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Film Club of the Air: ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’ ‘Kick-Ass’ ‘Please Give’

Audio

Aired 4/28/10

On this Film Club of the Air, we'll talk about a new documentary from a notorious and anonymous graffiti artist, the controversy surrounding "Kick-Ass," and the new film from Nicole Holofcener, "Please Give."

"Exit Through the Gift Shop" pictures: Shepard Fairey
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Above: "Exit Through the Gift Shop" pictures: Shepard Fairey

"Kick-Ass" features: Aaron Johnson as Kick-Ass, Chloe Moretz as Hit-Girl, and Nicolas Cage as Big Daddy.
Enlarge this image

Above: "Kick-Ass" features: Aaron Johnson as Kick-Ass, Chloe Moretz as Hit-Girl, and Nicolas Cage as Big Daddy.

Amanda Peet as Mary and Rebecca Hall as Rebecca,  in "Please Give".
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Above: Amanda Peet as Mary and Rebecca Hall as Rebecca, in "Please Give".

Roundtable Recommendations:

Maureen Cavanaugh: Turner Classic Movies just wrapped up its first Classic Movies Film Festival in Los Angeles. At TCM, you can still see videos and read blogs about the event. There are on-stage interviews with Eva Marie Saint, Martin Landau, Angelica Huston and others, including a touching and very funny little speech from Mel Brooks as he accepts his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The quality of some of the video is not great, but it's worth checking out anyway.

Beth Accomando: "The Room" screening at midnight at Landmark's Ken Cinemas (5/1) and "The Human Centipede" also at midnight at the Ken (5/7).

Ashley C. Williams plays Lindsay in "The Human Centipede".
Enlarge this image

Above: Ashley C. Williams plays Lindsay in "The Human Centipede".

Scott Marks: Warners Bros now offers on demand downloading and mail-to-order of all the films in their archive.

Anders Wright: A digitally remastered version of Hal Hartley's, "Surviving Desire", and "Possible Films 2", a new collection of shorts.

Special digitally remastered edition of " Surviving Desire".
Enlarge this image

Above: Special digitally remastered edition of " Surviving Desire".

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): I'm Maureen Cavanaugh and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. The controversy started at San Diego's Comic-Con last July and now it's gone national. I'm talking about the furor over the violent comic-book-based action film called "Kick-Ass." That's just one of the movies we'll be discussing this morning on the KPBS Film Club of the Air. Also, an art documentary with a surprise ending, a New York City story about upper-middle-class guilt and another comic book movie. Plus our critics will be giving their recommendations on what to look for in theaters and on DVD. I’d like to introduce my guests. Beth Accomando is the KPBS film critic and author of the blog Cinema Junkie. Good morning, Beth.

BETH ACCOMANDO (KPBS Film Critic): Good morning.

CAVANAUGH: You look great.

ACCOMANDO: Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: We’ll talk about that later. Scott Marks is the author of the film blog EmulsionCompulsion.com. Scott, good morning. You look great, too.

MARKS: Oh, thank you. I will, great.

CAVANAUGH: Anders Wright, looking great, is the film critic for San Diego Beat (sic). Good morning, Anders.

WRIGHT: Thank you so much, and thank you all for having me.

CAVANAUGH: Well, we start with a documentary called “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” which gives us a glimpse into the world of street artists. We see them filmed at night, spray painting walls, subway cars, and other public places. But this film is more than a straightforward documentary. Just like the artists it features, “Exit Through the Gift Shop” has its own pranks and surprises. It’s supposedly the brain child of Los Angeles art world figure Thierry Guetta. Here’s a scene from the beginning of “Exit Through the Gift Shop.”

(audio of clip from “Exit Through the Gift Shop”)

CAVANAUGH: And after he finds him, wouldn’t you know it, street artist Banksy starts to take over the film. We’re talking about the film “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” And we should start actually, Beth, with a quick sketch of two of the central figures in the film. Who is this Banksky (sic)?

ACCOMANDO: Well, he’s a street artist and graffiti artist and he’s been successful in keeping his identity hidden as far as I know. And basically he’s somebody who does kind of guerilla art. He goes out, it can be as simple as simply spraying a stencil design onto a corner of a wall or it can be as elaborate as doing a kind of installation piece in the middle of a street. But it’s work that has, essentially, a short life span because as soon as it’s discovered by the authorities or whatnot, it can be removed or…

MARKS: The man…

ACCOMANDO: …painted over. Yeah, as soon as the man comes out. And, I mean, that’s an accepted part of what that art is. And the stuff is also very socially and politically charged. I mean, he’s not just – I mean, you have to understand, too, there’s a difference between just simply tagging a wall or just spray painting your name up or, you know, defacing a wall and people who go out there to actually put up art that has some sort of purpose or meaning. So, I mean, he’s gone and painted on the wall, you know, that’s gone up in Palestine, he’s painted, you know, a wall…

CAVANAUGH: And put his own paintings in the Louvre, is that right?

ACCOMANDO: Yes, snuck in there…

MARKS: Yeah. Except…

ACCOMANDO: One of the great moments…

CAVANAUGH: Don’t – don’t forget that. Anders, fill us in on who Thierry Guetta is and his relationship with the artist Banksy.

WRIGHT: Yes, Thierry. Well, Thierry is this sort of crazed Frenchman who lives in LA and sells vintage clothing, makes a killing. He’s the sort of guy who would sort of, you know, come to your garage sale, buy your old Puma shoes and then sell them for $400 to LA-based hipsters. And he’s, in the course of this film, he’s also the sort of person who carries a video camera with him everywhere he goes. And at one point he goes back to Paris and learns that his cousin is a guy called Space Invader, who is another one of the big figures in this movement. And he starts going out with him at night and shooting all this incredible footage of this art that, as Beth said, it’s really fleeting. It has a lifespan. And he clearly gets kind of addicted to it and through Space Invader he meets all these other artists including Shepard Fairey, and he’s capturing all this extraordinary footage of a world that’s never really been documented before and he’s, you know, he’s telling everybody I’m making this documentary about…

CAVANAUGH: Shepard Fairey, excuse me…

WRIGHT: Yeah.

CAVANAUGH: …Shepard Fairey being the man behind the Obey Giant little posters.

WRIGHT: Andre the Giant, yeah and…

CAVANAUGH: Andre the Giant, yeah.

WRIGHT: …of course the controversial figure with the Obama Hope…

CAVANAUGH: Yeah.

WRIGHT: …painting. But he – So he’s really capturing all this incredible artwork, trying to make this movie but he knows that he cannot make a documentary about street art without having Banksy in it. And someday, one day, just sort of randomly Shepard Fairey hooks him up with Banksy and the next thing you know, they’re thick as thieves and they’re running around trying to, you know, do these incredible works. Like Thierry actually takes the fall for Banksy in Disneyland one time in a really hysterical part of the film.

CAVANAUGH: Well, now, let me ask you, though, Scott, this movie is not a standard documentary. In fact, some people are calling it a prankumentary.

MARKS: Yeah, I would…

CAVANAUGH: Why?

