Snippets: Austin Film Festival Edition


  • The Movie Guys: "Being a Martin script, however, there are some good moments. One very good scene about halfway through effectively conveys the sad fact that, when it comes to relationships, we tend to see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear, as opposed to what is actually there. This is not a bad film. To compare it to other films starring Martin, it is nowhere near as execrable as Cheaper by the Dozen or Mixed Nuts. Unfortunately, Shopgirl falls short, the work of a gifted writer who just couldn’t quite get a handle on his story."
  • Productio Ad Absurdam: "Anand directs his actors well, although I get a very strong impression that most of the three exceptional lead performances were the actors’ creations and had little to do with direction. His cinematography choices bothered me some, especially the gimmicky, almost cartoonish, long shots of Martin’s private plane descending on Seattle and the starscapes. When Tucker mentioned during the Q&A that he was a huge Douglas Sirk fan, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. It shows. Like pantylines."

Judd Apatow Presents…

  • Cinema Strikes Back: "The last question of the evening came from Harold Ramis, who sat in (along with James Franco) for the presentation. His question: ‘I noticed you had a dog humping in your pilot and also dogs humping in Virgin. Is that a theme?’ Apatow’s answer was that it’s his idea of a mainstream joke, sort of like selling out. He knows that popular movies have dog-sex in them and it’s sort of like fart jokes, how we should quit being snobs about it and just recognize that it’s funny. He did mention that there are guys whose job it is to facilitate the dog humping, and he’s got a huge table with different breeds diagrammed out and he presents the director with all the options of who will mount who but who won’t touch each other; just another glimpse into the surreal life in the movie business."
  • Chris Garcia: "Outtakes from the movie were funny and revealing — the insecure Apatow shoots every scene with numerous punch lines — but the unaired pilot of Apatow’s failed sitcom ‘North Hollywood’ killed. The biggest laugh-getter was when the son of Tom Hanks appears and the main character can’t get over how much he looks like Hanks, wondering, ‘What, did Tom Hanks have sex with himself?’"


  • Cinema Strikes Back: "Ernie Hudson talked a bit about his experience on the film. He was very courteous and tactful, saying that the original script that he read was and is still fantastic, but there were some frustrations when the script changed. Harold Ramis then gave us the dirt that Winston Zeddmore’s part was originally much more of a presence with lots of great scenes, but as will happen on a movie, the larger, well-paid stars of the film start looking at the script and thinking ‘why don’t I get these great scenes?’ So a lot of Winston’s stuff was lost to Bill Murray & Dan Aykroyd’s characters, leaving Ernie Hudson to come in on page 68 instead of 8."
  • Cinematical: "The other thing was that the little boy behind me asked Ramis a question: ‘How did you make all the monsters?’ Some audience members laughed at the question, but Ramis handled it with grace and respect, and interested the whole audience by remarking that Slimer was based on the late John Belushi."

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

  • The Movie Guys: "Once Shopgirl ended, I and other moviegoers stampeded outside to get in line for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. After standing in line for a while (it was about 10:45 and the movie was supposed to have started at 10:20), a security guard walks down the lines and loudly announces that no cell phones of ANY kind (even ones that can’t take pictures) will be allowed in the theater. She added that even though the last security outfit allowed cell phones into the Shopgirl screening, they were a different company and would not allow it. She said everyone needed to go to their cars, even if they were parked blocks away, and put their cell phones in their vehicles. Given her tone of voice, this woman sounded like she wanted, I daresay she needed to catch someone trying to bring a cell phone into the movie. I was not giving up my place in line and was busy thinking of creative places to hide my cell phone when an Austin Film Festival rep came walking down the lines with an apologetic smile on her face. She announced that cell phones were okay and that no one would be frisked or wanded going into the screening. Good. Apparently enough people threatened the lives of the security company and the employees of the Austin Film Festival that they changed their minds."
  • Productio Ad Absurdum: "Downey’s casting was a fluke. He was dating one of Silver’s producers at the time and so was hanging around the office a lot. They called him in to read some lines one day just to hear how they flowed and ‘…it was like I was typing the words directly into his mouth.’ Mel Gibson called Silver and personally vouched for Downey, as an actor and as a person, as being totally clean and sober and ready to work again. I hope this film lights a fire under Downey’s career, he’s far surpassed the potential he showed in ‘Less Than Zero.’ He also sings the song playing under the end credits."

