Old MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Screening Gotham: March 10-12, 2006


A few of this weekend’s worthwhile cinematic happenings around New York:
–Just as the ethos and logistics of horror filmmaking are famously friendly to independent filmmakers, the war genre is often perceived as the domain of explosives, costumes and other big-budget accessories out of indies’ reach. But Brooklyn filmmaker Ari Taub spent the last decade proving that perception wrong with The Fallen, opening this weekend at the Pioneer Theater. A meditative glimpse at World War II as seen through the eyes of American, German and Italian troops on the European front, The Fallen expertly navigates the war’s moral crises without stretching its no-budget premise beyond credulity or craft. Rather, Taub invests everything he has in story, and the labor of love pays off dramatically. In other words: Don’t expect Saving Private Ryan, but maybe something even better.
–The New York Underground Film Festival continues at Antholgy Film Archives this weekend with programs all day Saturday and Sunday. Chiefly interesting among these is Google Me This, featuring a couple dozen underground filmmakers and visual artists scavenging Google Video for the most bizarre, dismaying and generally obscure movies on the Web. Also of interest: the shorts program Happy Together, which includes NYC filmmaker Shiri Bar-On’s Making Me Happy and a somehow-enthralling documentary about a Swedish tax worker. On a weekend where filmgoing alternatives include Failure to Launch and The Shaggy Dog, trust me: Paying Tax is Sexy really is sexy.
–Check it out: Lionsgate rereleased Crash! And hey! Look over there! A swarm of locusts!

3 Responses to “Screening Gotham: March 10-12, 2006”

  1. Dave Bourla says:

    It’s truly amazing that a lame film like this with no plot gets this much attention.

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“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook