Party’s Over

The industry-media mob began leaving the Toronto Film Festival on Tuesday, and they really took off yesterday. You could almost hear a pin drop in the main upstairs lobby of the Scotiabank plex on Richmond and John. I’ve got an 11 am screening of Jay and Mark Duplass’s Jeff Who Lives At Home at the Elgin, a film yet to be chosen in the early to mid afternoon at the Scotiaplex, and then Jeff NicholsTake Shelter at the Ryerson at 6 pm.

I regret reporting that I had dealings yesterday with two mentally challenged Toronto Film Festival volunteers.

(1) I asked a female Scotiaplex lobby volunteer how much the media-industry attendance had dropped since the previous day (the absence of bodies was quite noticable) and she said that it was pretty much the same as last weekend and that nothing had changed. I looked at her, smiled and said, “Okay, thanks”…but she was clearly short a couple of cards in the deck.

(2) Then I went into a dark theatre and stood at the side looking at the audience, and a flashlight-beaming volunteer said, “Can I help you?” I’m cool, I said in a half-whisper. Just let my eyes adjust to the dark. The volunteer said, “I can’t have you standing here, sir…you’ll have to find a seat.” Will you hold on?…I’m waiting for my eyes to adjust. He started in again: “Sir? I’m sorry, sir…” Jesus, get away from me, you little rodent! To which he replied, “Excuse me?” If I was Lee Marvin and this was Donovan’s Reef, I could have dropped him with my rifle butt…but I had to ignore him.

36 thoughts on “Party’s Over

  1. warhol_fan on said:

    While I regret your unsatisfactory encounters (which, to be fair, are more misdemeanours than crimes), I would hate for any reader to think that these represent the universal experience of festival goers. There are loons afoot, some with a sense of entitlement rivalling that of a trader at Goldman, Sachs. And I don’t mean you, sir, I refer to passholders who believe that the purchase of a ticket is the equivalent of a production credit on the film that they are going to see. In every film I’ve attended, the audience responds with warm applause to the ‘thank you, volunteers’ clip that precedes each film. Too bad that it’s such a silly, shoddy ‘tribute’.

  2. Jeff, please, write a book. This stuff is too good. It could be the Adventures in the Screen Trade for film commentators – a book on how film critiquing, yes, but also about the experiences of critics in the film world, just as Goldman’s book was about so much more than just “screenwriting.”

    Chapter 1 – Festival Goons and Low Thread-count Defectives

    Chapter 2 – Mandals and the Decline of Western Civilization

    Chapter 3 – My Scooter and the Ripped Pants Incident

    Chapter 4 – How The King’s Speech Ruined My Life

    And on and on…Seriously, you need to do this.

  3. Jesus, these people volunteer their time and without them the festival wouldn’t exist. Yet somehow you, someone who gets paid to watch movies, feel it’s OK to diss them on the internet for doing their job.

    At least you were polite to the first one, asshole.

    Wells to a_loco: See my response to RJ.

  4. Is it so far outside of the realm of possibility that the guy in your second scenario is just trying to maintain a theater policy that he, himself, did not create but is nevertheless tasked with enforcing? Maybe it’s a fire code violation? I dunno.

    I’ve worked at a movie theater so I have no sympathy for smug, entitled pieces of shit who think it’s OK to treat the people who work and run places like this so poorly.

    Wells to RJ: I’m sorry, but that volunteer was an obnoxious little idiot. Most of the time there’s enough light coming off the screen to see where the empty seats are. But during our brief chat, there wasn’t. A very dark nighttime scene was being projected, and it was all but impossible to see the seats in the theatre, particularly for someone who had just come into the theatre and whose eyes were adjusting to the next-to-nonexistent light levels.

    If that volunteer had the basic common sense that God gave to geese, dogs and donkeys, he would have realized this and simply chilled until the movie shifted into a brightly lit scene or until my eyes could adjust. A waiting period of maybe ten or fifteen or (God forbid!) twenty seconds. But no — he had to enforce the letter of the law immediately. Without regard to conditions or circumstance. While I was standing in a side approach area next to Mr. Volunteer and blocking absolutely nothing.

    Which is why I’m describing him right now as an idiot, and why I hissed at him and called him a rodent during the altercation in question.

  5. Wow. I didn’t think I would set off such a burst of creativity.

    But I also feel bad that the train ended up getting two people banned for life. Yikes.

    And I’m 100% serious, Jeff. Definite book. I’ll even ghostwrite it for you.

  6. okay, i’ll risk it:

    Chapter 23: Banned for life

    (now watch as i get banned for life and this becomes the most meta comment ever)

  7. I believe I saw Jeff pitching Michael Shannon to play him in this American Splendor-like adaptation of this book at the Sony Classics dinner… I tried to get a picture of this conversation but my Droid is a bitch that takes too long to switch on.

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