Ice Harvest

  • Ain’t It Cool News: "Oliver Platt… Oliver Platt is hands down one of my favorite actors working today. He’s always hilarious even if the movie he’s in isn’t. He’s fantastic in this movie, absolutely at the top of his game. Matter of fact, he’s so funny in this movie that if the rest of the flick was godawful I’d still recommend seeing it just for Platt’s work in it."
  • The Movie Guys: "Director Harold Ramis (Egon from Ghostbusters) introduced his film The Ice Harvest. He said, ‘I always wanted to visit Austin because I heard it was the hippest place in Texas, which isn’t saying much.’ After getting laughter, he followed with, ‘I actually came down to see one of your state’s many executions, but they didn’t have any today.’"
  • Jybil: "Well, the movie was sort of exactly what I expected. However, Oliver Platt stole the movie for me. Perhaps it was his jovial drunken state (which I like to think of myself as a happy drunk) or perhaps it was merely the way he delivered the monologue to the Christian bartender on Christmas Eve. Director Harold Ramis was quite a delight. He was humorous, charming, modest, and endearing. He spoke after the film (and briefly before as well). Since I liked hearing him speak so much, I was a little disappointed that I just didn’t fall in love with his movie as much as I fell in love with him. Still, it was good, but I had just wanted to like it a little more."


  • Ain’t It Cool News: "In this Q&A (director Uwe) Boll also said it didn’t matter who was in the movie as long as there was a name on the poster. ‘The characters don’t matter.’ That’s why your movies are reviled, dude. Your actor friend said that we ‘haters’ are a ‘vocal minority.’ Look at the box office and tell me what majority loves Boll’s films. And the reason for that is hidden in Boll’s attitude about his films. ‘The characters don’t matter.’ He thinks all movies are are boobs, blood and CG effects."


  • HD for Indies: "Caught the tail end of the Film School panel. The tradeoffs – the traditional schools like USC are like mirrors of Hollywood litself – you compete for the opportunity to shoot. So you get schooled in the present tense of the film industry. What you DON’T get in that context is how to make your own indie film in the New School way. The old school gets you contacts and networking and peer review and feedback and discipline to know things like the sweet spot of a boom mike. But my indie New Stuff attitude makes me wonder if they will learn about Digital Intermediates, and the possibilities of HD, HDV, working with Final Cut and After Effects rather than Avid and some really Really Expensive Workflows. Ideally, you’d get both. I don’t know of a school that does that, but if _I_ were in school, that’s what I’d be looking for. Are you looking to get into the filmmaking BUSINESS? Go to USC. If you’re looking to learn how to viably make your own indie with the bestest newest techniques? I don’t know where, but that’s what I’d want. "
  • Productio Ad Absurdam: "The last panel was writers as directors, which was amazing. First time director/long time writer Shane Black and very experienced writer/director Terry George. George is the incredibly dedicated man who brought us ‘In the Name of the Father’ and ‘Hotel Rwanda’, among others. It was wonderful to listen to a man who is making the kind of films I want to write. But it was best to hear to writer/directors tell me that all the active discouragement I get from pretentious filmmakers that say I shouldn’t dare to believe I could direct my own script wihout going to film school is bullshit. ‘Bullshit’ is the exact word they used and they used it several times. You may not get the chance to direct your own stuff but if you do, don’t be afraid to do it, especially if you don’t trust another director to actually film what you wrote. Don’t know how to work a camera? That’s what your D.P. is for. Get one of those, a 1st A.D. and an editor you trust, and you’re good to go."