MARKS: I would think this is – Well, first of all, the one thing you said about Thierry is that the footage is extraordinary but the way in which it’s filmed is anything but.

WRIGHT: Umm-hmm.

MARKS: This guy is a hack.

CAVANAUGH: Ahh…

MARKS: He has no talent whatsoever. He’s – he looks like somebody you would want to go out drinking with. You would have a lot of fun if he was your drinking buddy. And the gossip has escalated so much that people are saying that Thierry and Banksy are one in the same because nobody can see Banksy, that this is just this elaborate – This is like “Borat” for people with brains. This is “Borat” for intellectuals. This is like this grand goof on the art world because eventually Thierry winds up with his own gallery show but we never see the guy lift a brush, we never see him create anything. How do you know that he’s making all this money at his antique store with the Puma shoes and all that? We – You don’t even know where he gets his money from really. Certainly not enough to finance that show that was put on.

WRIGHT: Well, I don’t disagree with you. And part of what makes this film so great in my mind is that you can’t necessarily trust…

WRIGHT/ACCOMANDO: …anything…

ACCOMANDO: …yeah.

WRIGHT: …that anyone says at all.

MARKS: Yeah.

WRIGHT: Because essentially what it’s about is it’s a movie about a guy trying to make a movie about Banksy, and it’s Banksy making that movie. I mean, it’s meta, meta, meta, meta.

CAVANAUGH: So in trying to nail anything down, what, Beth, what do we learn about street artists in the process of this very – sounds like a very confusing documentary.

ACCOMANDO: I wouldn’t call it confusing. I think it’s playful. It’s like this Chinese box where there’s all these things hidden inside each other and, I mean, it does focus on street art. It does give you a sense of what these guys do, that they’re running around in the middle of the night being chased by cops, climbing up buildings. I mean, when I was watching this, the first thing I thought of was I wanted my son to come and see this because he loves parkour, which is the, you know, running all over the city. And it’s like these guys are running from the cops and these poor cops are trying to chase after them and have no hope of catching them. But you see what they do and you see how amazing some of the technique they have is, some of these elaborate stencils that they put together and Xeroxing six-foot or eight-foot faces to put up on walls. So, I mean, you do get a genuine glimpse of what doing this kind of street art entails. But then layered on top of that is you’re getting this whole commentary on, you know, how people can be fooled into thinking what is art, what isn’t art, I mean, a criticism of the art world itself, of, you know, critics of the art world, of artists themselves. I mean, so you get all these layers on top of each other in a very playful – I mean, I don’t think I laughed this hard at a comedy recently. It’s hilarious.

WRIGHT: Umm-hmm.

CAVANAUGH: Well, let me go with what you said though over to Scott. With the commentary it has on the art world, the very title of this documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” is, in itself, a commentary on what the art world is now.

MARKS: This is a fanboy film with a moral and social conscience and you don’t normally see that. And this is also a great example of Banksy biting the hand that feeds him.

WRIGHT: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

MARKS: He makes fun of all these people. These schmucks who stand in line to see Thierry’s art exhibition, they don’t know who this guy is. There was an article about him in the LA Weekly, and the lemmings just start flocking, and they don’t care. They’re going to go because they’ve been told to go. And as it turns out, it’s an elaborate hoax. I mean, it’s basically Thierry just – or Thierry just ripping off…

ACCOMANDO: But I…

MARKS: …Andy Warhol.

WRIGHT: Don’t you…

ACCOMANDO: But I don’t think it’s Banksy biting the hand that feeds him. I mean, I think that – No. I think he’s always kind of had it in for that crowd. I don’t think that he caters to them and I don’t think they really pay for his way.

WRIGHT: Oh, no, but they do. They do. I mean, part of this, though, is that Banksy and the other street artists have become mainstream and had all sorts of real gallery success.

MARKS: Yeah.

WRIGHT: But I actually think the idea, “Exit Through the Gift Shop” works on two levels. It’s not just the people who are in Thierry’s show. I think that’s about you, the audience, watching this. I mean, it’s – it works on two levels. It’s not just about the people in the movie. The whole idea, if we’re – if Banksy looks at art and the nature of art and what is art, I mean, the idea of putting his own stuff surreptitiously up in the Louvre, you know, to sort of ask, well, why is my stuff here next to all – You know, who defines what is what?

ACCOMANDO: Umm-hmm.

WRIGHT: It’s the same exact thing with this film. Everything about it is – This entire movie is a Banksy art project and he’s not only saying to you, hey, the suckers who fall for Thierry’s art show in LA, “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” in some ways you’re exactly the same because you’re paying eleven bucks to come see my movie. Ehh, maybe buy a poster on the way out.

CAVANAUGH: We’re talking about the movie, the new art documentary, “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” There have been rumors that Banksy, who apparently is behind at least the second half of this documentary, was inspired to make this film, Scott, by Orson Welles’ “F Is for Fake” (sic). Describe the Welles’ film for us, and do you see the influence on this work?

MARKS: Eh, boy, until you just mentioned it, I haven’t even – hadn’t even thought about it. I hadn’t thought of that.

CAVANAUGH: Aha.

MARKS: “F for Fake” is Orson’s elaborate documentary where it’s about Clifford Irving and the book that he wrote about Howard Hughes. Oh, and, God, I’m forgetting the artist’s name, the guy who could just take a canvas and a piece of charcoal and here’s a Picasso. I mean, he did…

CAVANAUGH: Exactly. He did that for years.

MARKS: I forget the guy’s name. So he follows these two characters, you know, real life characters and then at the end he tries to pull of a bit of a hoax himself, and I think you can all see it coming but since it’s Orson Welles, you know, I’m more than happy to – to close a blind eye. So, yeah, I can kind of see how “F for Fake” would have been a prime influence on Banksy. And shouldn’t Banksy be the name that Barbara Stanwyck called Henry Fonda in an old Preston Sturges comedy? I mean, that just sounds, you know, like he should be a banker and she should call him Banksy.

WRIGHT: What – Can I just – One thing, though, that you said is that Banksy’s in charge of the second half of this movie. And I actually think that…

MARKS: Yeah.

WRIGHT: …that’s not the case…

CAVANAUGH: Ah.

WRIGHT: …that it’s designed to make you think that, that actually the entire movie is Banksy.

ACCOMANDO: Umm-hmm.

WRIGHT: That’s what you – And he fools us by sitting down in front of the camera. He keeps his secret identity but…

MARKS: If it is, indeed, him.

WRIGHT: …it doesn’t – The point is that every…

ACCOMANDO: Yeah.

WRIGHT: …all the narration that he’s providing, the interview that he’s doing, he’s calculatingly doing all of those things to make you think that, oh, half of this footage is produced by Thierry. Everything that’s there, whether he got it from Thierry, whether he made it himself, the entire film is put together by Banksy and…

ACCOMANDO: Except he gives – He kind of gives that away in the very, very beginning. I mean, you’re led – Right off the start, they give you the clues to everything you essentially need to know. I mean, he sets it up by saying like, okay, here’s what you think it is but it’s not. I mean…

CAVANAUGH: And isn’t it…

ACCOMANDO: …right off the bat.

CAVANAUGH: Isn’t it interesting you’re even using that terminology when you’re talking about an art documentary.

MARKS: Umm-hmm.

CAVANAUGH: This – It sounds as if this documentary, Beth, sets the whole thing of what people have in their minds when they’re going to sit down for an art documentary on its ear.

ACCOMANDO: Oh, yeah, because, like I said, this is one of the funniest films I’ve seen in years. And, yeah, it just layers so many things in and has so much fun. I mean, I think the thing I enjoyed about it the most was that playfulness. I mean, the sense of playful inventiveness and not taking anything seriously and yet taking everything seriously. I mean, it’s just great. And you’re so engaged with it the whole time.

CAVANAUGH: By the way, producer Angela Carone has let us know that Elmyr de Hory is the art forger…

MARKS: There you go. There you go.

CAVANAUGH: …in “F for Fake.” We started off, I’m so glad, with a movie that you all seem to love so much. Let me just ask you, Anders, is there anything you want to add about this?

WRIGHT: This is – I really – The more I spend – more time I spend thinking about this movie, the more I love it, the more I want to see it, and the more I want to send people to it. I mean, I feel like it’s so rare where something comes along that works on so many different levels and yet, you know, at the same time, there’s the added – the challenging part is to say like, no, really, it’s a documentary about art, you’ll love it. Because that just sounds…

CAVANAUGH: Exactly.

WRIGHT: …like my, personally, my worst nightmare.

ACCOMANDO: Except, you know what, we just recently had “Art of the Steal” that came out.

WRIGHT: Umm-hmm.

ACCOMANDO: And that was pretty fascinating, too. I mean, that was played out like a tense thriller…

WRIGHT: Yeah.

ACCOMANDO: ...as opposed to any kind of stuffy art documentary or anything like that. And I think the two films actually kind of pair up nicely.

MARKS: Yeah.

WRIGHT: Exactly.

CAVANAUGH: And so…

MARKS: And “Gift Shop” is not a well-made film by any stretch of the – It’s very well put together and conceptually it’s a brilliant film, but visually, I mean, Thierry’s footage is just – it’s hideous to look at.

CAVANAUGH: Does that add to it, though?

MARKS: In this instance, it does, because one my colleagues, when it was over, oh, you must’ve hated that, it was all close-ups and it was hand-held. No, I don’t because they basically take the time to sit you down and say, this is bad, this guy is not a good filmmaker. Because they tried – he tried to put together a documentary about Banksy and after they watched it…

ACCOMANDO: That type of injury.

WRIGHT: Yeah, it was amazing.

MARKS: …he realized that the footage was so weak that all he could do was edit it.

ACCOMANDO: I don’t…

MARKS: It was all flashy editing. It was like MTV editing. There was nothing…

ACCOMANDO: But I don’t think that’s because he recognized that he had weak footage. I think he was like they described him. He’s like an ADD kid with a remote. He couldn’t sit on an image…

MARKS: Oh, no. Yeah, it’s not because he didn’t recognize it.

ACCOMANDO: …longer than two or three seconds.

WRIGHT: The other thing about Thierry, though, is that he may not be an artist or a filmmaker himself but he’s spent so much time around these people who make this really extraordinary art…

ACCOMANDO: Oh, he’s passionate.

MARKS: Okay, what is that, guilt by association or…?

WRIGHT: No, no.

ACCOMANDO: No, he…

WRIGHT: He’s taking his cues from them. He’s doing what he’s seen them do.

ACCOMANDO: But he’s also passionate. I mean, the guy is likable despite the fact that he’s a hack and that he doesn’t produce good art. He’s a likable guy.

MARKS: If this wasn’t a scam, I would not think that the guy is likable. But if this is an enormous joke and he’s in on the joke and he’s playing people, he’s lovable. Forget about likable.

CAVANAUGH: Well, I gotta tell you, we – if this discussion hasn’t gotten people who want to see this movie, I don’t know what will. “Exit Through the Gift Shop”…

ACCOMANDO: Go.

CAVANAUGH: …opens Friday at Landmark’s Hillcrest Cinemas. I want to let everyone know that works by Banksy, Space Invader and Shepard Fairey will be included in a group show of street artists. That’s opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego this summer. Stay with us. We’re going to be talking about “Kick-Ass” when we return here on These Days, the KPBS Film Club of the Air, in just a few minutes here on KPBS.

CAVANAUGH: Welcome back. This is the KPBS Film Club of the Air. I’m Maureen Cavanaugh. My guests are Beth Accomando, Scott Marks and Anders Wright. And we are moving right along with one of the most controversial films in recent memory. It’s called “Kick-Ass.” Directed by Matthew Vaughn, starring Aaron Johnson, Nicholas Cage and Chloe Grace Moretz. This is a movie based on a comic book where a nerdy high school student puts on a costume, pretends to be a super hero. He gets famous on the internet and finds another pair of super hero wannabes, Big Daddy and his 11-year-old daughter whose alias is Hit Girl. Here’s a scene where Nicholas Cage, as Big Daddy, gives his daughter Hit Girl a set of martial arts knives for her birthday.

(audio of clip from the film “Kick-Ass”)

CAVANAUGH: The film’s language and level of violence has shocked some critics and delighted others. It seems like the controversy around this film surrounds the character of the 11-year-old named Hit Girl. Anders, why is this character so controversial?

WRIGHT: Well, first of all, it’s mostly because she’s 11 and she kills people in every shape, way or form. And there are stabbings and shootings and slicings and dicings, and she swears. I mean, this is a 11-year-old girl who uses both ‘c’ words in the course of the movie. And it’s an extremely violent film. I mean, the – you know, no one is left unkilled, basically, by the end of it. And it’s, you know, there are a lot of people who’ve been shocked by the fact that they decided to actually go with what the graphic novel did and have an actual 11-year-old killing everyone, basically, who stands in her way.

CAVANAUGH: Well, I’m seeing, you know, Beth, you’re here with your purple wig on, so I would imagine that you are a fan of this movie. But did you find anything offensive about the portrayal of Hit Girl or what happens to her?

ACCOMANDO: No, actually I didn’t find it offensive. I mean, I enjoyed the character. And, I mean, I think – It’s funny. In a lot of the reviews, it seems like most of the – most of the people who are offended by it focus so much on the language even more so than on the violence. But, I mean, I think – Well, in terms of violence, I mean, I think it’s more realistic than a lot of the comic book movies because that’s part of the point of what they’re making. I mean, the idea is, is that being a super hero and going out and trying to commit vigilante justice and save the world is a stupid thing. And a lot of these people get hurt, including the guys who pretend to be super heroes. I mean, in a sense, I consider it more of an anti-super hero film than a super hero film. But, I mean, I like her character. I mean, I think it’s nice for girls to have something besides Hannah Montana to look at. I mean, she kicks some butt and she’s…

MARKS: Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wait. You’re really going to tell me that you…

ACCOMANDO: Yeah.

MARKS: …think that this is female empowerment.

ACCOMANDO: Yeah.

