Friday, April 28, 2006

A Definition of "Overlooked" (and, Apparently, a Dig at Mamet)

Okay. Technically, as I've mentioned a few places elsewhere, this festival is entitled "Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival." Which means, as a few filmmakers commented at the president's opening gala, that inclusion in the lineup is a queasy honor. It also is a bit confusing, given that films like My Fair Lady were, are ridonkulously huge. So what gives?

Roger's official explanation is that "overlooked" has many interlocking definitions, depending on the given film. Somebodies, for example, might be called "prelooked." (Not to confused with precooked. For serious!) There are real-life "overlooked" films, like the excellent Ripley's Game, which was plain robbed in terms of distribution. Then there are movies that I truly believe were not overlooked, but, rather, looked at by a handful of people who opted to save everyone else's time by limiting their release. Enter Spartan, Mamet's 2004 crap-action film that buckled under his poorly conceived internationalist plot and, oh, his stilted (not stylized) dialogue.

And for the record, it is not because I am a feminist that I don't like the unremittingly male Mamet, as some have suggested. J'love such guilty pleasures as bloody, sweaty action pics, but Mamet is no pleasure. He thought of one good party-trick 20-odd years ago and somehow people keep giving him money to trot it out. Perhaps if they let the dude out of Maine he might learn how people really talk.

Right. Anyway, the easiest way to define "overlooked" for the purpose of this festival is "what Roger digs."


Blogger ebrown2112 said...


Perhaps, after you teach David Mamet to write dialogue, you could show Lance Armstrong to ride a bike.

4:59 PM  
Blogger filmblog30 said...

I agree with Lisa. Perhaps most of Mamet's friends have Chronic Hiccup, and this is the only dialogue he hears. Or perhaps his keyboard is missing the s key, and the n key, and r s t and l. Or perhaps Lance Armstrong is his ghost writer, and what he puts on paper is all he hears when he's flying by the competition. Whatever the reason for such boring non-sensical verse, I'm still glad I saw this film ... it saved me a night of Lunesta.

9:59 PM  

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