Sunday, December 11, 2005

Deep Throat, The Guide and Cinderella Man

Sure I'm chasing some cheap web counter hits by using "Deep Throat" in the title of this post, but what the hell, I'm a whore (I work in the film business don't I?) I'll take readers anywhere I can get them.

In fact what this is about is I've gone on a film watching binge - well a binge for me. In the last few days I've watched:

Inside Deep Throat
The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy
Cinderella Man
Sin City

Now of course I'm a little behind in this as all these films have been out for a while, but having a child at home limits my theater going. Besides, I'm just doing what all those studio chiefs have been accusing the audience of for the last few years.

Now, you may notice that two of the films on the list are connected, if you're as big a film geek as I am, in that both "Inside Deep Throat" and "Cinderella Man" were produced by Brian Grazer - a man I have a lot of respect for, for two reasons. One is because he has an incredible body of work and two because he works with Ron Howard who I think is really one of the master filmmakers of our day. (Full Disclosure: As a fresh college graduate a friend's father introduced me to Ron Howard who invited me to his home for a chat. He was extraordinarily gracious and nice to me offering me sage advice and encouragement.) And I guess a third reason would be that there is the slimest chance (something like 1 in 1,000,000,000,000 that he might read this and be so flattered that he offers me a job.

Anyway, I have mixed feelings about one of those films. "Inside Deep Throat" was one I have been looking forward to seeing. I'd heard a lot about it and have been fascinated with the story of that film for a long time. Overall I liked it, but I felt it was flawed in that it lost the essential storyline - and a lot of it's heart - in the effort to point out how really God awfully bad censorship is. Now, while there is ample reason to dislike censorship in all it's forms, it's been done before. In fact, it's in danger of being done to death. (Full Disclosure: Done to Death was the title of play I performed in during my senior year of high school. I played the part of Stage Manager.) To me the fascinating part of that story was not that society got it's metaphorical panties all in a knot over this fellatial film, but the people involved in the film itself. Who they were, what they were doing and why they were doing it is the amazing aspect of the story itself. The film touches on this and skims over each of the main players, especially Linda Lovelace and her insistence that she was forced to do the film, but it never gets very deep. It also touches very briefly on the Mafia involvement but then kind of glosses over it on it's way to "fellatio film, groundbreaking/ censorship bad. Ah well.

"Cinderella Man," on the other hand, was spectacular. It's funny because I'm not a very big fan of either Russell Crowe or Rene Zelwigger (I could look it up and see if I'm spelling that correctly but I'm not going to,) and yet I thought they were excellent in this film. I also liked Paul Giamatti but I like him anyway. It was a wonderful story, wonderfully put together.

According to The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy adapting novels to feature films is an extraordinarily dangerous business that should not be attempted except by pan-dimensional beings capable of visualizing four separate realities at once. In fact, there has only really ever been one successful adaptation of a novel to feature films. It was produced by a multi-dimensional film producer in the Crab Nebula named Thorgrat Hosselwarbler who managed a passable adaptation of The Great Golgon Brain Wave Trilogy. It was 14 Million hours long and has never been successfully reviewed due to the fact that no film critic has been able to sit through it and also because Thorgrat Hosselwarbler hired rabid multi-dimensional Mungus Wolves to sit in the lobby and eat anyone who came out before the credits rolled. As the film is still running...

Anyway... The Hitch Hiker's Guide was lame.

I was VASTLY disappointed in this film and I think it is a perfect example of why it's important to hire directors who know what they're doing (or at least understand that a feature film is not a collection of little scenes spliced together to make one really long, and really cool experimental film.) There were so many problems with this film that came down to directorial misconduct (to coin a phrase) I don't even know where to start. I was a huge fan of this novel as a kid and realize that as written it would be extremely difficult to turn into a single feature film, but the film that was made was so disjointed and plodding (in fact I think the overall pace of the film succeeded in slaughtering whatever comedy it may have contained) that the brilliance of the novel never had a chance to come out.

Anyway, that's the post for today.