MARKS: That this is not just let’s get a little girl to swear and beat people up so we can sit there and go, wow, that’s cool. Because I see no feminism in this film. I see nothing about female empowerment. This is a little kid.

ACCOMANDO: Yeah. So?

MARKS: No, you tell me so. The ball’s back to you now.

ACCOMANDO: Why? I mean, what’s wrong with an 11-year-old girl who’s self-reliant, thinks fast, thinks well under pressure.

MARKS: How was she self-reliant? She – Her father is basically…

ACCOMANDO: He died. I’m sorry.

MARKS: Ohhh…

ACCOMANDO: I didn’t say that. She’s on her own.

MARKS: Oh, he dyes his hair. It’s Nicholas Cage. He dyes his hair.

WRIGHT: Yeah.

ACCOMANDO: She’s on her own for a bit and has to improvise under extreme pressure and does. I mean…

CAVANAUGH: Let’s talk about, Scott, why you didn’t like this movie.

MARKS: I, you know, it – Roger Ebert wrote – I guess he started all this rolling, that he wrote a review saying that he thought that the film was just shocking, all the horrible things in it. And he does have one quote that I like when he talks about comic book fans. He said, you inhabit a world I am so very not interested in. And I could not agree with him more. This is basically “The Watchmen” meets “The Professional.” It’s the same story as “The Watchmen.” Let’s take normal human beings and turn them into super heroes, and it’s “The Professional” where you have a little girl who becomes a killing machine, and a little “Bad News Bears” because “Bad News Bears” you have children swearing, and that’s there to make people laugh.

CAVANAUGH: We don’t want to forget the fact that one of the controversial aspects about this movie is that Hit Girl gets beaten up pretty terribly in this movie, this 11-year-old child. Does anyone have an issue with that?

MARKS: No, none. I have – I have no – None of that offends me. What offends me is that they reference Sergio Leone and they play Ennio Morricone. That offends me. That, I find horrifically – You have no right to rip that off when you’re doing a film as facile as this. Shame on you. This is by the guy who did “Layer Cake,” which I think is a great film.

WRIGHT: It’s also…

MARKS: It’s also by the guy who did “Stardust,” which I think is Robert De Niro’s worst film.

WRIGHT: But I think it’s closer to – Prior to making “Layer Cake,” he produced those Guy Ritchie movies…

ACCOMANDO: Umm-hmm.

WRIGHT: …“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch.” And I think this has much more in common with those films stylistically than the others. I think that one thing people seem to lose sight of is that within the world of the film itself no one actually thinks that it’s a good idea for an 11-year-old girl to be doing all these things. I think the action sequences are terrifically fun but that’s just it, it’s everybody who’s outside of the – You know, Roger Ebert is, oh, my God, it’s terribly shocking that all these things are being done by an 11-year-old girl and everyone in the movie is like, oh, my God, it’s terribly shocking that all these things are being done by an 11-year-old girl.

ACCOMANDO: And obviously people aren’t watching Japanese films right now because 11-year-old girls doing terribly shocking things are quite commonplace in those films.

CAVANAUGH: Let’s take a step back from the movie for a minute, Beth, and talk about the way this movie was poised to be a big hit. I talked about scenes being shown at Comic-Con last summer, fan anticipation on the blog – the blogosphere.

ACCOMANDO: I wouldn’t say it was poised to be a big hit.

CAVANAUGH: No?

ACCOMANDO: I mean, when it showed at Comic-Con, nobody knew anything about it except for, you know, people who were fans of the comic books.

WRIGHT: The fan boys, yeah.

ACCOMANDO: People were mostly just blown away. I mean, people that I – It was shown at Hall H, they showed about 20 minutes of it, and it’s a 6400 seat venue. And, I mean, I heard people talking and everybody was going, like, man, I never heard of this movie, and, where’d this come from? This looks great. So, I mean, I think the studio producing it, I don’t think anybody really thought, oh, boy, you know, we’ve got this huge hit on our hands. I mean, I think the people working on it were hoping for that but when they showed it, I think most of the reaction was, wow, where did this come from? And, I mean, it’s been popular on blogs and on the internet and people who like the comics have, you know, been looking forward to it but, I mean, I don’t think it’s – I think it’s always been kind of a small film.

MARKS: But it tanked. Aren’t you shocked that this film didn’t make $40, $50 million opening week?

ACCOMANDO: It didn’t tank. It was number one at the box office for the week that it came out.

MARKS: Barely. Barely. And it…

ACCOMANDO: But it only cost like…

MARKS: $20 million is…

ACCOMANDO: …$30 million to make.

WRIGHT: Yeah, they made their money back.

ACCOMANDO: They made their money back already.

MARKS: Even with all the expense to publicize this?

WRIGHT: Yeah, yeah.

ACCOMANDO: They made…

MARKS: Because they didn’t publicize – Oh, there’s been posters, there’s been commercials for this thing for months.

WRIGHT: I actually think that, in fact, the movie’s problem is that for the most part the trailer and the posters and all that gave it a sort of standard PG-13 rating. It looked like something…

CAVANAUGH: Ohh…

WRIGHT: …other than what it actually is when, really, it’s a hard ‘R’ movie.

ACCOMANDO: But, you know, the other thing, and, I mean, I think in a certain sense, although this is nowhere near as good as “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” but in a certain sense it’s biting the hand that feeds it in the same way that you were talking about. I mean, it is making fun of the fan boys and it’s making fun of, you know, the action. I mean, it’s kind of delivering what it’s making fun of at the same time.

MARKS: But it’s also a film that wants to make fun of its characters and embrace them simultaneously.

ACCOMANDO: Yes.

MARKS: And if, indeed, this is supposed to be a satire, it becomes what it’s satirizing 10 minutes in.

WRIGHT: I don’t know if it’s a satire.

MARKS: Really?

ACCOMANDO: No, I think it is.

MARKS: Of course it is.

WRIGHT: No, I don’t know, because at the same time, when it – I think it’s a movie that’s actually really about the comic book world and the people who inhabit it. You know, I mean, look at – I look at it like this. Forever, we’ve taken these comic book movies and we’ve made them PG, PG-13, and you feel like they’re made by people in suits who actually don’t read comic books when really the people who read comic books like the violence. They like the sex, they like the swearing. It’s – it comes with the territory. So these guys finally got together and said, you know what, let’s just make a movie that actually has all of these things in it.

MARKS: But they’ve made a lot of R-rated – “Watchmen.”

WRIGHT: “Watchmen” is a totally different beast.

ACCOMANDO: And “Bladerunner.”

WRIGHT: Yeah.

ACCOMANDO: I mean, “Blade…

CAVANAUGH: Let me ask a question about this.

MARKS: “Blade…

ACCOMANDO: You think so?

CAVANAUGH: A lot of people who don’t like the movie as well as people who do like the money – movie, are all praising the performance of Chloe Grace Moretz. And I’m wondering, here we have an 11-year-old girl playing an 11-year-old girl who swears and gets beat up and kills people. Tell me a little bit, Anders, about how you feel about her performance.

WRIGHT: She’s great.

