I just got back from another screening in Jeff Goldsmith's screening series here in LA. I feel like I'm a bit of a stalker. I see him at these series and then I see him at Sundance and most recently at the gas station. He must think I'm insane. I think he's embarrassingly smart about movies - that's my embarrassment btw.
It's ridiculous how little I know about the history of film. I am trying to improve - I am trying to not fill my brain with only schlocky studio crap but it's so hard to pull myself away sometimes and watch what is good for me. I know Jeff's stuff is good for me so I want to give him some props here.
Jeff is a former editor of Creative Screenwriting and now publishes Backstory Magazine. He hosts a very popular podcast: The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith. After each film he screens, he hosts and records a Q&A with the writer. He then posts it as a podcast for everyone to hear. It's very cool and super interesting. And the screenings are free, open to the public once you join his site, and he screens some great films.
Tonight we saw Justin Zackham's new film The Big Wedding. It's a big ass rom com with a ridiculously talented cast. Yes, during the Q&A Justin did discuss how he got the cast - with LUCK being the operative word. I'm sure it helped that he wrote The Bucket List - maybe a little.
The opening weekend for The Big Wedding was a bit painful - some called it a bomb - ouch - sorry Justin, that hurts to hear, I know. So I was curious to see what a "bomb" looked like these days. It actually didn't stink like a bomb. It was raunchy and funny a lot of the time. I laughed out loud in spots and that's not easy to do these days. You could tell a guy wrote it - who else would open a rom com with a cunnilingus scene? But I can appreciate that - truly.
Overall it was a fun romp and the cast, again, was ridiculously talented. Justin joked that with a cast like that, you're putting a bullseye on your back. And he's right. You kinda are. People roll their eyes at such a cast because it feels like a stunt - almost like the studio is loading the film with great actors because the script isn't all that great. But that actually wasn't the case here.
It was actually written to be a much smaller film - more of an indie if I dare say it. The budget was supposed to only be about $20 million (only I say..) but it ballooned to over $30 mill due to that amazingly talented cast. Did I say how amazing the cast is? I can get away with only listing last names (because they're so famous), right?
DeNiro, Keaton, Sarandon, Seyfried, Heigl, Grace & Williams - Did I forget anyone?
If it weren't for Jeff's screening series, I probably wouldn't have seen this film in the theater. The opening weekend reviews kind of killed it for me. But you know what? It's a fun film and I laughed - it's raunchy for a rom com, which was refreshing - and if you're a rom com junkie like me, why the hell not see it on the big screen?
So thanks Jeff for the enjoyable night and the great Q&A. Thanks Justin for making a funny movie and telling us your story. I really liked The Bucket List so I'm a fan. I didn't know you wrote that film until tonight. It might help in the marketing of The Big Wedding. You might want to mention that.
Oh and did I tell you, my readers? My husband and I write a wine blog too and we just won a scholarship to attend the wine bloggers conference. Yes, there is such a thing. British Columbia wine country here we come! I am aiming to do some filming there and I'll share some of the footage here on this blog. If you're so inclined to check out our wine blog, we'd love to have you: www.2hollywoodwinos.com - Where Hollywood Meets Wine. Yes, of course, even my wine blog features some movie stuff.
So long story short, if you live in LA, you should join Jeff Goldsmith's screening series: http://www.unlikely.com/screenings.html. They're great and you'll be cooler for it.
Oh and here's the trailer for The Big Wedding if you're interested - damn that cast is good: