I’m not a film major, so I feel unqualified to discuss this, to be honest. But it seems to me that directors and writers used to start their careers with edgy, controversial films that, if they were any good, opened the door to more commercial and, therefore, profitable cinematic endeavors. But now the goal seems to be sell, sell, sell. Everyone wants their piece to get picked up and sponsored. They want it to be seen and loved by a wide audience, and that takes away from their bravery and honesty. Where is the next Drugstore Cowboy? Where is the next Harold and Maude? As an example I give you “Precious,” one of the most loved films in recent memory. As it made its way through the festivals and award show submission circuit, it was continually trimmed and edited to get rid of the more upsetting, graphic material. The film seen at its world premier is not what the delicate-minded public saw in theaters. The original version was deemed, “too offensive” and the producers felt they had no choice but to dim it down.
Directors, writers, producers, I am begging you to offend me. Upset me, catch me off guard. I know it is scary and hard to look at all the money being made with safe, lovely films and turn away to the darker side but we need it. Not that I have anything against safer, lovely films. I love a good chick flick as much as the next kid. I’ve seen some beautiful and light love stories here. But Hollywood is full of light, and it will disappear into the sun if we don’t bring in some darkness.
Because Sundance is Hollywood. It might be colder, but it is an extension of the City of Angels. Except for Park City natives and the orthopedic surgeon convention at a nearby resort, everyone in town is part of The Industry. And let me tell you, there are a lot of people. At the Creative Artists’ Agency Party last night Harvey Weinstein held court over the door and made sure no one important passed him by. ‘How odd,’ I thought, “who on earth does Harvey freaking Weinstein need to schmooze? Shouldn’t people be scanning the room to find him?” But then I realized that Weinstein got where he is by never letting anyone higher than him on the totem pole pass by un-utilized. He views every minute of every day as an opportunity, and that certainly doesn’t exclude fancy parties with free booze and finger food. He was on top of his game, even if he doesn’t need to be anymore.