By: Ariel Fixler
In my darkest hours film saved me. When I was so sick and I couldn’t move or even speak I had film. There is no better feeling in the world when you discover a new film that is under the radar. That instance when you see a film that you had zero expectations for (going into it) and it inspires and helps you. A film that is under the radar but somehow manages to raise your heightened sensitivity and awareness. A film that allows you the ability to enjoy the medium all over again. A film that allows you to laugh and learn at a time in your life where you didn’t think that was plausible. Some examples of films that I saw this year (that fit that description and that helped me) were “Obvious Child” and the documentary “Supermensch”.
Film was my career of choice. Film and screenwriting (later on) became my therapeutic outlet of choice to tell my story, in my words which were imbued with both humor and sadness. I later sold that screenplay and it is currently in development (hopefully pre-production by the time the people read this post). I wrote for comedy writers during my illness and was so excited to see my material… well materialize.
Film was my escape and the source of my excitement. I was a member of the WGA (Writers Guild of America) and the PGA (Producers Guild of America). During my illness I received some film screeners in advance. The plethora of my film screeners came from my film family. A family that stood by me through everything. A family that helped me when I couldn’t help myself and had faith that I would turn the cards I was dealt into something for the greater good. Even when I thought they were nuts and was riddled with sadness.
This isn’t a post about what mentor did what or what friendship with which actor or actress changed me (they know who they are and we have had our private gratitude filled moments). This is how a medium inspired me, became my calling, changed me, excited me and made me want to better my life and be a better person TIME and TIME AGAIN. They were right I did turn a medium I loved into a way to entertain and bring joy to those in grave suffering. I did just that. I used the resources and connections I had amassed to create a film and TV screening program at NYC hospitals. The program is now seamlessly operating productively at 3 large NYC Hospitals and 2 subsidized long-term care facilities (and another NYC facility sponsored by the American Cancer Society). So I brought my love of film and its ability to bring people together to a whole new healing level. I am beyond proud of this program.
I fell in love with film at early age. I used to hang up movie posters and clippings from the New York Times weekly. My friend Shanna and I recently recalled my love for my weekly Friday trips to my mailbox. Why? On Fridays my copies of Premiere Magazine (RIP) and Entertainment Weekly were in my mailbox. I remember watching films in Shanna’s “great room” like it was yesterday. No eating in the “great room” but lots of movies including our favorites “Mad Love” “Bye Bye Love” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. Okay we snuck in our Snackwell’s snacks sorry Aileen and Matty. When Shanna came to my house, we jetted downstairs and spent hours watching “Empire Records” “Just one of the guys” and “Teen Witch”. If you have never seen Rachel Antonoff’s Fashion recreation video of “Teen Witch’s Top That” you are missing out. My classmate, Daniel Silbert is in the video.
My camp friend, Zoe Meltzer, had a connection to TV and film and at an early age I caught “the acting bug”. Though to be fair it was not my natural calling (I was mathematically challenged). Zoe’s father, Howard, worked at HBO on different docuseries (remember those “family in crisis” series back in the 90s). He was the OG of the HBO original movies and I was entranced by his producing skills and knowledge. He seemed to have a passion for what he did and I wanted that same zeal. He placed Zoe and I in WNET Mathnet series and till my early 20’s I still got 59 cent residuals from the cameo and background work. Who said PBS, Channel 13 and WNET was a not for profit station? Though I was awful at math the experience brought me great joy. Even my prom date was a child star on my favorite childhood series “Brooklyn Bridge”. Well to be fair we traveled in Israel together via USY in my teen angst ridden years, but hey I still call it fate filled. Talk about a calling being eerie, destiny and kissmeant.
The walls of my childhood bedroom didn’t have pop stars or bubblegum Teen BOP clippings. My childhood wall was an ever-changing clipboard of movies that I wanted to see and took the time to see. It was an inspiration board of sorts. They were my inspiration to do my schoolwork because they were my hefty reward. I remember I treated myself to a 9:45am showing of “Good Will Hunting” (after a series of high school exams).
I used to rewind and re-watch movies we rented (before they had to be returned to Blockbuster). I did this because I wasn’t ready to let go of the film. I wanted to hold on and snapshot my favorite moments. I wrote reviews for my school and college newspaper. I have had the same DVD player I got when I was 15 years old. I took it with me to every new apartment and home I rented. I had my built-in VCR/TV in my apartment until 2009. I just couldn’t let go of the film memories.
The moment I knew what I wanted to do with my life was in the year 2000. My good friend from high school (Matt Goldman) and I attended a test screening of a film called “Bounce”. We were film geeks and history buffs, though ironically we bonded over our love for “Empire Records” and the film’s epic soundtrack. We had been goofing off in Wayne, NJ the weekend before with our friends, Ben Jorgensen, Evan Winiker, Julia Bressman and I believe Josh Nadel since he was going to be my senior prom date. And maybe my friend Daniel Silbert only because I cannot imagine I was hanging out with those people and he wasn’t there. I think we were goofing off at one of their houses in Bergen County (Matt and I lived further south in NJ).
We went “up there” on weekends to “hang” with the kids I felt who got me the most. Even though I hung out with probably a different group of friends at school sometimes, these “Bergen Boys and Girls” were artsy, musically inclined and smart as hell. Today these people are some of the most intelligent and driven people I know. I feel pretty damn fortunate I have pretty much kept in some form of “touch” with everyone I mentioned above. These people made my later years in high school EASIER and MORE ADVENTUROUS, CULTURED and all around JOYFUL.
