Saturday, February 02, 2008

He Came, He Saw, He Got Out of Here

It was a less than chatty Tommy Lee Jones who walked the red carpet in front of the Arlington last night.

Jones was here to attend the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and receive the American Riviera Award.

I was the next to last person on the press line to get the opportunity to talk to Jones before he entered the theater. One of the questions I asked him was if there were any directors who he hadn't yet worked with that he would like to work with.

"Any director," was Jones' reply. "I want to work."

He said it in such a way that I got the feeling that placing a want ad for "actor in search of role" was high on his "to do" list.

I didn't have the heart to tell him that the News-Press had recently doubled its classified advertising rates.

Inside the Arlington and on the stage Jones seemed to glance at his watch several times during the tribute. You would of thought that the Rolls Royce that pulled up to the curb and let him out was double parked.

However when the interviewer could draw him out on a topic he was riveting.

Also got a chance to talk with Andy Davis, who directed Jones in his Oscar winning role for best supporting actor in The Fugitive. Davis was there to present the award to Jones.

I asked Davis that in light of the fact that he had successfully made a movie out of one old TV series did he have any other TV shows that he wanted to turn into feature length films.

He said he wanted to make a movie based on "Paladin" who of course was the character played by Richard Boone in the old TV western "Have Gun, Will Travel."

I asked him who he had in mind for the role of Paladin. He immediately replied "Tommy Lee Jones."

More pictures from last night's event posted at Edhat.

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On the last Saturday of the Film Fest, the question of the day will be "how crazy will the red carpet scene be outside the Arlington Theater tonight?"

That's because Angelina Jolie will be here to receive the Outstanding Performance of the Year Award and the word is that Brad Pitt will be here with her.

Carol Marshall's publicity staff has been snowed with requests from media to cover the event.

Complicating matters is that Jolie's people have placed some fairly strict conditions on her appearance here. The number of still photographers allowed into the Arlington Theater during the tribute (as opposed to the the red carpet press area as I originally reported) will be limited. As in, the low single digits. The only TV interviews that she will grant will be with local broadcast outlets.

Despite that last restriction Entertainment Tonight is sending Leonard Maltin up here with a crew in hopes that Jolie will change her mind. It's sweeps month for TV broadcasters and ET would sure like to go home with a Jolie exclusive to bump up those ratings numbers.

My prediction as to who is most likely to get an interview on video with Jolie, Santa Barbara Middle School's Teen Press.

* * *

Friday morning I was part of the smallest audience I have yet witnessed at this year's film fest. There were only a dozen or so of us in at the Lobero for the Animated Shorts Program.

The only short that I thought was both original and well done was "I Met The Walrus." The film recalls how a teenager, snuck into John Lennon's Toronto hotel room and got a taped interview with him. If it happened today I'll bet that the kid would have been a blogger.

Of the films I have personally seen this film fest, here are my favorites:

The Counterfeiters

One Bad Cat, The Reverend Albert Wagner Story

The Fixer

I can't get out to see all of the films. But one that I've heard a lot of good buzz about is Bustin Down The Door. Dave Oettinger sent me this review, which I believe makes him an official "stringer" for Craig Smith's Blog.

Hollywood has a hard time getting the sport of surfing right. Ask anyone who REALLY surfs about most surf movies, other than BIG Wednesday of course (one of my all time favorites) and they will use words like, lame, fake, duh. If there was ever a genuine movie about the true essence of modern surfing and how it evolved, this is it. I would say Shaun Thompson’s descriptions of the film being heart felt nailed it.

The movie takes you though the story of a handful of surfers who are now icons of the sport. Narrated by Edward Norton Jr, and the surfers themselves, it goes from their beginnings and how they got into the sport to how life was growing up very quickly for them. Some of it pretty emotional stuff makes you realize how lucky some of us are. Then onto the surfing: Some classic footage from the old school bikini’s to the single fin shredding, to the wipeouts. Vintage 70’s when the competitive side of the sport really took off. There is a great message of humility, understanding and redemption in this film. Also if you like Hawaii you will love this movie. I would say it is a must see for surfers and a great view for the non surfers. It will give you great insight in to the sport and its psyche, then and now, with interviews from many of the current top professionals in the sport.

The movie winds up in the present day with the legends/icons paddling out for a session at Rocky Point I believe (Hawaii) showing that they are still good friends. The last part of the movie shows a poem written by Thompson’s late son with some classic George Greenough type filming from the tube footage and gives a message of how ever bad you feel, and whatever is going on in you life, surfing always makes you feel better. Truer words were never spoken.

* * *

My film fest suggestions for Saturday.

10:30AM Center Stage A Plumm Summer

11:00AM Metro Four Body of War

11:15AM Metro Four Still Waters

1:30PM Metro Four A Mighty Heart

4:00PM Center Stage Disfigured

4:30PM Metro Four The Debt

4:30PM Lobero The Pixar Story

8:00PM Arlington Outstanding Performance of the Year Award

* * *

Caught by the TV camera sitting in the audience at the Kodak Theater for the Clinton/Obama debate the other night, film critic Jeffrey Wells, taking a day off, from his week plus visit here for the film fest. Wells was seated right behind Rob Reiner.

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