ACCOMANDO: She’s amazing. She’s so much fun.

WRIGHT: I mean, she really is great. I mean, she really does sort of go all out, and you feel as though she is wise beyond her years.

MARKS: You don’t think this is an example of Tatum O’Neal in “Paper Moon” where the director sat down…

ACCOMANDO: No.

MARKS: …and said, here’s exactly what I want you to do and you imitate me and do it to the letter.

WRIGHT: I think…

MARKS: …because that’s what I felt while I was watching the film.

WRIGHT: No, I understand what you’re saying. And, you know, who knows. But I hope not. No, I think actually she’s – She is the hit of the film. She’s very, very funny.

ACCOMANDO: She feels really genuine…

WRIGHT: Yeah.

ACCOMANDO: …and natural. I mean – And, I mean, I think for what they have her do, they also don’t like sexualize her like you might expect.

WRIGHT: There was sex in the film but…

ACCOMANDO: Still, like – But not with her.

MARKS: It would’ve been so much better if they did…

ACCOMANDO: Why?

MARKS: …because then the film would’ve had some guts and it would actually have tried to make a point.

ACCOMANDO: Why is it guts to do that?

MARKS: This film doesn’t make – Because this film reaches no point.

ACCOMANDO: It does make a point.

MARKS: What’s the point of this film?

ACCOMANDO: It’s got a number of points. It makes fun of – I think it makes fun of the fan base that embraces those characters. I mean, right after the super hero comes out there’s costumes out and there’s comic books out and there’s merchandise for sale, I mean, as much merchandise for sale as there is in “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” And, I mean, I also think it’s making fun of the fact that, you know, here you’ve got this guy who’s out there trying to help people, he’s getting beat the hell up and people are videotaping them with their cell phones and posting it on the internet. I mean, part of what I think they’re making fun of is that we’ve blurred this line between reality and fantasy. We can’t tell reality TV from narrative fiction from, you know, a hoax that’s put on the internet and people don’t care, they’re out there going like, wow, this is really cool, look at this guy’s, you know, getting his ass kicked. And then they videotape it on their cell phone and they post it…

WRIGHT: Straight to YouTube, yeah.

ACCOMANDO: …to YouTube, but nobody helps him. And, I mean, they’re making fun of that.

CAVANAUGH: We have to wrap up this discussion.

MARKS: Aww. Aww…

CAVANAUGH: I do want to ask you one more question, though, Scott, because you have been the voice…

MARKS: Oh, great, I get the closer, aren’t…

CAVANAUGH: Well, you’ve been the voice of…

WRIGHT: Gotta get the last word, huh?

CAVANAUGH: …saying that you don’t like this.

MARKS: Yes. Yes.

CAVANAUGH: And I’m wondering if you have any thoughts about how film historians and critics are going to look back on this obsession that we’ve had about comic books in movies during the last decade or so.

MARKS: I don’t think film historians and film critics will look back. I think fan boys will. And I think they’ll sit and salivate and drool and I think we’re in the middle of the comic book – the golden period, so to speak. I just can’t wait for it all to come to an end and I wish they would start making movies about real characters, not little kids dressing as imo twinks and going to beat up people. And Chloe Moretz, you want to see a much better film? “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” And she’s in that…

ACCOMANDO: Oh, that’s awful.

MARKS: …and it’s a much better film.

ACCOMANDO: No, that’s an atrocious film.

MARKS: Okay.

WRIGHT: She’s playing the lead in the remake of the vampire movie…

ACCOMANDO: Yeah.

WRIGHT/ACCOMANDO: …”Let the Right One In”…

ACCOMANDO: …yeah.

WRIGHT: …that’s going to come out, I think, next year so…

CAVANAUGH: Oh, that – that Scandanavian…

ACCOMANDO: Can I just say one quick thing…

CAVANAUGH: Sure.

ACCOMANDO: …about comic book adaptations. I mean, we don’t talk about it like are we going to stop making adaptations of plays or adaptations of novels. I don’t think it’s some fluke. I think comic books and graphic novels have finally reached a point where people are acknowledging that they are part of the literary world and we are going to keep seeing them. There are good comics and bad comics and there’s going to be good comic adaptations and bad ones. But I don’t think this is just some fluke and we’re never going to, you know, there’s going to be an end to it suddenly and…

WRIGHT: And I’m going to take the last word. I’m sorry but here we go. The thing that I do love about this movie is that they did decide to make it a rated-R film.

ACCOMANDO: Umm-hmm.

WRIGHT: That unlike all these other movies, they said, look, we’re not going for the Happy Meal prizes here. We’re really trying to do something that is over the top and violent and it’s not for kids. And I think that’s important.

CAVANAUGH: “Kick-Ass,” currently playing in area theaters. Now, for something completely different, a new movie by Nicole Holofcener, the director of “Lovely & Amazing,” and “Friends with Money.” It’s called “Please Give.” In this film set in Manhattan, we meet two sisters living with their dying grandmother, and we meet Kate and Oliver, the couple who live next door. They are waiting for grandma to die so they can break through the wall to expand their apartment. That plan is just one of the many things making Kate feel guilty and depressed; another thing is her relationship with her daughter. In this clip, Kate, played by Catherine Keener, tries to give $20 to a homeless man and her daughter Abby protests.

(audio of clip from the film “Please Give”)

CAVANAUGH: That is a scene from the movie “Please Give,” and, Anders, Nicole Holofcener has become known for a certain kind of film, as I said, direct “Friends with Money,” “Lovely & Amazing.” There are common elements in her work. Describe her films for us.

WRIGHT: Well, the most common element is undoubtedly Catherine Keener.

CAVANAUGH: Right.

WRIGHT: And I would say that, in fact, Catherine Keener, in some ways, both defined her films and is defined by them. Holofcener, actually, has made…

CAVANAUGH: Holofcener…

WRIGHT: Yeah.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you.

WRIGHT: That’s all right. She’s made four movies and Catherine Keener has starred in all four of them. And they’re small films about people sort of dealing with the stuff that people deal with as they go through life. I liked this movie much more than I did the last one, “Friends with Money,” mostly because I’ve sort of looked at these films and, you know, the first one “Walking and Talking” was sort of about, you know, you’re in your twenties, you’re in Manhattan, you’re sort of trying to make a go of it. “Friends with Money” was sort of like you’ve had some success, you live in LA, and I couldn’t really relate to that one quite as much. But this one is about, you know, you’re approaching middle age or you’ve hit it, and you’re feeling guilty about your place in the world and trying to make the world a slightly better place, and those are things that we all sort of deal with and she manages to sort of tap into those kind of emotional realities that are on people’s minds and give them personalities.

CAVANAUGH: Beth, Scott, anything you’d like to add to this…

MARKS: No.

CAVANAUGH: …to Anders’ description?

MARKS: No, I have nothing to say. That’s – Sorry. Sorry.

CAVANAUGH: I don’t believe that’s true, Scott.

