Movie Night Flight Double Feature

Just got back from San Diego on what is hopefully the last trip for this particular project. It would be one thing if we had time to see the cities we visit (short of making a special exception, as I did with Omaha), but here we flew out Tuesday afternoon/evening, missed our exit from I-5 (ending up well on our way to Los Angeles), and finally checked into the hotel at about 11 p.m. local time (2 a.m. East Coast time). Then it was up for an 8 a.m. interview, and straight to the airport for the return flight; I finally got home about 10:00 last night.

I cannot sleep on airplanes, no matter how tired I am. Not a chance. So I’m left to amuse myself or rely on in-flight entertainment options — which this time included Mr. 3000 and Taxi, neither of which particularly interested me (though I did notice that Patton had a cameo in the latter).

So (after finishing Robert Rodriguez’s book Rebel Without a Crew and making good headway into Digital Filmmaking 101), I was left to my own devices.

My first choice — westbound — was The Big Lebowski. I’d seen it some time before, but I had almost completely forgotten how hilarious this movie was. No, it’s not lowbrow, laugh-out-loud comedy (though it comes close a couple of times), but just a prime example of how phenomenally insightful writing and astounding acting can combine to create one of the most memorably quirky — but still credible — character comedies of the last decade.

Coming back, I opted to finally see The Battle of Shaker Heights — a.k.a. the second Project Greenlight movie. After seeing the show, I was expecting an absolute disaster — in fact, I only bought the movie as packaged with the show’s DVD set. But I was absolutely shocked to find a fun, funny, and dare I say it, good movie here. It’s clear to see (after watching the show) what was cut out, and some of the shortcuts taken to cover the holes (including at least one instance of looped dialogue over already-seen footage in the grocery store), but it would appear that all such cuts were to the benefit of the final product — and the 78-minute running time is a testament to just how much was cut out. Great performances, cinematography, directorial timing. Worth seeing even if you didn’t watch the HBO series; much better than Stolen Summer, at least in my opinion.

Well, back to work, now...


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