Friday, November 10, 2006

Factotum in Macon

My brother Paul, who, unlike me, gets paid to write and was therefore rather busy during this rather joyful election week, still took time out of his busy schedule to write this partial (and somewhat profanity-laced) review of "Factotum." It's being presented this Sunday afternoon at the Douglass Theatre at 2, 4:30 and 7:30 by the Macon Film Guild, so definitely check it out.

Anyways, here's what my bro, who tried to get a role in this flick as an extra at a Minneapolis-area race track, had to say about it:

"Bent Hamer's Charles Bukowski biopic is a manifesto for slothfulness and degeneracy. Matt Dillon - sporting a pot belly and acne scars - drinks, fucks, fights, gambles and gets fired from every menial job he can find. This sordid lifestyle is not scorned, but rather celebrated. Dillon and his revolving crew of misfits are held up as beacons of freedom, unencumbered by the workaday troubles of Joes and Jans stupid enough to burden themselves with annoyances like jobs and families.

By contrast the working stiffs who mock Dillon's insistence that he's a fledgling writer are treated with contempt. Perhaps it's a reflection of my own disreputable lifestyle, but I found this thoroughly un-American notion quite appealing. When Dillon forsakes his ice truck-with back door wide open, in the blazing sun-for a seat at the bar, it seems like a perfectly logical, even admirable decision. It reminds me of a line from a Todd Snider song: "Watch what you say to someone with nothing/ it's almost like having it all."

Based on Bukowski's autobiographical novel, there's not much to speak of in terms of plot. The only drama stems from which girlfriend Dillon will get drunk with and which crappy job he will next get fired from and which magazine will reject his latest short story.

This would probably prove toxic if it wasn't for a uniformly winning cast. Dillon is a charming lout, affably shrugging his shoulders at a world he doesn't understand. He's joined by stalwarts Lili Taylor and Marisa Tomei as a couple of his wino girlfriends, and Fisher Stevens as an equally slothful co-worker. (Factotum is also, tragically, the last movie ever made by Adrienne Shelly, who was murdered last week - wtf? - in Brooklyn. She'd dropped off the radar screen in recent years, but was fabulous in those early Hal Hartley films.)"

So, there you have it. I'll definitely be there Sunday, after "Babel" and before "Prime Suspect: The Final Act." Busy day!

NBC's 'Studio 60' gets full season

TV Guide's Michael Ausiello landed the good-news scoop that NBC's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" has received a back-nine order from NBC, meaning it will run for at least a full season of 22 episodes. Huzzah!

Speculation is ripe that the show will be moved from its 10 p.m. Monday slot soon, where it has failed to retain many of the viewers who tune in for "Heroes" at 9.

In other semigood pickup news, the CW has ordered three additional scripts of "Veronica Mars." This show is at its peak in its third season, so given the generic crap that rules the airwaves on the CW, I really can't see this great show not getting another full season and more.

Weinsteins woo Wong

It seems the Weinsteins may put out at least one good post-Miramax movie after all.

The Weinstein Co. has bought all U.S. rights to Kar Wai Wong's "My Blueberry Nights," his first full English-language production. The crazy road movie centers on singer Norah Jones, who travels across the U.S. searching for answers about love and finding comedic adventures along the way. The rather impressive ensemble cast of beautiful people also includes Jude Law, David Strathairn, Rachel Weisz and Natalie Portman.

That premise sounds just dreadful, but I love the Wong flicks I've managed to see so far, especially "Chungking Express." They seem to exist in a permanent dream state, and it's a beautiful place to visit. Here's hoping this one works too.

Transformers featurette

And now, for everyone who's made it this far, a treat (and yet another chance for me to play around with Youtube!) Here, from "The Transformers - The Movie (20th Anniversary Special Edition)" DVD, is a teaser/featurette showing some footage from filming of Michael Bay's "Transformers" movie due next summer.

As always, feel free to respond with any nasty comments about Michael Bay that cross your mind, or with anything else you might want to say. Peace out.


Anonymous said...

I don't know about Veronica being the best season so far--it feels kinda dumbed down this season, but its still better than almost everything on TV.
I miss the class / social strata conflict from the previous seasons. Plus, why hasn't Logan been all, "Dude, doesn't it suck that my dad died?"
Still any show that references both Battlestar Galactica and The Big Lebowski is aces in my book.
Oh, one thing I do really like about this season is Veronica's insecurities shinin' through, and how she uses her special talents to indulge said insecurities.
Isn't it creepy that Mac is the chick from Waterworld and Corrina, Corrina?

Reel Fanatic said...

If there's one thing that would make this season even better for me, Jeremy, it would be more Mac .. and for that matter, more Weevil too

Chris said...

I haven't seen the other two seasons of "Mars," but I got into it this season. I keep hearing how it's not as good or even sucks, and I just don't understand. I've loved it so far.

Reel Fanatic said...

I've never met anyone who's seen Veronica Mars and doesn't love it, Chris ... I highly recommend renting the first two seasons on DVD, because it's been great right from episode one

Divinity said...

Yay, Studio 60!

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Clay McClane said...

I'll agree with Jeremy that this season isn't the strongest for 'VM' (though it's hard to live up to that first season). Still, it's nice to see CW is ordering more scripts instead of killing the show, the way TV does to everything that's too beautiful for this world.

Also, I DIDN'T come to your site looking for ways to earn money, but any pointers would be most appreciated.

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Reel Fanatic said...

I wish the news was that they were buying a whole season rather than just three more scripts, Craig, but I guess we should take what we can get!

Anonymous said...

first time here and quite an interesting blog to hang out being that I am into filming as well. Hmmm i am looking forward for that transformers movie,

Reel Fanatic said...

Even if turns out to suck, Charles, it's gonna be one of those glorious train wrecks that are still a joy to behold

Anonymous said...

I love his aside, "you have to be a big kid in this business" or some shit like that.

What he meant is you have to be a commecial-making, glossy hack who grows up in LA, goes to all the right private schools, kisses ass his whole life, definitely has talent (ARMAGEDDON is actually a fave of mine - watched it at least 3 times por and his producing career is brilliant) and then you get to become not a kid, but a spoiled teenager who's given zillions of studio mullah to play with bec. they have even less of a clue.

Work it Michael. This will prob. be a good one given the three off one on rule since PEARL HARBOR. I'm in for now.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm in for now too, Lewis, but in so many ways, we certainly don't need another Pearl Harbor!