MARKS: You know, the reason I liked this film was because this is one of my favorite genres. You don’t like any of the characters in this movie. They’re vultures, they’re mean people. It was so good to see Ann Guilbert. If you don’t know, Ann Guilbert was Millie Helper on the old “Dick Van Dyke Show.” She’s in her nineties now and she plays the cantankerous grandmother. And everybody’s talking about let’s get Betty White to host “Saturday Night Live.” No, I want Ann Guilbert.

CAVANAUGH: Uh-huh.

MARKS: She is so funny in this movie and so sharp and so nasty. And the way people interact in this movie is just fascinating…

WRIGHT: Umm-hmm.

ACCOMANDO: Umm-hmm.

MARKS: …to watch. I mean, that’s what really held me. This is an actors’ film. I don’t think she’s that – she has – Holofcener?

WRIGHT: Holofcener.

CAVANAUGH: Holofcener. Holof...

MARKS: Holofcener. Oh, yeah, it would be Yiddish. Holofcener. I don’t think she’s a visual stylist. I mean, in fact, I know she’s not a visual stylist because I’ve seen all four of her movies, but she has a great way with characters. The dialogue is right on.

ACCOMANDO: Yeah, dialogue is great.

MARKS: And she has this wonderfully dark sense of humor. Any film that opens up with women getting mammograms with this wonderful catchy little toe-tapping song underneath it, and it’s there for a point. Everything in this film is here for a point. So, yeah, I think that this is a great way to drop your eleven bucks.

CAVANAUGH: Beth, we have to take a break but would you just like to add anything about this?

ACCOMANDO: No, I agree. I mean, I think the thing I love about her films is the dialogue and the way she reveals character in this very kind of graceful, subtle way. And I like the fact that they are not—they are not—likable people. They are flawed and, you know, they’re not always admirable, so I…

MARKS: All of them.

WRIGHT: Umm-hmm.

ACCOMANDO: Yeah.

MARKS: All of them.

WRIGHT: Umm-hmm.

ACCOMANDO: I mean, they’re not horr…

MARKS: No, they’re not horrible. No, they’re not hateful.

ACCOMANDO: I mean, I don’t think they’re horrible people but they’re…

MARKS: No, they’re not hateful, no.

ACCOMANDO: …they’re definitely flawed and they definitely have pretensions about themselves and – but it’s just great to watch these characters because you just feel like you get to know them so well and sometimes you don’t want to know them that well in a certain way. I…

WRIGHT: Well, and they’re all struggling but what they’re struggling with is themselves.

ACCOMANDO: Umm-hmm.

CAVANAUGH: Want to take a short break and when we return, I want to talk just a couple of minutes about how Ms. Holofcener might be the female Woody Allen because that’s been – and also we’ll talk about the film “The Losers,” and give recommendations on what’s out in the theaters and on DVD. You’re listening to The KPBS Film Club of the Air on KPBS.

CAVANAUGH: Welcome back. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You're listening to These Days on KPBS. And my guests for the KPBS Film Club of the Air are Beth Accomando, Scott Marks, and Anders Wright. And we were just talking about the new film by Nicole Holofcener called “Please Give,” and talking about what her work might have in common with the work of Woody Allen because there’s been some comparisons drawn between the two. And I’m wondering, Beth, I’ll go to you because I had to cut you off before. Do you see any of those comparisons?

ACCOMANDO: I mean, I suppose in the sense of these being very kind of character driven stories with a focus on dialogue and that they’re smartly, you know, scripted. But tonally, I don’t really see them being exactly the same. I mean, I think she’s a little more unique.

WRIGHT: It seems to me like someone’s trying to stretch to find a…

ACCOMANDO: Yeah.

WRIGHT: …category to put her into.

ACCOMANDO: Yeah.

WRIGHT: But it’s more like the Woody Allen movies from the seventies or eighties, maybe, yeah.

ACCOMANDO: Umm-hmm.

CAVANAUGH: And Scott.

MARKS: Woody Allen hires better cinematographers.

CAVANAUGH: All right then. So what are – Is this – this – This movie surrounds the idea of women. Women, women, women. But is it a woman’s movie, Scott?

ACCOMANDO: It’s not a chick flick.

MARKS: No, no, that’s – No, that’s “Letters to Julia,” if you…

ACCOMANDO: Yeah.

MARKS: …want to see Oliver Platt really crash and burn in a Miller film. No, you know, and I hate that term ‘chick flick.’

WRIGHT: Yeah.

MARKS: A good movie…

CAVANAUGH: I do, too.

MARKS: …is a good movie is a good movie.

CAVANAUGH: Yeah.

MARKS: And what would that make a – what would that make “Deliverance?” A Richard flick? I mean, I don’t understand this. So, no, I don’t think this is a chick flick and I think it’s a very clever, funny movie. And I think it’s something that people would like to see.

WRIGHT: Yeah, it’s a character driven film.

MARKS: Yeah.

ACCOMANDO: Umm-hmm.

WRIGHT: And you just don’t see many movies like this sort of hit the inside of the theaters these days.

CAVANAUGH: “Please Give” opens at Landmark’s Hillcrest Cinemas on May seventh. Now the last movie that we’re going to be talking about and actually we’re going to have to sort of power through it. I think that we can.

ACCOMANDO: Which will make Scott happy.

CAVANAUGH: “The Losers” is the name of the film. It’s another film based on a comic book series.

MARKS: Ohh…

CAVANAUGH: A group of CIA operatives is abandoned in South America after their mission goes seriously wrong. It goes wrong because they follow orders and they bomb a village. They see a truckload of children enter the vicinity and they cannot call the bomb back. So after this, “The Losers” are dead to the CIA but they are determined to wreak havoc on the evil genius who set them up. So this is another movie, as I said, based on a comic book series. And we just got right-thinking on comic books from Beth a little while ago. Scott, how would you sum up the movie?

MARKS: All right, first of all, Zoe Saldana.

ACCOMANDO: Zoey (phonetically).

WRIGHT: Zoe.

MARKS: All right, Holofcener, okay. Where the hell did she come from and if this woman is in all these movies, why don’t we know more about her?

WRIGHT: Well, she’s going to be in every movie the rest of the year, so…

ACCOMANDO: Right.

MARKS: Yeah, the rest of our life, I have a feeling…

WRIGHT: Yeah, yeah.

MARKS: …or until she…

ACCOMANDO: No, no.

MARKS: …hits the wall. You know, I think that in a lot of ways this film is – Well, obviously, I think it’s much better than “Kick-Ass” because I like when they blew up the helicopter with the 25 kids in it.

ACCOMANDO: Oh.

MARKS: And here people are sitting complaining about you have one child that’s killing all these people, that’s there to be cool. This is here to make a point. I think the bad guy in this film, Jason Patric, with his Dr. No glove is very, very appealing.

ACCOMANDO: Oh, he’s great.

WRIGHT: He’s kick-ass.

ACCOMANDO: He is great.

MARKS: This is one of the best bad guys I’ve seen in a movie in a while. But it’s a comic book film, it’s still a film where a lot of characters speak exclusively in one-liners, which bothers me. Chris Evans is guilty of that. And some of the stuff is very funny but it’s all one-liners. So, I mean, if you’re going to go see a comic book film, I would suggest this. But I don’t know that either of these is going to be around much longer because they’re not pulling numbers at the box office.

