Run Ragged

I’ve been saying to journalist pals that “if you don’t put your foot down and show some discipline in the face of all the Toronto Film Festival temptations” — junket interviews, dinners, parties, panels, lunches, pretty girls — “you can easily fill your days without seeing any films.” And they’ve all agreed to a man/woman…of course, easily!

I have my five or six stories per day quota to fill plus my usual evening social-political shenanigans (i.e., a couple of parties per night or a dinner and a party), and with that daily load I’ve been fitting in only two and 1/2 films per day. I used to be able to fit in at least three.

Earlier today I saw Sarah Polley‘s Take This Waltz (at 9:30 am) and Whit Stillman‘s Damsels in Distress (at 12:30 pm). I then retired to a Starbucks to bang out some stories before catching The Oranges at 4:30 or whenever. But I couldn’t get going right away and piddled around and eventually decided to blow off The Oranges. It’s now 5:05 pm and I have the Albert Nobbs dinner from 6 pm to 8:30 pm. I’ll try to post the Waltz/Damsel reviews later tonight. Maybe. No, definitely…if I’m not too whipped. I can work solid for about 12 hours but then I need to eat, drink and recharge.

I haven’t seen Nick Broomfield‘s Sarah Palin, You Betcha! or Roland Emmerich ‘s Anonymous or Fernando Meirelles 360 or Michael Winterbottom‘s Trishna. Four full viewing days left after tonight, and then back to NYC.

I saw The Raid yesterday afternoon and it was a total bum steer — a murky, grainy, blue-tinted bullshit Asian shoot-em-up macho chopsocky cheese-whiz movie. Me to critic friend: “Why would you, a bright sophisticated film guy, recommend this thing to me? Why?” Critic friend to me: “Because the action is crazy.” I hate hate HATE Asian action films. Whump….hah! Whuh-pah! Whoof-hoof-whunh! Choppy-kick, slap, thunk, chest punch, neck punch, groin punch, finger-snap….whuh! Whah! Hahh!

You don’t beat this festival. It beats you, every time.

  • Glenn Kenny

    Pretty simple remedy: don’t do parties. Or if you do, don’t stay too late. And don’t drink too much. Which I knew even when I was drinking too much.

    Even in ’01, I never felt beaten by the Toronto Film Festival. Always had the busiest time there, AND the best. The only reason I’m not sorry to be there right now is because of all you jerks who are. (I kid. Sort of.)

  • K. Bowen

    There’s nothing less appealing than film critics acting like they work in a salt mine. You’re not the only one.

  • K. Bowen

    If you need a couple of quick easy ideas –

    1) With Midnight in Paris and Contagion, is Marion Cotillard now the biggest Hollywood star to come from outside the English speaking world since ________?

    2) Hey, you know, it’s been a long time since Kate Winslet was in a movie that people actually watched.

  • Jeffrey Wells

    You try filling the daily HE story quota, Glenn, plus see two or three films plus attend a party plus a dinner or whatever every day and night. It’s cool but it’s no duckwalk. If I didn’t have to write anything it would be nothing but fun and thrills, spills, laughs and games.

  • Rashad

    Bowen: Javier Bardem is bigger

  • K. Bowen

    WEll, maybe Penelope Cruz, but Cotillard has been in a pretty decent string of hits lately, which is kind of rare for French actresses.

  • Mitchell

    If I ever get into a fight, I’ll intimidate my opponent with a new move: the “Whoof-hoof-whunh!”

  • Robert Cashill

    Cotillard is the definite exception. I didn’t think we’d see her again except to award the next year’s Best Actor Oscar. Hollywood is lousy with foreign-language performers who didn’t quite translate–for every Garbo there’s two Jean Gabins or Romy Schneiders.

  • The Criterion Guy

    Yeah, it is a joke when Wells complains about how hard it is to be a film critic/junket whore…WAAAAAAH!!!

  • ThriceDamned

    Now I’m REALLY excited about “The Raid”. It just became a can’t-miss.

  • George Prager

    Is Sarah Palin, You Betcha! better paced than Kurt and Courtney?

  • longrunner

    Hey, Glenn, have you seen this yet? You made the final cut.

  • Glenn Kenny

    As you might recall, Jeff, it wasn’t so long ago that I DID fill a similar quota, filing three-to-five brief and sometimes not-so-brief reviews and notes daily for the Premiere website. How soon you forget the knowing glances we exchanged as we tried to get dibs on available outlets at the Starbucks in the Indigo Books in the Manulife Center!

  • George Prager

    Rashad says…

    Why did Americans go to a Canadian film festival on 9/11?

  • Rashad

    That video is such a laughable piece of self-important shit. Such a defiant and valiant act not cancelling a film festival. Surely the world took notice.

  • George Prager
  • clockwork taxi

    I am fairly shocked that Jeff hasn’t brought this up yet….so I will. Is the failure of Warrior at the box office this weekend a sudden death for it’s best picture contention? I saw it a couple weeks ago and swore to heaven and earth that it was the film audiences had been wishing for this year. I saw it this weekend again and it’s not as good….it’s BETTER. Best film of the year hands down. Yet I watched it with a more or less empty theather. What the hell!?!