It's probably not the easiest thing in the world to direct your first feature film when your dad is an icon like Clint Eastwood, but with her feature debut, Rails & Ties, helmer Alison Eastwood makes some smart decisions, most of which involve surrounding herself with people who know what they're doing. Although I never read other reviews of a film until I've written my own (and even try to avoid discussing them too much with other film journalists, which can be hard to do at a fest), I sometimes can't help but hear the buzz around a film, and the buzz around Telluride about Rails & Ties was mixed.

I decided to see the film myself for a couple reasons: First, I really love Marcia Gay Harden and Kevin Bacon, and second, because it's an unfortunate truth that people often love to see someone fail -- especially someone whose last name comes with a certain history, and whose first feature was accepted into both Telluride and Toronto. So it was only natural (or at least, it was expected) that people would speculate on whether Rails & Ties got into both fests on the strength of its director's surname, rather than its own merits. I don't like basing my opinions on other people either lauding or tossing the proverbial rotten tomatoes at a film, though, so I went into Rails & Ties to see it for myself.