CAVANAUGH: And Beth.

ACCOMANDO: This is, I think, the example of the PG-13 comic book movie. It really felt like it needed to be an ‘R’ and it wasn’t.

MARKS: But didn’t this feel like it was an ‘R’ rated film. That there was…

ACCOMANDO: No.

MARKS: …enough violence in there? No?

WRIGHT: You know, it was…

ACCOMANDO: No.

WRIGHT: …it was originally scheduled to be an ‘R’ and the director talked them down to a PG-13.

MARKS: Well, then the director’s an idiot.

WRIGHT: Well, it’s a – I mean, I personally – Sorry, I interrupted you but I…

ACCOMANDO: That’s okay.

WRIGHT: …I have issues with a movie like this where, you know, they’ll shoot 200 guys, there’s no blood at all…

ACCOMANDO: Yeah.

WRIGHT: …unless somebody, one of the main characters, gets a scratch. That, to me, is far more glorifying of violence…

MARKS: Oh, whoa, whoa, ‘R’, ‘R’, okay.

WRIGHT: …than something like “Kick-Ass.”

MARKS: So Nicolas Cage takes a gun…

WRIGHT: Rate it ‘R.’

MARKS: No, no, you don’t even know where I’m going with this. And shoots Chloe twice in the chest, and then she goes and they go to have dinner and there’s no bullet holes in the gun. Don’t you…

WRIGHT: Rate it ‘R.’ Rate it ‘R.’

ACCOMANDO: In the gun?

MARKS: I mean in her clothes. He shoots the kid and then as then, as a reward…

ACCOMANDO: Because you see the bullet hole, it’s tiny.

MARKS: You don’t see it in her clothes.

ACCOMANDO: Yeah, you see it in her down jacket. You see it in the shot…

MARKS: I…

ACCOMANDO: …you see it in the shot where she gets shot.

MARKS: When they’re in the diner. No, I’m talking about when they go…

ACCOMANDO: Okay, well, why…

MARKS: …to the dine…

CAVANAUGH: We cannot…

ACCOMANDO: What does that have to…

MARKS: I think it…

CAVANAUGH: We cannot move on from “Kick-Ass” but we must. We must.

ACCOMANDO: But what difference does that have…

CAVANAUGH: Speaking of “The Losers” now.

ACCOMANDO: …with violence being…

MARKS: Because I think if the kid would’ve walked in, you would’ve seen the bullet holes. It would’ve said something about the father and the relationship to the father.

CAVANAUGH: “Losers,” Beth. Go.

MARKS: How dare you discuss us in such a manner.

ACCOMANDO: It’s diverting. It’s diverting. I mean, I liked some of the actors. Jason Patric is a delight to watch. He is hilarious and his delivery on some of these lines is great. I liked Jeffrey Dean Morgan. I think he’s got some charisma and Chris Evans was funny. But it just – it just came up short.

WRIGHT: I found that as it ramps up to the big climactic ending I just got more and more bored as it got more and more ridiculous.

CAVANAUGH: Umm-hmm. Umm-hmm. Well, and I know there’s some handheld camera work that you love, Scott.

MARKS: Loved it. Thought it was great. Give me more comic book films.

CAVANAUGH: “The Losers” is currently playing in area theaters. Well, now we come to our final recommendations for this month’s Film Club of the Air. And we’re going to go round the table and see what everyone has to share with our listeners. Let’s start with Beth.

ACCOMANDO: Well, I want to recommend probably what is the worst film I have seen in decades. It’s “The Room.” They do a midnight screening at the Ken. It’s become something of a cult hit. It’s from 2003, actually. It’s an older film. But it has become quite popular and what I like about this is I like films – I love midnight movies and I like these films that have this kind of community feeling so when you go to the theater, everybody’s there to have fun. There’s kind of a script you follow in the sense of how you react to the stuff that’s going on on the screen and everybody goes there knowing that this is the most god-awful film ever made.

CAVANAUGH: I was going to stop you…

ACCOMANDO: …and it’s hilarious.

CAVANAUGH: …and say, so you are standing by the idea that this, indeed, is one of the worst…

ACCOMANDO: It’s one of the most horrible – It is deliciously bad. I can’t believe…

CAVANAUGH: What is it about?

ACCOMANDO: It’s so mundane. It’s a guy whose girlfriend starts to have an affair with his best friend but it – there are these awful, extended, painfully drawn out sex scenes. There is – The actor himself, Tommy Wiseau, who also directed it, produced it, wrote it, and is reaping the rewards of its midnight success, he can’t deliver lines. He – The script is terrible. There’s nothing good about it. There’s cheesy green screen in it. Yeah, I mean…

CAVANAUGH: So is this like a movie where somebody would go and wear a costume?

ACCOMANDO: Yeah, some people wear – well, not so much, but every now and then you’ll see somebody in a tuxedo, throwing a football. Throwing a football’s very important in this movie, including on the roof. It’s really dumb. You bring spoons. You need to bring plastic spoons. Every time you see this picture of a spoon in the film, people throw spoons up at the screen. But it’s just so bad that you just revel in it. You’re – I mean, everybody – Every time there’s a bad line of dialogue, the audience responds and you fill in the gaps and you yell questions at it. And I’ve gone with groups of 20 people and we take up two or three rows and it’s a great time. It’s just fun. It’s the kind of thing you might do in your living room where you show a movie, you go like, oh, I can’t believe how cheesy bad this is, you guys have to watch this with me. And then you sit and you watch it and you do nothing but tear it apart. And it’s great fun. And I like that kind of experience, I like – I mean, one of the reasons why I like movies is that you go with a group of people. I don’t particularly like just sitting home alone watching a DVD. It’s fun to go and either experience it with other people or talk about it after the film. And in this particular case, the film is so bad you do not care if there’s all this heckling going on. A friend of mine went and he said in the first few minutes he was going like, God, everybody’s talking, I don’t know if this is going to work. And 10 minutes into the film he goes, no, no, no, no, no, we need more heckling, we need more yelling at the screen because that’s what makes it part of that whole experience, so…

CAVANAUGH: So tell us again where and when.

ACCOMANDO: It’s “The Room”…

CAVANAUGH: Umm-hmm.

ACCOMANDO: …and it’s playing midnight, Saturday at midnight, at the Ken Cinema.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you, Beth. I’m not even going to ask you how many times you’ve seen it.

ACCOMANDO: And there’s a RiffTrax version, too.

CAVANAUGH: Scott, what do you want to recommend to the listeners?

MARKS: Warner Bros. has this new packet of DVDs that are on demand, basically where you give them twenty bucks and they will press whatever DVD is in their catalog. And I know you have the link that’s going to be on the KPBS website…

CAVANAUGH: Yes, yes. We have…

MARKS: …so you can go on there.

CAVANAUGH: Right. Exactly.

