By Other Voices



Jack Goes Boating isPhillip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut adapted to the screen by Bob Glaudini from his play. It’s a foray into the ordinary- every-day-people- find- true-love genre personified by the Oscar classic, Marty. Hoffman and his superb cast do a wonderful job with it by conveying the obsessive craziness that even “little” people are capable of when they’re in love.

Hesher is another impressive surprising piece of work in a well-worn indie vein. A mysterious anarchic stranger appears to upset all decorum and to teach the timid the gospel of carpe diem. The prototype is Ruth Gordon’s Maude in Harold and Maude. James Spader’s interloper in Sex, Lies, and Videotape is the darker Ibsenesque variant. Here it is the wonderful Joseph Gordon Leavitt in the title role, channelling both his inner Brando and his inner Keanu Reeves, with his shirt off, a lot his tattoos on display, and a haircut shouting, “Jesus!”

The secret trick of Hesher is that the movie is not at all about this entertaining character Levitt plays. It’s about the ten-year-old boy, furious with grief, whose life he invades. It is told from this boy’s pov. Writer directorSpencer Susser takes many cool left turns and gets a career best supporting performance by Natalie Portman.

The best most powerful American indie I’ve seen so far is Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone, a tale of murderous family loyalties among meth-manufactuerers.

In the most economically deprived region of the Ozarks in Missouri, Ms. Granik channels her inner John Ford and Sam Peckinpah and suggests that more women are ready to enter narrative preserves where men used to have sole occupancy.

I have no idea who Chris Morris is and I’m not sure if in so-called real life I want to. His Four Lions, a political satire about an Islamic terrorist cell in London, is brilliant, scary and sick fuck funny. Here he radicalized the method of Sacha Baron Cohen and The Coens with the merciless logic of Kubrick in the days of Strangelove.

Whatever else is true, Morris has a vision and he takes no prisoners.

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Larry Gross is a 25 year screenwriting veteran and Winner of Sundance’s Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for his most recent release, We Don’t Live Here Anymore.

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“I think [technology has[ its made my life faster, it’s made the ability to succeed easier. But has that made my life better? Is it better now than it was in the eighties or seventies? I don’t think we are happier. Maybe because I’m 55, I really am asking these questions… I really want to do meaningful things! This is also the time that I really want to focus on directing. I think that I will act less and less. I’ve been doing it for 52 years. It’s a long time to do one thing and I feel like there are a lot of stories that I got out of my system that I don’t need to tell anymore. I don’t need to ever do The Accused again! That is never going to happen again! You hit these milestones as an actor, and then you say, ‘Now what? Now what do I have to say?'”
~ Jodie Foster

“If there’s one rule Hollywood has metaphysically proven in its century of experimentation, it’s that there’s no amount of money you can’t squander in the quest for hits.

“Netflix has spent the past couple years attempting to brute-force jailbreak this law. Its counter-theory has seemed to be, sure, a billion dollars doesn’t guarantee quality but how about three billion dollars? How about five billion dollars? Seven?

“This week’s latest cinematic opus to run across no-man’s-land into the machine-gun emplacements has been the Jared Leto yakuza movie ‘The Outsider.’ Once again, debuting on Netflix, another thing called a movie that at one glance doesn’t look like any kind of movie anyone has ever seen before, outside of off-prime time screenings at the AFM.

“If you’re working at a normal studio, you have one or two of these total misfires in a year and people start calling for your head. How many is Netflix going on? Fifteen? Twenty? This quarter? Any normal company would be getting murdered over results like that.”
~ Richard Rushfield