Saturday, June 23, 2007

That Thing You Do

I owe some very nice people ... something. I don't really do reviews on this site.

I received an email asking if I wanted a free copy of THAT THING YOU DO. There were no strings attached. Just watch it. Write something about it if I felt like it.

How can I say no to free stuff?

Since this is a re-release and much of the draw to this DVD is the new EXTRAS and the extended cut I figured I'd go through all the content before posting. And that's where I found items that are actually applicable to this blog.

To screenwriting.

To filmmaking.

To collaboration at its best.

I have to warn you... The Extended Cut is pretty boring. (Luckily, the DVD provides BOTH the original theatrical cut, as well as the extended cut). It is long with scenes that really do not touch on anything other than giving minor character motivation and backstory (through dialogue). They are not bad scenes. They simply do not push the story forward, and thus, do not belong in the film.

How could you say this? These people gave you a free copy of their DVD.

Well, take a step back for a second and think about it.

That means the editor and director made GOOD choices when lopping off scenes that did not deal with the central premise of the story. In a time when extras on DVDs are expected as an additional bonus to the theatrical release, it is oftentimes easy to forget why scenes get cut out of movies in the first place.

Every "extended" cut should be WORSE than the theatrical cut. If they aren't someone didn't do their job getting the best possible cut to the viewing public.

And this is where the strength of both this movie and DVD lies.

THAT THING YOU DO was Tom Hank's directorial debut.

It is a fun movie that struggled due to a lack of genre expectation. I think it succeeds in a way I haven't seen from the hordes of 'bands coming to glory and falling apart' stories previously have. These stories tend to be overly nostalgic and overly dramatic, forgetting what it is that made these bands fun in the first place and trying to transfer that feeling to the screen. To this the movie was a success.

Secondly, actors that become directors tend to focus heavily on character to character interaction and generally forget that the director's job also includes the overall tone, attention to detail, and storytelling of the film as a whole, and not just moment to moment.

This DVD illustrates something very rare.

Tom Hanks made good DIRECTORIAL decisions on this movie.

And while it received fairly luke-warm reviews, the movie is actually able to capture the feel, tone, and vibe of a Beatles-esque type band coming up around that era.

If you are a big fan of Tom Hanks, I think this DVD is a must-have. It marks his debut into directing. Illustrates that he has potential as a future director (Hopefully, he tries directing more often (especially seeing as his looks are going.)) The behind the scenes footage, as well as comparing the Extended Cut Vs. the Theatrical Cut is also a great tool at analyzing the different toolsets that are needed from one filmmaking profession to the next.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

On the Karmic DL

Some things have come up. Things I'd really like to share. To talk about. To get out of my head and into the nether-void of the internet. Things that pertain to the struggle of the screenwriter, trying to get their first big break.

But, right now I just can't.

Really, I use this blog as a forum to gather my thoughts. To make them tangible. As much as I want to get them off my chest, at this point, I am keeping a low profile ... for karmic reasons. I am the most pessimistic optimist you will ever meet.

Things are going good. There's some potential with a few projects, but for me, personally, when there is a ray of sunshine, I am waiting for the thunderclouds to roll in and rain on my parade.

It makes me uneasy when things are up in the air. I dream big and I chase those dreams like Jason chases under-aged campers that have just lost their virginity. But the duration, length, money, time that needs to be invested to get anything off the ground as a screenwriter has me perpetually holding my breath, crossing my toes, rubbing my lucky rabbits foot, and performing a horde of other superstitious rituals in the hopes that nothing will get jinxed.

And talking about that which is yet to happen ... is very high on my list of ways to jinx everything.

So I'm letting these chicks hatch before I start counting them.

That said, I will share the inner workings of what is going on when the time comes. Afterall, success or failure, it doesn't really matter. This blog is about the journey.