family went through from Big Ronald, so maybe the documentary at this stage is going a little 'soft' on Ronnie because the filmmaker wants to get the point across to the audience that the whole family was affected by this abuse - Ronnie included.

Because the murders have also not occured at this part in the storyline I'm guessing the filmmaker thought that the audience should gradually start to feel differently towards Ronnie as the documentary progresses, shifts away from the family and more towards himself as an individual. You could feel slightly sorry for him in part one for instance because you feel sorry for what the family went though as a whole, but when you get to parts II and III the angle could shift to, 'I now don't feel sorry for this guy in the slightest because...' I think that's what's happening here.

With Geraldine, I'm really looking forward to hearing her interviews. I know there's a fair (or is 'great' a better word for it) deal of evidence stacked up against her claims with her being the contraversal figure in the case/story, but I'm still genuinely interested in what she has to say because like you say, if the documentary is edited in such an effective way that you believe she could be telling the truth then I'm sure it'll make for some pretty good discussions afterwards.
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Deadguydan
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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by Deadguydan » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:46 am

You were saying about how Ronnie is painted as a victim in the documentary? I too would think that the angle could possibly change in parts II and III. From what you are saying I'm gathering that the film deals a lot with the abuse the family went through from Big Ronald, so maybe the documentary at this stage is going a little 'soft' on Ronnie because the filmmaker wants to get the point across to the audience that the whole family was affected by this abuse - Ronnie included.
Yes Rokiison I agree with you. I probably should have thought about it a little more. I have a feeling that is what is being done. It makes for an interesting angle.

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sherbetbizarre
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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by sherbetbizarre » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:23 am

Thanks for the review, and good to see it up on his FB page. It's better than the usual "great job, Ryan!" comments he's got so far... plus I think this is the sort of "discussion" he was hoping for. ie, from someone who actually knows a bit about the case.
Deadguydan wrote:Some things that Gates claim makes me believe she did in fact have a relationship with Butch. Was she married to him? I'm convinced by the film. There is nothing but her word stating the claim. Something we all want cleared up if there is proof. Hell even Ryan has stated to me that at face value Gates is a fraud BUT there are something things she says that makes me believe she knew the family.
She knew Ronnie in prison from 84/85... by '86 was passing herself off as his wife in public. She's had plenty of time to learn a lot from him. ;)
One thing I didnt like was how Butch is painted more like a victim in all of this. A victim of abuse, a victim of alcohol and drugs. It never condoned what he did but I didnt take well to his portrayal. I am wondering if maybe this portrayal will change in the next two films.
I doubt it. Ric Osuna was all about showing Ronnie as "not the monster he's made out to be". Which didn't go down too well either.
I stared the movie at 10:30 and this was around the hour and 45 minute mark and I was getting rather sleepy! I know that sounds wussified but Im just being honest.
I wonder how many more people it will send to sleep! :P
Another aspect that I can't seem to swallow is story that the housekeeper gave Osuna about Louise planning to poison the family on Thanksgiving. This all came from an email between Osuna and Linnea. It is never mentioned in the interview with her husband. I would imagine that if it were true that she would have shared that with her husband since she shared just about everything else.
Well, it's not the first time Osuna lied about their discussions... and would explain why the husband wasn't asked ;)

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kathyM
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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by kathyM » Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:02 am

Thanks for your input DeadguyDan. I ordered my dvd yesterday and cant wait to view it. I hope to hear what everyone thinks of this documentary after they view it.

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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by Victoria Principles » Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:05 am

I think this will be a very informative documentary with the exception of the Geraldine part (why would Ronnie be living at his parent's house if he was married and none of his friends knew about his "marriage" to Geraldine at the time). Too bad that Ryan has been such a Richard. His credibility would be better if he wasn't so short tempered.

No big surprised that Ronnie Sr. is portrayed as abusive. Too many things pointing to that dirty not so little secret. Violence often begets violence. This is the first film with actutal people who knew the DeFeos.

Any indications as to why Ronnie Sr. became so religious?

