Archive for category LA Nightlife

Jason Reitman brings “The Princess Bride” to life again at LACMA

Amanda Edwards, Wireimage

Last night I finally made it to one of Jason Reitman’s “Live Read” events at LACMA. The series began a few months ago in conjunction with Film Independent and the idea is very simple. Mr. Reitman is taking his favorite scripts and inviting his friends to do live readings in front of an audience at the LACMA Bing theater. The series has taken off like a shot and tickets sell out immediately, both because Mr. Reitman has made clever script choices and because he some very talented and famous friends.

“The Breakfast Club” reading included Jennifer Garner, Patton Oswalt, James Van Der Beek, and Mindy Kaling. “The Apartment” (one of my favorite films, based on the brilliant screenplay by Billy Wilder) was next and the charming leads once played by Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine were read by Steve Carrell and Natalie Portman. The supporting cast included Mindy Kaling again, Ken Jeong, Pierce Brosnan, JK Simmons, Collette Wolfe, Jake Johnson, and Nick Kroll.

You can see why this has become such a hot ticket.

And now on to last night. “The Princess Bride” is such a beloved film and well regarded screenplay (and book, for those of you that haven’t read it, you should run out and buy it right now. It’s even funnier and darker than the film) that the audience behaved like it was at a rock concert and it was seeing a reunion tour of it’s favorite band. It was crazy. I will introduce the cast as it was introduced to us:

Kevin Pollack: Miracle Max
Nick Kroll: Count Rugen
Bill Fagerbaake: Fezzick
Goran Visjnic: Inigo Montoya
Patton Oswalt: Vizzini
Westley: Paul Rudd
Buttercup: Mindy Kaling

And playing the role originated by Fred Savage was . . . FRED SAVAGE! . . . wearing a Chicago Bears jersey. He got a standing ovation. And then surprises continued when Jason Reitman brought in the film’s director, Rob Reiner, and announced he would be reading the part of the grandfather. The place went wild. And then for the final twist: Mr. Reitman brought Cary Elwes, the original Westley, on stage and announced he would be reading the part of Count Humperdink. It was inconceivable!

The cast was terrific. Patton Oswald, Nick Kroll and Cary Elwes in particular were hilarious, but then the villains always have the most fun. Patton Oswald also gave added depth and guffaws to a fencing scene by supplying the sound effects via two spoons.

Hearing the screenplay read aloud was a reminder of what an incredible piece of writing it is, not a line wasted. I think this William Goldman has a future (Although, I do have to say that seeing the entire cast lined up on stage you did see what a male dominated cast it was, and having comedienne Mindy Kaling read Buttercup only emphasized how bland the princess’ lines were. She literally doesn’t have one joke in the whole film.)

The next Live Read is already sold out and Jason Reitman hasn’t even announced what it is yet. But I assure you it will be the place to see and be seen.

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The Pixies Dammit!

Circa 1990


Last night I hauled my keister up to Bakersfield to see the Pixies and their amazing Doolittle tour. Well worth the trip. They played the entire album, start to finish, from the first track. Such a simple thing that bands rarely do live, and it was crazy satisfying, like eating a a five course meal and knowing there won’t be one dish you don’t like.

A piece of trivia I’ve just learned and love is that when singer Frank Black (Black Francis at the time, but born Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV) and guitarist Joey Santiago were looking for a bassist back in college, they put out a classified ad for a “female who listened to both folk music and Hüsker Dü.” And of course, they ended up with Kim Deal. Perfect.



I’m not going to lie. It was a little shocking to see their raw middle-aged selves. I’m sure for all of us there it was a splash of reality. None of us are exactly spring chickens anymore. I was also surprised by how outnumbered the female fans were by the males. There were TONS of hipster dudes in their forties, bobbing up and down, who knew every word to every song. Me and my female friends were really into the Pixies in college so I was surprised to see the lack of representation. Maybe they were all home with the kids?

Here is a video of good quality to make you nostalgic and then one of bad quality that I shot last night. Following that is an interesting interview with David Bowie where he talks about the long term influence the Pixies have had on rock.



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Early Screening of “The Artist,” plus interview with Michel Hazanavicius

Saw an early screening of “The Artist” tonight and it’s my favorite film so far of 2011. The lead actor Jean Dujardin needs a Best Actor nomination, although I would give an award to the dog, too. The director, Michel Hazanavicius (whose other films I now need to get from Netflix immediately) told the audience that at first he wanted to remake “The Invisible Man” until he realized that making a silent film with an invisible protagonist was a really BAD idea.

Enjoy this podcast of the Q&A which followed the screening between host Jeff Goldsmith and writer/director Michael Hazanavicius. It’s fascinating.

And here’s the trailer!


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