MARKS: These are all, for the most part, older films and there’s so many obscure films on here by great directors, films like “The Man I Love,” the Raoul Walsh film noir, which was a prime influence on Scorsese’s “New York New York.” “The Mortal Storm,” the most beautiful romantic war melodrama ever made, Margaret Sullivan and Jimmy Stewart, Frank Borzage. Another great Frank Borzage film, “Three Comrades,” based on a story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. These are just terrific movies. Turner shows them once in a while but if you want to own them, I mean, here’s your chance. And I think they also offer the option where you can just, you know, download it and burn your own CD. But they run…

CAVANAUGH: So explain this to me again, though, Scott. So it provides a list of…

MARKS: Yeah, you get a list of a couple hundred films…

CAVANAUGH: Umm-hmm.

MARKS: …and you can’t buy these in stores. The only way you can get them is if you send them a credit card number and say I want a copy of this, will you burn a copy for me? And it’s basically on demand. They’ll burn a copy, whatever movies you want. They’re anywhere between sixteen to twenty bucks apiece, which I think is steep. But I think shipping is free, so you have that to look forward to. But I still think they shouldn’t be charging more than ten bucks apiece for these because these aren’t really films that are – people aren’t kicking down the doors to get to these films. But, I mean, if you want to see great films by Anthony Mann, Fritz Lang, I mean, there’s a lot of great directors that are represented and these are all – the “Little Rascals,” if you want to see the whole second half of the “Little Rascals,” the ten minute ones they did for MGM, those are on there, too. So this is terrific. But they’re mostly old. I think “Mike’s Murder” was the only one that I saw, what was that, ’84, with Debra Winger, the one that really shows – If you want to know what life was like in contemporary LA in 1984, get a copy of “Mike’s Murder.” It’s a horrifying film.

CAVANAUGH: How long have they been doing this, do you know, Scott?

MARKS: Oh, about down to here. I don’t know, I think about three, four months. They’re all doing it. Turner does it. That’s the only way you can get “Remember the Night,” which is a Christmas film with Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray that I would put right up there with “It’s a Wonderful Life.” So they’re doing it, Universal has brought some on demand films on board, and I think Fox has, too. But this is just a new phenomena, which is – it’s kind of sad because I think DVDs are pretty much on their way out. I think everything is going to be pressed…

ACCOMANDO: Oh, they’re dead.

MARKS: …individually and kids are going to take Sharpies, write the name of the movie with a Sharpie on the disk and that’s it, forget about box art, forget about anything. So this is like the last gasp of DVDs, and I don’t think Blu-rays are going exactly where the studios wanted them to go. I don’t think the sales are that phenomenal. But the prices are coming down on Blu-rays so that’s good. But this is more of a connoisseur collection of DVDs.

CAVANAUGH: You wonder why they just don’t offer that catalog in an on demand service, like in a – on a satellite channel or a cable.

MARKS: You know, they very well may but I don’t have that capability. No, I’m surprised why I can’t go to Sam Goody’s and pick up a, you know…

CAVANAUGH: Right.

MARKS: …”Three Comrades” or something like that. But then again, there are no more places really to buy DVDs in San Diego, now that Blowout, you know, burned down and Tower is gone.

CAVANAUGH: Right.

MARKS: There’s not that many outlets to buy or really rent. You know, Kensington – Citizen Video just closed. So, you know, you basically have good old Kensington Video. They are there for the duration.

ACCOMANDO: Yeah.

CAVANAUGH: I do want to let everyone know that all the films and all the roundtable recommendations will be on the KPBS website, KPBS.org. Anders, your recommendation.

WRIGHT: Okay, you’re going to kill me because I have three and I’m going to bang through them quickly.

CAVANAUGH: All right. Okay.

WRIGHT: I know that two of them are not on your list.

CAVANAUGH: Okay.

WRIGHT: So first of all, tomorrow night at The Loft on the UCSD campus, there’s a collection of short films that screened at the Cannes Film Festival and it’s being put together by some student curators, and I’ll be there afterwards to lead a post-screening Q&A so come on over and buy me a drink. Number two, on Friday, I believe it starts at 7:00 p.m. at the Media Arts Center, there’s a fundraiser for Giancarlo Ruiz, a filmmaker who lives in Tijuana, works here in San Diego, whose short film “St. Jacques” has gotten into a shorts program at Cannes. It’s the first time a Tijuana filmmaker has gotten into Cannes at all. And if you show up and pay ten bucks, you’ll get a copy of the movie yourself. Lastly, it’s not a competition but he is going out there to show it to a bunch of people and so anyway…

MARKS: But I’ve never heard where you go to a movie and you can watch the movie and then take it home with you for the same price tag.

WRIGHT: Yeah, yeah, I know.

ACCOMANDO: Well, it’s a short.

WRIGHT: Yeah, it’s a short, so…

CAVANAUGH: Yeah.

MARKS: Okay.

CAVANAUGH: That’s great.

WRIGHT: Lastly, my friend Hal Hartley has just remastered his terrific short, “Surviving Desire” and also released a bunch of short films, a new collection called “Possible Films 2.” You can buy them on DVD or you can go to his website, possiblefilms.com and download them yourself.

CAVANAUGH: We gotta wrap.

ACCOMANDO: Yea.

MARKS: And isn’t Benjamin Bratt in town this weekend, real quick? Do a plug. Benjamin Bratt’s going to…

ACCOMANDO: Yes.

MARKS: …be in town with “La Mission.”

WRIGHT: Yeah.

MARKS: I think Saturday night or go on the Landmark website.

ACCOMANDO: Saturday, May first.

MARKS: Yeah.

CAVANAUGH: We have to wrap. I want to thank you all so much, Beth Accomando, Scott Marks and Anders Wright, thank you for being here. And you’ve been listening to the KPBS Film Club of the Air on KPBS. All right…

Comments

Avatar for user 'micheleguieu'

micheleguieu | April 28, 2010 at 7:51 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

I enjoyed the program very much! I regret I could not see Beth's purple wig :)
I will definitely go see "Exit by the Gift Shop". Thanks!

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Avatar for user 'Beth Accomando'

Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | April 28, 2010 at 8:46 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

Hey I posted a picture of me in my purple wig on my blog. Thanks for listening.

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Avatar for user 'shawnman'

shawnman | April 29, 2010 at 8:57 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

Enjoyed yesterday's show very much, as always. I wanted to comment, however, on the difference between a Woody Allen film and a Nicole H. (spelling?) film, and the answer is romance, and love. These two are in short supply in NIcole H. films...I hope this changes with Please Give. The couples in Friends With Money were either openly hostile to each other or completely indifferent to one another...which makes for slightly boring, monotonous filmmaking. Nicole makes humorous, thought provoking films, which I appreciate very much, but is nowhere near the level of Woody Allen. I grimaced when that comparison was brought up. Otherwise, great show..love your work Beth! Wish I had your job.........

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Avatar for user 'anderswright'

anderswright | April 29, 2010 at 11:18 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

Hey Shawnman--I think you'll find that Please Give is much better than Friends With Money--more in line with Nicole's other films. I feel like all of her pictures are about stages of life, and that one was about dealing with having some success in LA, something that's really tough to relate to if you don't live that life. This one was NY-centric, but it's much more universal.

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