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Deadguydan
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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by Deadguydan » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:47 pm

Any indications as to why Ronnie Sr. became so religious?
It stemmed from the episode where Butch put a gun to Ronnie Sr.'s head and pulled the trigger and the gun didnt fire. Ronnie Sr. identified with the priest of a church in Canada who had survived similar episodes. Ronnie Sr. felt blessed by a miracle and became very religious. The abuse didn't stop though according to interviews of family friends.

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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by Victoria Principles » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:30 pm

Deadguydan wrote:
Any indications as to why Ronnie Sr. became so religious?
It stemmed from the episode where Butch put a gun to Ronnie Sr.'s head and pulled the trigger and the gun didnt fire. Ronnie Sr. identified with the priest of a church in Canada who had survived similar episodes. Ronnie Sr. felt blessed by a miracle and became very religious. The abuse didn't stop though according to interviews of family friends.
Was there any living witnesses to the gun to the head incident or someone that either father or son told that this happened before the murders?

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TigresMeow
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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by TigresMeow » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:49 pm

Unfortunately, I won't be able to offer any comments about this DVD or the other 2 in the trilogy. I have carefully thought things over and have decided that Ryan does not need to know my home address.

I am glad y'all are giving your viewpoints and I am sure it will make for alot of interesting discussions.

I also second what Sherb said. Geraldine has had plenty of time to learn different stories and things from Ronnie while she was "married" to him after he had been in prison for some years.

I do have a question for you tho. With never seen before pictures being shown, is Geraldine in any of them? For some reason, I don't think she is. I would think that a DeFeo family member or good friend would surely have one picture of her with the DeFeo family. Did any of the people that claim to have known the DeFeo's before the murders mention Geraldine at all? I cannot imagine the mob destroying pictures that a friend or family member had. And I certainly don't think Geraldine got all the pictures from them and burned them. One more question if y'all don't mind. Does it seem as if Ryan explored ALL possibilities or does he stay close to what was in Ric's book or what Geraldine told him?

Thanks!
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Deadguydan
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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by Deadguydan » Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:16 am

Tiger according to Ryan
It has never been my intention to not verify Geraldine by asking those who were there, particularly Roger Nonnewitz. And you're going to hear his reply.
I think there is going to be some rather interesting info coming forth in the next 2 films.

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sherbetbizarre
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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by sherbetbizarre » Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:47 am

How would you feel if none of these people remember her in Part III?

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Deadguydan
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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by Deadguydan » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:07 am

If no one remembers her by the time part 3 is viewed then I would have to say that Geri is HIGHLY suspect and it might make me feel that Ryan's research was extremely flawed. It kinda depends on how all of what Geri says is presented too. If it is presented as a "what if she is telling the truth" then I will take it with a grain of salt and look at it as that. If it is presented as the honest truth and there is no factual backing of any of it in anyway then I might be pretty pissed or at least highly disappointed.

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sherbetbizarre
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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by sherbetbizarre » Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:50 am

Does Part I introduce her as a "Controversial figure", as Ryan now likes to call her?

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Deadguydan
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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by Deadguydan » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:35 am

I believe it does actually. She comes into the film during the telling of Ric working with George Lutz and it is here that Ric changes his beliefs about everything because of what Geraldine is telling him.

I will ask you the opposite, how will you feel if these family friends remember her and validate some of what she is saying?

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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by Dan the Damned » Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:35 pm

That's exactly what we've been calling for -- evidence that relatives or family friends knew Geraldine from the early 1970s (not from the 80s). Do any do this in Part I?

Validating Geraldine's stories is a completely different animal. As Sherb and Max have been saying all along, she could have gotten this "insider info" from various sources (including books and Ronnie, himself). All evidence points to her and Ronnie hatching their plot (to convince the system that they were married in the 70s) in the mid-80s. Geraldine didn't start this BS just for Ric's book or for Ryan's film -- they were trying to fool the legal system. That's a mighty tough job. So it's no wonder that Geraldine appears to have her story down pat. She had it down over a decade before Ric first met her!

