11:39 – I’m back at the theater for a Sunday full of film. It’s hard to imagine that today’s films could top yesterday’s, but we’ll see.
The first film I’ll be seeing is “Sing: The Hotel Café Tour Documentary.” According to the Nashville Film Festival program, the film is about some of the artists that have played at the famed Hotel Café in Los Angeles, and it looks at the role the Hotel Café has played in their burgeoning careers. This is one of those film I don’t know much about, but sounds like it’s going to be good. I’ll let you know.
Today’s schedule includes two documentaries and two narrative features. It’s kind of a light day, but I’ll be back on the five-films –a-day program tomorrow.
Time to go watch the film.
1:33 – Well, “Sing: The Hotel Café Tour Documentary” wasn’t quite what I thought it was going to be. The film simply documented the 2008 Hotel Café tour. I thought it was more than that.
Now don’t get me wrong. There was nothing wrong with the film. I just went in with a different expectation. That’s my fault, not the film’s.
Having said that, I only thought the film was good, not great. I had the great good fortunate a few years ago to see a film called “Ten out of Tennessee,” about a bunch of young, independent singer/songwriters from Nashville who got together to tour the nation. In that respect, “Sing: The Hotel Café Tour Documentary” and “Ten out of Tennessee” are similar.
However, I think the filmmakers of “Ten out of Tennessee” did a better job of endearing the audience to the artists in the film. We got to know about the artists both on stage and off. “Sing: The Hotel Tour Documentary” didn’t do as good of a job at making us really like and care about the artists. They documented what was going on with the tour, but the film lacked that same emotional connection I felt with “Ten out of Tennessee.”
I don’t want to be overly critical of the film because I liked it and thought it was good. However, it was somewhat average and run of the mill as far as tour documentaries go.
1:45 – One of the things about being at the film festival is that the food choices are very limited. The theater offers the usual popcorn, candy, and nachos, as well as hot dogs, pizza, and chicken wings. Actually, now that I write that out, it doesn’t seem quite so limited. But it’s a moot point. I left my money, credit cards, driver’s license, etc. at home. D’Oh! No food or drink for me today.
For a change, I have some time between films. It’s the perfect time to go over to the Green Hills Mall or one of the restaurants in the area to get something to eat. Unfortunately, no cash, no food. Why am I suddenly very hungry and thirsty?
As long as I have some time on my hands, let me talk about something I have noticed at this year’s festival. First, let me say that I’m not a prude and I don’t have a problem with a little cursing. God knows I’ve done a bit myself. However, I have noticed quite a bit of gratuitous f-bomb dropping in films at this year’s festival. Honestly, I don’t think it is anything new. Films in past years have contained one or more f-bombs. But this year, it seems to be everywhere.
I think I might be more sensitive to the word because I’m a little older than the target audience for many of these films. And in my day (that sounds really old), the f-bomb was reserved for special occasions. Most people didn’t just drop it into normal, everyday conversations. But today with the 20-something set, the word is used much more in the normal course of dialogue. Whereas before it was limited to times of extreme anger or celebration (or sex talk), today it is just another word that is dropped into every other sentence by a lot of people.
I don’t like this. Not because I think it’s wrong to use the word, but because I think the overuse of the word has watered it down. When you use a word so often, it loses its power and strength. And in my middle-aged mind, an f-bomb should have power and strength.
I know you didn’t read this to find out my opinion on f-bombs, so let’s get back to talking about films. The next movie I’ll be seeing is “Autumn Gold,” an Austrian film about five extraordinary athletes between the ages of 80 and 100 who are preparing for the 2009 track and field World Masters Championships in Lahti, Finland. Once I’ve seen the film, I’ll let you know what I think.
4:16 – “Autumn Gold” was a nice film. I wouldn’t say I was wild about it, but it was good. The film documented the training that five 80-100 year olds do in preparation for the European track and field Master Championships. It was interesting and even a little bit humorous, but the filmmaker dragged the movie out longer than it needed to be. Then when he got to the end and it was time for the actual competition, it felt like he rushed through it to get to the end of the film.
7:14 – I’m embarrassed to say it, but I didn’t understand “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” at all. I’d like to give you the summary of the film, but honestly it was so disjointed and unconnected that I’m not sure I can do it. The film involves a man (Boonmee) who is dying of kidney disease, some family members (it was never really clear who they were), an illegal Laotian manservant, Boonmee’s wife who died 19 years earlier but is at his home and everyone can see her, Boonmee’s son who disappeared 13 years earlier and now, after mating with a ghost monkey, has become a ghost monkey himself, and…well, you get the idea.
At least I know I wasn’t the only one who didn’t like/understand the film. Several people walked out. As I was leaving, a volunteer asked me if I liked the film and I said I didn’t understand it. A woman who was walking out behind me said, “You weren’t alone.”
The problem could be that I just don’t understand art. “Uncle Boonmee” won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, so maybe I’m just not sophisticated enough to understand. I guess it’s true. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
9:22 – My final movie of the day was “A Bag of Hammers.” It was a very funny, well done film. The plot revolves around Alan and Ben, two immature friends who earn their living by posing as valet parking attendants at funerals and then stealing the cars. When a 12-year old boy moves in next door and starts hanging around their house, the two guys have to choose between their current way of life and a more traditional lifestyle.
The film was directed and co-written by Brian Crano. He wrote a very inventive script and did an excellent job of putting the story together. Jake Sandvig (Alan), who co-wrote the film with Crano, and Jason Ritter (Ben) both did an excellent job. They were both quirky without being over the top. “A Bag of Hammers” was a very enjoyable film and watching it was a great way to wrap up the day.