Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cameron Crowe, Judd Apatow and Hal Ashby

Ben forced me to watch the trailer for Cameron Crowe's new film Aloha - something clicked about it with me, MAD, and ultimately the type of film I'm making.  As we continue to push forward with the first cut of MAD, it's snuck up on me that I'm making a very humanist, adult film, a lot like the type Cameron Crowe or Hal Ashby have ushered into the world and put their stamp on.  Maybe not in style, or form, but MAD is basically a rougher-around-the-edges, bawdier version of those films emotionally - it has a bleeding heart, verbosity, and an unshakable empathy for it's deeply flawed cast of characters going through real shit.  I mean, from the outset I really just wanted to make a more emotional, darker, low-rent version of an Apatow dramedy, but it's funny how your own voice will subconsciously take you careening in unforeseen directions, and how that voice is tailored to tastes you never quite realized you favored.

But really though, watch that trailer.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

"Big Laughs at Sundance..."

... is a phrase my editor and I came up with one day while watching an indie comedy, and it has been purposed into our everyday movie-watching experience.  There is a very certain type of joke, or even tone, that some indie films convey where they feign comedy.  The joke itself isn't particularly funny, nor is it cast out into the world with any real conviction or finesse.  It's not actually funny.  It's festival funny.

I write this absolutely, 100% understanding that I've made short film comedies that have played festivals, and may even have received the benefit of this phenomenon.

Often times, one can argue these tiny bits of "comedy" are observational, or subtle... but more than likely, it's just tired, toothless, or unformed.  Of course, these moments will get big laughs at a festival(where no one wants to be the idiot to not get the joke(where, also, there is a dearth of comedy)) but when thrust upon a mainstream paying audience... crickets.

Not only have I read reviews of films written after one of these festival screenings, claiming "hysterically funny," only to be dumbfounded, I've also seen it first hand.  I guess you can say that at this point I've been around the block a few times, and I've seen my fair share of festival comedies, indulged in the not-the-idiot-that-doesn't-get-the-joke demeanor(without realizing I guess), and then go and watch the same film months later to find it way less funny, with an audience that agrees.

I find this endlessly fascinating.  So much so that I study it, and have devoted a whole blog post to deciphering my feelings on it.  Even more fascinating, an entire generation of filmmakers have hung their hat on, and made careers out of this phenomenon.

I really really hope I make a movie that can manage that crossover from festival funny to actually funny someday.  I guess it would be better to hope I get that chance.

Maybe I'll revisit this post at a later time with updated thoughts?

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