But this has all been said before. More importantly, what are Geraldine's exact claims? We haven't seen the film yet, so we don't know what claims she makes in Ryan's movie. We do know, however, what she has said in Ric's book (and on the Internet), and we feel confident that we have ripped those statements to shreds. Not because we have a vendetta against this person, but because it just seems crazy to us that people still believe this liar.

And that's what we've been saying all along. We're not attacking the things Geraldine says in Ryan's movie (yet) because we haven't seen it yet. Instead we are angrily objecting to her being included in this documentary because we feel wholeheartedly that she is a fraud.

Ryan doesn't get it -- we want his film to be a good one. We want a good documentary about the DeFeos. But we are adamant that Geraldine's involvement will only serve to push more false information onto the public.

(And yes, obviously we have other issues with Ryan, but if his forensics team dissected this relationship, they would find it all goes back to Geraldine Gates.)

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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by sherbetbizarre » Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:09 pm

Deadguydan wrote:I believe it does actually. She comes into the film during the telling of Ric working with George Lutz and it is here that Ric changes his beliefs about everything because of what Geraldine is telling him.

I will ask you the opposite, how will you feel if these family friends remember her and validate some of what she is saying?
I'd be annoyed that the director made a game out of it, when he should be presenting this evidence in Part I.

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Deadguydan
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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by Deadguydan » Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:52 am

Hmmm...I can see that. Then again you can chalk it up to creating drama throughout the documentaries. I do understand though because sometimes I'm like "just tell us already!!" :lol:

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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by sherbetbizarre » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:48 am

True, if unnecessary "drama" at the expense of the memories of the DeFeo's is what you are going for...

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Deadguydan
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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by Deadguydan » Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:54 pm

Ya know if Ryan was to prove without a shadow of a doubt that what his documentaries portray is true you still wouldn't be happy would you? :lol:

and I say that with humor not trying to be a bunghole to ya. ;)

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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by sherbetbizarre » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:16 pm

He's never going to portray Geraldine as "true" after he once wrote...
Ryan Katzenbach wrote:Geraldine DeFeo-Gates' story is explored in this documentary. And, understandably, there are those who believe that she is a fraud. But, Geraldine's story is but one part of the film. Regardless of whether Geraldine was there or not, there are facts and issues that outweigh her controversy. To me, those are more interesting than wasting time trying to discredit her. If she says she was married and she had a relationship with DeFeo prior to the murders, who really cares, and who are we to argue it? It's purely ancillary to the crime and the court case and if ten years from now someone proves the woman to be an absolute fraud, it in no way diminishes the merits of our film.
There you go, saved you the wait for Part III :D

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Re: Shattered Hopes DVD Review

Post by kathyM » Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:00 pm

I just watched the dvd. I AM DISAPPOINTED.

Geraldine is in the whole movie. She talks more than the narrator Ed Asner. Get this, Ric Osauna is also in the whole movie. EVERYTHING in this documentary is already here on this site and there is nothing new. It is totally following the Ric Osauna book.

Geraldine seriously needs to go to the beauty salon and get a new hairdo.

I am telling you, if you have been a member of this site, you will have already seen and heard everything in this dvd. I REPEAT, NOTHING NEW. I really was hoping to see or hear something from the friends and relatives being interviewed but we have heard all of this. That Big Ronnie was a religious freak that had manic depressive moods and was abusive.

The music was kind of cool and funky though, you felt like you were in the 70s again.

The mob stuff was also talked about. Same old stuff we have heard.

I HAVE TO BOW DOWN TO DAN AND SHERB AND A FEW OTHERS THAT TIME AND TIME AGAIN SAID THIS IS PROBABLY WHAT WE WOULD GET IN THIS DVD. YOU WERE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT AND I AM SORRY FOR DOUBTING YOU!

I will probably see the part 2 and 3 dvds to be fair because maybe there will be new stuff in that. We shall see.

I REPEAT, GERALDINE IS TELLING HER STORY IN THE WHOLE MOVIE.

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