sideways.jpgA major critic (who I'll respectfully leave nameless) told me this story about last year's Toronto Film Festival. Every critic in town, he said, was amped up for the screening of David O. Russell's I Heart Huckabees. The hype around that film, at that festival, was huge. It was Russell's "comeback" after selling out to Warner Brothers and George Clooney to make the better-than-it-had-any-right-to-be Three Kings; Russell's on-set eccentrics were legendary; and yet he had somehow wrangled all these stars. But nobody had seen the final cut, so no one knew what to expect.

I Heart Huckabees finally screened, and those that didn't walk out halfway through nearly rioted when it was over. This is what that Russell guy has been doing with all that money in all those years with all those stars? The critical community had been building up the director for five years of post-Three Kings silence; now they, apparently, felt betrayed.

The next night, most of the same critics caught a screening of a film no one was talking about. It was star free (well, there was one character actor in it, and another guy from some TV show no one would ever admit to having seen), and it had been adapted and directed by Alexander Payne, a guy who tended to make films that critics often admired, but hardly loved. It was just a little story about two dudes, and some broads, and some wine - but after the Huckabees debacle, it was exactly what every critic in Toronto needed to see.

categories Dvds, Cinematical