Let me first send a hearty congratulations to Todd Rohal for winning the Best Feature at the 2006 Arizona International Film Festival! It's nice to see that someone in this bland, uninspired, pathetic country of ours has good taste. How THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE hasn't found theatrical distribution yet saddens and baffles me. Which has to do with tonight's topic of discussion. But first...
Do you remember a few months ago when I posted the link to a trailer for the Joan Plowright vehicle MRS. PALFREY AT THE CLAREMONT? And how I mentioned that Todd and I were going to reconvene at Landmark's Bethesda Row theatre to experience the entire film when it was finally released? Cut to 7pm earlier tonight, as Mr. Rohal and I descended the escalator and walked into the theatre showing the aforementioned picture. Truth be told, we'd bought tickets for another film, but we had to sneak into MRS. PALFREY for a few minutes to bring our lives full circle. Wow. Technically, I think we were only in the theatre for six or seven minutes, yet when we escaped it felt like it had been sixty or seventy. Talk about nothing happening. It was almost so slow that it was kind of brilliant. Yet not brilliant enough to keep us from attending the movie we'd bought tickets for.
Ladies and gentlemen, there are very few films in this world that could cause me to say, "I should've seen MRS. PALFREY AT THE CLAREMONT," without any hint of irony, and tonight, I saw one of those unfortunate few. Get ready, because this might be sort of venomous...
Shame On You:
David Slade (director), Brian Nelson (screenwriter), and the producers of HARD CANDY. Checking Mr. Slade's resume on the imdb, I see that his background includes directing videos for Stone Temple Pilots. Of course it does. Shame on you for making a pointless, juvenile, immature, preposterous, shameful piece of foul, moist shit that doesn't deserve to be shown on Cinemax 14 at three o'clock on a Tuesday morning. Shame on you for contributing absolutely nothing to cinema, not even schlocky entertainment. I tried my best to laugh at your film and justify my wasted money and time, but I couldn't do that either. Fuck you all.
Shame On You:
The Sundance Film Festival, for world premiering this pile of rancid manure and choosing it over countless other films that were borne out of love and passion and sincerity. I find it hard to respect you more and more every year, and seeing something like this nearly pushes me over the edge. I respect Mr. Redford and his agenda, but like the American government, that agenda has firmly derailed and all of its soul, spirit, and validity has disappeared with it.
Shame On You:
Lionsgate, for buying and distributing this insidiously hateful waste of celluloid. Shame on you for releasing SAW 2 (I can forgive SAW, because that was so awful that it was brilliant), and shame on you for releasing HOSTEL, which is only a few minor degrees above HARD CANDY on the worthless and disgusting scale. You aren't buying and distributing films. You are buying and distributing concepts. You are helping to destroy our world. And don't get me wrong, I'm not a hippy, I understand that this is all about money, and I commend your business acumen, but I am still terrified of what you are doing, and I pray that humanity is smart enough to completely disregard your putrid offerings.
Shame On You:
Landmark Theatres, for choosing this as one of the "artistic, independent" films to play on your screens. The double-whammy of MRS. PALFREY and HARD CANDY has left me reeling. If this is what people want to see, that's fine, but I am still holding out some delusional hope that people aren't this stupid. I think that they really do want to see good films. And this is what you're giving us? Shame on you!
Shame On Todd and myself for watching HARD CANDY until the last credit had rolled (though that only happened because of the Blonde Redhead song that accompanied the credits).
Afterwards, we were standing in the parking garage trying to grasp the absolute shock of realizing just how out of touch we are with "the world" (whatever that is), and there it was, sitting in a cardboard box in the backseat of his car: the only 35mm print of THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE. While we were sitting inside the movie theatre, watching one of the most morally reprehensible films I have ever seen in my life, Todd's inventive, touching, and beautiful film sat lonely and ignored in a cardboard box in a parking garage, waiting to be threaded into a projector to serve its humble, spirited purpose.
That makes me want to cry.