FILM REVIEW: Where the Wild Things Aren’t

I had vaguely been following Beasts of the Southern Wild in the weeks leading up to its release, mostly with eyes half shut in resentment over twenty-nine-year-old first-time director Behn Zeitlin’s instant success. (“Hmpf.  Beginner’s luck.  Dude doesn’t even know how to spell his own name.”)  Following a gushing article by my Twitter friend Chris Lee in The Daily Beast, which forecasts an Oscar nom for Beasts, I was forced to book my second-favorite seat, C-26 in the handicapped section of the Arclight Hollywood.  My favorite seat, C-22, had already been nabbed.  That’s how popular this piece is for the indie film lover.

All articles about Beasts are the same: how Zeitlin made this on a shoe-string budget, yet it still has the look and feel of a much larger film; how he auditioned four thousand little girls for the lead, Hushpuppy, but finally settled on Quvenzhané Wallis because she wouldn’t throw a water bottle at him in the audition, and therefore had a strong moral compass; how Zeitlin had never even heard of Fox Searchlight before the bidding war erupted at Sundance this year and his Little Film That Could was scooped up by that specialty distributor.  So not only was I looking at a massive dose of beginner’s luck, it appears this purported wunderkind is some sort of naïve rube from New Orleans who not only can’t spell his own name, he’s just so gosh-darned pleased and dazzled by all the attention and accolades his little film is getting that…

Not so fast.  Cue needle screeching across record, please.

Sacha: Comedy Fuck Up for Make Benefit Glorious Studio of Paramount


by James Killough

I said on Monday that I would never see The Dictator, not even if I secured my favorite seat, C-22 in the handicapped section at the Arclight Hollywood, which is exactly where I saw it from last night.  I am allowed to go back on my word because my evil twin Andrew Sullivan flip-flopped about Obama last week, so now it’s all the rage.

Let me clarify, however: flip-flopping actually means something completely different to Gheys than changing your mind.  I assure you that I will never go to that point.  No, really.  Sullivan may engage in the gay version of flip-flopping to his heart’s content, but this total top’s sphincter remains puckered shut, never more so since seeing The Dictator.

Cult of Personality

It’s not easy for someone like me—a member of a spiritual group in which the devotees wear all white on ceremonial occasions, perform ablutions before meditation, touch our heads to the floor before a ritual meal and obey the Master of the Path without question—to sit through the first parts of Sound of My Voice, much less be interested in seeing it at all lest it make me squirm right out of my preferred movie theater seat, C22 in the handicapped section of Arclight Hollywood, the most legroom in the galaxy.

Granted, the secret Sufi handshake of my group isn’t as elaborate as the one in SOMV, but nor is it particularly secret.  A sort of cross between a bro handclasp and a kiss, it is elegant enough to be performed quickly on the street; it doesn’t even look like a secret handshake, more like the Middle-Eastern equivalent of a European air kiss, which is what it is: very Arabian Nights somehow, or how Crusaders in an esoteric brotherhood might have met or left each other in medieval Jerusalem.

Sad People in Love


by James Killough

As snarky as I tend to be in these pages, I do have a conscience.   I felt guilty about passing judgment on a film the other day without actually having seen it.  What I did was a bait-and-switch review, as Baker named it, by leading with how I would never want to see Beginners, but went to see Bridesmaids instead.  I said about Beginners, “It has chatty indie quirky feel-good Sundance Festival flick written all over it, which means I’m likely to hate it.”

I can't post yet another picture of Ewan McGregor. So I'll put in who I thought would have made a better lead in "Beginners." Michael Fassbender would have been perfect, too.

So I dragged my conscience-laden ass to the Arclight last night and, yeah, just as I thought, I pretty much hated Beginners.  If wanting to reach into my pocket, pull out my Blackberry and play World Series Poker for additional stimulus is an indication of how bored or annoyed I am, I stopped myself from reaching for it five times during the course of the film.