Hey folks, Harry here in Las Vegas!!!! Oh man oh man am I having a great time... cheap liquior, cheap thrills and tons of damn fine fucking movies! Unfortunately this isn't one of them. Instead this was shown in San Francisco, a considerable amount of miles north west of my current locale. I write this from a completely darkened room after sharing just the right amount of those frozen alcoholic slushee type of things. I love the banana and coconut one and the strawberry coconut one and the gooseberry peanut butter one with chocolate chips and lard one... That one was a doozy! Anyways, here's Soderberg's latest, I read the script on this which was just plain bizarre... it is nice to see it hasn't lost its verve and nerve to be radically abby normal. Here's Spider-Man with a look see...
Hi Harry. Spider-man here. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to get you a scoop. Not more than 30 minutes ago, I got out of one the first screenings of the new Steven Soderberg film, Full Frontal.
Saturday afternoon, I was going to see Spider-man for the fourth time at the AMC Van Ness theater in San Francisco. A woman stopped me and asked my age and asked if I wanted to go to a test screening Sunday night. I said sure, what is it? She asked me if I heard of Steven Soderberg and I almost let my excitement get the better of me. I downshifted and calmly said, yes, I did like his films… never letting on about my love of weird stuff like Schizopolis. She gave me a flyer with an 800 number. Of course, there were all kinds of caveats: you must not be a member of the media or an internet correspondent.
The flyer said to arrive no later than 6:45pm. I got there over an hour early; you know these test screenings go. We got in and saw a reserved section. I immediately went for the seats right behind this section, knowing it was probably reserved for the studio big wigs. The movie was supposed to start at 7:30, but they ran it early. It started rolling just after 7. The moderator gave a short speech and told us we were among the first to see the film.
Then it went dark and a man and a woman jumped into the seats in front of us. Was it HIM? He was wearing a cap and had on glasses… hmm. I’d have to wait for the lights to come up.
Cast included Blair Underwood, Julia Roberts, Enrico Colati (I know I got the spelling wrong; he’s the photographer from Just Shoot Me), Nicky Katt, David Ducovney, Mary McCormick, David Hyde Pierce and Catherine Keener.
Some spoilers to follow…
I can’t really give away any spoilers because there’s not much of a plot to speak of. It’s mostly scenes of relationships tied together by the characters preparing for a birthday party. Most of them are in the “biz.” The film is set in Hollywood and takes place during the making of a movie.
There’s a great title sequence device with the movie within a movie which hilarious. I’m sure it went over most of the audience’s heads, but the ones who catch will get a big laugh.
The best thing in the film is the stage play, “The Sound and the Fuhrer.” Nicky Katt plays Hitler in the modern world, with a shrink, mobile phone and pager. This bit is inspired hilarity.
Ducovney’s role amounts to a cameo. Brad Pitt also appears as himself in the movie within the movie. WE get a glimpse of Soderberg also, but his face was obscured by a big black box. Not sure if it was done for this screening or for all the prints.
Overall, I recommend it, but it’s not gonna pull big box office and may be a bit too “European” for most tastes. This is Soderberg’s weirdest movie since Schizopolis. Some of the weird voiceover devices, he used in The Limey are in evidence here and sometimes can get a bit too precious. As I wrote on my test card, too self-indulgent.
Some of the audience was invited for a 20-minute focus group with pizza after. I was hoping to get invited, if only to smash the machine.
Thr film was exactly as the director intended… therefore it is brilliant. No audience member or test process should affect the artist’s vision. To Hell with focus groups!!!!
Okay, Harry… getting off my high horse.
BTW, when the lights went up, I checked. IT WAS STEVEN SODERBERG! First I saw his cap, which said Solaris on it. Then he turned around and bolted for the exit. We sat behind the man!!!