General Comments

  • Singed Benefits: "The city was packed as I mentioned before. Gamerboy and I didn’t realize it was for a game. Like we give two craps about football, but then we’re kinda goofy that way. So, UT fans — rabid, yelling, drinking, obnoxious UT FANATICS — were everywhere. (They were extremely easy to identify. They wore orange. We, too, were easy to spot since we were not wearing orange). And probably still are. I mean, they had motorhomes and big trucks for tailgate parties all over downtown. They had lawn chairs set up in parking lots with giant, like 25-inch screen televisions set up so they could watch the game. Is that weird? Or is it just me? I didn’t know people really did tailgate parties. I thought it was more of a joke. No, I don’t get out much, at least not to those types of venues."
  • Jybil: "It’s always a sad time when festivals come to an end, any sort of festival–if you have ever attended one, worked one, or volunteered for one. Sure, you’re exhausted and ready to not step foot into a movie theater for at least a month! But at the same time, it’s like Summer Camp…and it’s over. And all the friends you have made, strangers you have met in line or at parties, and all the creative energy that is just so thick in the air you could cut it, this all comes to an end as quickly as it overwhelmed you the week prior. And in that distant jukebox in the sky, you hear ‘Tuesday’s Gone’ playing in the background as in the end of Dazed & Confused when the party’s over, the keg’s floated, and everyone’s drifting away back to where they came from."
  • HD for Indies: "Overall, I was really impressed with the panels’ content and structure — sometimes it is the little things that make a conference better – such as the 30 minutes between panels for everyone to mingle and chat and schmooze and ask more questions of the panelists, or the spacing of the panels that didn’t overlap too much with movies, and how it just timed out and spaced out well. Also, good quality on the panelists as well, with EVERYONE very approachable and talk-to-able. Even Shane Black (-Out), Mr. Grizzled Veteran himself, chatted with me a bit and wasn’t ‘pish off kid.’"
  • Jason Schwartzman in the Statesman: "My personal feelings toward the city are amazing. I feel a real kinship with it. Any place that’s famous for its love of music is all right with me. And last night, people really wanted to be in the theater. There’s a love of the arts, and I can tell people really want to like things. It’s a hopeful city and the spirit is good. I loved walking around last night and being on Sixth Street. Every time I get here I’m superexcited and can’t wait to get to the streets."
  • Kadoogan: "The Driskill is also where I had a run-in with the one uncool guy I met. Not surprisingly he was an agent. He had been on my target list for weeks because I need and an agent and he represents a friend of mine. I figured I had a good shot getting him to read my screenplay. I introduced myself to him three or four times in the first two days of the conference. Not once did he remember me. I kept telling him that I was a finalist in the competition and that he repped a friend of mine who liked my script. Finally, I gathered the courage to ask him if he would read it. Without even looking at me, feet already taking him to the bar he replied, ‘If you win.’ See, this guy was only in Austin to take advantage of wide-eyed Texas girls. He was completely disdainful of the writers in attendance, skipped up to half of the panels he was scheduled to appear at and became such an object of disdain that by the end of the conference people were using his last name as a swear word."
  • KVUE: "’When you are talking about a business where there are millions of scripts floating around, over two thirds of which are terrible, the ones that are really good really do stand out, and they seem to find their way into agency offices and studio executives’ piles of reading. That’s really how it happens,’ says Deborah Pearlman, director of the Warner Bros. Television Writers Workshop. ‘It’s a thrill to find somebody who has no connection to the business, who we’ve never seen before, we’ve never heard of before.’"
  • Jason Schwartzman on the news of a Rocky sequel: "What was your mother’s (Talia Shire– roles in Rocky and The Godfather) reaction on hearing that Stallone plans to film a sixth Rocky, titled Rocky Balboa? Schwartzman: I don’t know, I did not ask her. I don’t like to know. I am on a need to know basis."

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1 Comment so far

  1. charlie (unregistered) on October 29th, 2005 @ 3:22 pm

    “the sad fact that, when it comes to relationships, we tend to see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear, as opposed to what is actually there.”

    Ouch. The brutal reality of that stings a bit.

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