My fellow jurors and I selected our short film winners yesterday, but I can not share any results until the award ceremony next weekend. You likely wouldn't know any of the titles anyway, but I can pretty much guarantee you will see the filmmakers' names again in the coming years -- some big talents in the mix. There's a party every night here, and I've been having a blast. One of my favorite past-times has been playing a game I call "Hooker/Not a Hooker." Pretty self-explanatory, basically you try to decide which gals are on the payroll, and which aren't. Here's a hint: If she's gorgeous, 22- years-old and hanging off the arm of a 400-pound dude with a combover ... she's available.
I checked out Get Smart yesterday, at an event for The Rock, excuse me, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, excuse me, Dwayne Johnson's charity. Johnson introduced the film and told the audience that "Steve Carell has very soft lips," which made a lot more sense once we watched the flick. For the most part, I agree with Eric's review. It was no masterpiece, but it was just funny and entertaining enough to have been worth the time. Steve Carell can elevate just about anything, and Alan Arkin was hilarious. Now that I've got more free time, I hope to pry myself away from the video poker (currently $45 in the red) and the pool (my skin is also "in the red") and check out some of the more indie-leaning films screening here. Abel Ferrara's Go-Go Tales screens tonight, and I don't think I can pass up that title. Right now there's yet another two-hour "happy hour" starting, so ah...talk to you later!
Somehow, I have remembered to take photos on my vice-filled journey through the CineVegas Film Festival, and while a lot of them didn't come out as I planned, you can see a couple (along with a bunch from Getty Images) in the gallery below. You'll find shots of the parties, of the fest in motion, of fire-breathers in bikinis, of naked women covered in paint (ahem, see above), of singing sensation Bijou Phillips, and even a candid shot of the world beer pong champion (I think you'll be able to figure out which one that is). Wish you were here!
I'm coming to you live from the tenth annual CineVegas Film Festival in the fabulous Palms Casino and Resort. Yes, that's the very same hotel where the Real World Vegas clan turned a hot tub into a simmering cauldron of gonorrhea. Thankfully, I'm staying in a different suite. I arrived late Friday night, was also fortunate enough to attend the now legendary Britney Spears party, and woke up yesterday with a crippling hangover.
The fest is sponsored by Grey Goose, and to quote the greatest songwriter/pants-wetter of our day, Fergie, Grey Goose got this girl feeling loose! I can't seem to turn around without being handed a cocktail. I can certainly see why Nicolas Cage had such a problem with alcohol in that movie about leaving Las Vegas ... strangely, its title escapes me right now.
Hey! It's your old friend Patrick Walsh! Remember me? I used to run a writing column here with the ingenious title "The Write Stuff?" (Check out all 25 previous posts here.) I answered your screenwriting questions, offered advice, and conducted interviews with film and television writers? I look like Brad Pitt, but with better abs? There you go. You remember. Anyhoo, when last we spoke I had been staffed on the FX comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and I'm still there. It's a dream job, and I intend to share my experiences on the show with you closer to the season premiere in September. But for now I want to tell you about a great way for you (yes, you!) to break in to the big time: NBC's Writers on the Verge program.
If this seems like a shameless advertisement, know that it's only because I myself am a graduate of the program and I absolutely loved it. I am NOT doing this because I am receiving money from anyone at NBC. (Though Lord knows if NBC would like to give me some money, I will gladly accept it. You hear me, Zucker? GLADLY.)
Now then. You've got questions. I've got answers.
The Foot Fist Way premiered at Sundance in 2006. I got my hands on a copy about a year ago, and wondered why it never got a big cross-country release. I knew it was a hit among big-time comedy folk (your Stillers, your Apatows, your Oswalts), and I started to figure that maybe they just wanted to keep it to themselves. But with a big push from Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, Foot Fist has found its way into theaters. Shot independently over nineteen days for little money in North Carolina, the film is a character study about a character you'd never want to meet -- Fred Simmons.
Danny McBride plays Simmons, an unbalanced children's Tae Kwon Do instructor who goes completely off the rails when his wife (the very funny Mary Jane Bostic) cheats on him. Fred is obsessed with karate master and low-budget film star Chuck "The Truck" Wallace (Ben Best), and tries to focus his energies on bringing his hero to the school. That's about it for a plot, much of the film consists of quasi-connected short scenes and moments that feel quite a bit like sketches. A genuinely hilarious scene early on involving an elderly woman, for example, is a self-contained jewel (I actually choked on soda watching it), and would be an internet sensation if this film had never existed.
The juxtaposition of a deranged man and young children is a comedy staple going back (at least) to W.C. Fields, but since this is an indie flick, things go darker than you might expect. Simmons is not a likable man, not at all really, and McBride's resistance to give him a big heart makes him feel a lot more authentic than a lot of the "heroes" in major studio comedies today. Sometimes a dick is just a dick.