THUMBAPALOOZA: MUSICAL ENDS FEST ON A HAPPY NOTE

Okay. Perhaps staying out until four AM eating Steak-n-Shake wasn’t a good idea. I felt like a cold french fry emerging from a cold deep fat fryer. But in the morning I found refuge – in a hot hotel shower. Not long after, Mike and I checked out of our hotel and headed to the festival. The first screening didn’t start until 1pm, so we had some time to waste. We ended up eating at Chinese restaurant across the street from The Virginia Theater.
Soon we made our way back to the theater and talked with some people enjoying the warm weather outside. One lady from the Parks Department gave us some festival tips for when we return in 2002. She also told us a story about when Roger was going to college between 1960 and 1964. She said, “My husband played with the Chicago Bears and when he was playing, we opened up a bar/restaurant on campus called Stan’s Grid Iron. Roger was in school here like from 1960 to 1964, so I asked him if he remembered having a beer and a braut at Stan’s Grid Iron. He said, ‘Oh sure and he remembered it real well.’ That was exciting he remembered.”
Well, we found our way into The Virginia Theater and got our front row seats. By the way, I NEVER sit in the front row. But this film festival was the exception. It was simply easier to take pictures and view the panelists when they discussed film.
Only one film was scheduled today – “Everyone Says I Love You.” It was a good choice to show because people were sad about the festival ending today and the movie’s energy and fun lifted up everyone’s spirits. Following the movie, Roger had a panel discussion with producer Jean Doumanian. She is a part of Woody Allen’s film making clan. She was asked questions about Woody Allen and his films. Jean talked about how much Woody is a perfectionist, and an audience member asked how long it took to film some of the scenes in the movie. She replied, “It would take one or two – sometimes many, many takes.”
Ebert mentioned to Jean on stage that just one scene in “Songs from the Second Floor” took the director two months to film. Jean replied, “Is he in the right business?” The audience laughed.
Woody pumps out at least one movie a year and pretty much gets any actors he chooses. This film was no exception and featured such stars as Goldie Hawn, Alan Alda, Drew Barrymore, Edward Norton, Julia Roberts and Tim Roth. Oh, and Woody himself (of course, I’m sure it didn’t take much to talk himself into playing a part in his own movie).
I was pleasantly surprised by the film. Don’t overlook it. ^ ============================
REVIEW: ^ EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU (1996) ^ * * * * * out of five stars ^ “Everyone Says I Love You” is probably one of Woody Allen’s best films. And what a perfect film to show at the end of “Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival.” You leave The Virginia Theater in a very positive mood – feeling refreshed by the wonderful musical numbers and the natural acting by such big stars.
Roger Ebert described the film in his review as “a movie that remembers the innocence of the old Hollywood musicals and combines it with one of Allen’s funniest and most labyrinthian plots, in which complicated New Yorkers try to recapture the simplicity of first love.”
We need more movies like this – period. Watching the stars of today doing an old fashioned musical worked – and worked well. Ed Norton was extremely impressive and Goldie Hawn was an angel in one scene where she dances with Woody Allen – floating gently across the big screen literally.
Ebert said, “When Edward Norton turns to Drew Barrymore and sings ‘Just You, Just Me,’ the movie finds a freshness and charm that never ends.”
One funny note mentioned at the festival is that Woody Allen allowed all the actors to sing using their own voices – except for Drew Barrymore. According to Allen, she just plain cannot sing. But nevertheless, the scenes worked for Barrymore because she has such a nice screen presence about her.
We definitely need more musicals. Maybe not a lot of them, but every once in a while it would be nice to see a quality musical production made for the big screen. It is not only fun to watch, but interesting to see the broad range of talent in current day film actors and actresses we don’t normally get a chance to experience.
Do not overlook this film. Excellent closing film, Roger!
Read Herb Kane’s final report from “Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival” and find out — does Roger get a thumbs up or a thumbs down?>>>




Posted on May 6, 2001 in Festivals by
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