All I Can Say – Film Review
by Jamie Waddell
Directors – Danny Clinch, Taryn Gould, Colleen Hennessy
Stars – Glen Graham, Shannon Hoon, Lisa Sinha
All I Can Say is a hedonistic fever dream charting the exponential rise and tragic fall of Shannon Hoon, lead singer of alt-rock act Blind Melon. Shannon Hoon began shooting his own ‘documentary-style’ home videos in 1990. Beginning with his normal suburban life in small-town Indiana, he moves to Los Angeles and starts Blind Melon with Roger Stephens. In the next 7 years, we see the highs and the lows of Shanon Hoon the artist and the person until he tragically dies on October 21st 1995 of a drug overdose.
In a deeply personal film, directors Coleen Shaunnesy, Taryn Gould, and Danny Clinch (with an honorary credit going to Shannon Hoom himself) have produced this work out of hundreds of hours of Hoon’s own footage to tell his story in the grungiest way possible. A whistlestop tour through the very heart of the music industry cleverly intercut with grainy news footage of major events that happened during this time. All I Can Say is made special by the openness and warmth that Shannon himself provided in this own footage.
Hoon begins to document his life while he is still living at home because he feels like there is something great in his future. A pre-cursor to the ‘Vlog’ style content that permeates much of Youtube nowadays, Hoon gives you a personal tour through his everyday life. You met his family, his girlfriend Lisa who he has been with since 1980 and his friends. Hoon is often operating the camera handheld himself, and he is so charismatic it draws you in. He is comfortable talking to himself and can be truly himself on camera.
Blind Melon had a meteoric rise between ’91 and ’94. From getting their big break because Hoon was friendly with Axl Rose, to partying with Lenny Kravitz, touring the world and playing a major slot at Woodstock ‘94. They were living the dream but you can see behind his eyes that he wasn’t happy. In a recorded phone conversation that is interlaced throughout the film, Shannon is a lot more open about his feelings. When he is asked what is most important to him, he says that having a stable healthy family is what he wants.
His parents separated when he was 16/ 17 and it had really rocked him. His turbulent relationship with his alcoholic dad made him realise that he needed stable healthy relationships to keep him level. He is shown in the film to have an affinity with children and a strong desire to start his own family, something that he believes will help him kick the drugs and booze. In a cruel twist of fate, mere months before his untimely passing his daughter ‘Nico’ Blue is born. A personal documentation of a tortured artist unlike any other, All I Can Say is a film from the 1990s with an almost prophetic level of insight into the modern world.