I loved attending concerts and punk shows with the “guys” and the girls who also were that kind of chill (pictured above, Julia, Abby and Rachel). We went to VFW rock shows and even (gasp) Fred Durst, Kid Rock and Eminem shows. We went to diners late night and sometimes went our separate ways and reconvened at a midwest airport at 5am with our “WASH U college tour guides” (ahem me and Julia). Sorry Amy Watenmaker (ALROSENB@wustl.edu) for being your raunchy weekenders.
We were wild and free-spirited and didn’t take ourselves all that seriously. The guys, Julia and I ended up somehow in the parking lot of the shopping center/mall in Wayne, NJ (because Josh lived there I assume). A film recruiter (which I was later in life) handed us these hot orange paper passes. He told us to RSVP via email for a movie screening. Not much has changed in that department even today, that is still the “recruitment” process.
So Matt and I decided after school (we were in our senior year) that we would listen to music at his house and then go to the screening. His mom was the coolest and so was his whole family and kinda let us do what we wanted. Like my parents, they trusted our instincts that the screening was not a scam. Let’s be honest we thought it was super cool and had our hopes high. The movie “Bounce” starred Ben Affleck and his then girlfriend Ms. Paltrow. This was back in the day when the movie studios paid their random assortment of demographically appropriate attendees in CASH. We got paid $10 in cash. WOAH.
After the film, they had a question and answer section. I gave my honest opinion on the film. If you know me well, my opinions are honest and brutal (especially concerning film and TV). So I said the movie itself was a copycat version of a movie I had seen last year with my father called “Random Hearts”. It was also a plane crash/love story hybrid movie plot. The movie starred Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas and came out in 1999. I gave my opinion about the film and felt like I had earned my $10. Well to my surprise, the head of the studio (head of Miramax now the Weinstein Company) was in the back row with the star of the movie (Ben Affleck). I knew who he was immediately because of the whole success of his movies from the year before, “Shakespeare in Love” and “Good Will Hunting”. Mr. Weinstein was a regular on the awards circuit and pushing indies (my inspirational bread and butter). I learned later on this was a regular “thing” when first testing a movie. I also learned later on all the Weinstein distributed movies were first tested at this random multiplex in Wayne, NJ (thank you Jon Favreau and Billy Bob Thorton for enlightening me).
Anyways, I digress, so the head of the test screening firm took me aside and said, “someone would like to speak to you”. I got nervous (I needed that 10 dollars for gas money). Mr. Weinstein in all his legendary intimidation came up to me and told me he appreciated my opinion and asked my age. I said I was 17 and I loved film. At this point Matt was waiting for me outside the theatre. I explained my love and the impact it had on my life (briefly). He gave me his business card introduced me to Mr. Affleck and asked for my mailing address and email address so I could be on future screening invite lists. He said they needed less “Yes Men” and more opinions. Mr. Affleck was apathetic as he was in those days. When I met him later on in life (I worked on a few of his films marketing them and testing them) he was nothing but an intelligent and sweet guy. He also has a truly beautiful gift of being able to write and write very well. I told him about our run-in and he was a gentleman as was his partner in crime, Matt Damon. One of my favorite and most genuine actors I ever got to work on a marketing campaign with. I was a champion of Project Greenlight (their series about helping undiscovered filmmakers and screenwriters) which is coming back in 2015. They gave me a signed copy of the original series as a gift when I started development on my screenplay.
So till this day I remain on the Weinstein Company invite list. I have no idea how I stayed on it through the Miramax to Weinstein Company transition. When I worked in the film and test screening subset, (later on life) I was floored every movie studio used the same movie theatre to test their films (in good old Wayne, New Jersey). It all came full circle (almost like it was scripted).
I even met Harvey Weinstein later in life and my cousin, Katie Broomfield worked directly for him. Though Harvey was a competitor at all the award shows I attended and reminded me of that sheer fact. He was a machine and I admired him (while also remaining scared shitless of his tone and the way he screamed). I interviewed for a job working for him and his brother Bob after I was an NBC page. I will be honest I was intimidated to no end and he sensed it. I also did not get the job. The girl who did get the job ended up being a good friend of mine when we met at one of her screenings. To be frank, there are few people in life who scare the shit out of me. Harvey is one of them in a really good way. He pushes you to think and work hard and yells and kicks your ass. He also taught me how not get caught when you don’t recognize someone (Conan relayed the same tip when I was page for his NBC show). Always say nice to see you and not nice to meet you, because it’s a harmless greeting just in case you have met them before (and then offend them before you even start a conversation).
Anyways Harvey later partnered up with both studios I worked to distribute his films. He went from indie to mainstream film in the past 10 years. I recollected our run-ins when I saw him out one night pre Golden Globes 2007, he at least pretended to remember me and said “Nice to see you”. He also laughed when I told him my story of interviewing for him. He was surprised because it seemed I had balls and was a ball-buster. I said I was and he paused and said “You want to be well liked don’t you?” I responded “Yes I enjoy being well-regarded in the film community and the friends I made in entertainment”. He shouted, “That’s your problem KID. People who get the shit done and really make shit happen are not well liked they are feared and because of that they are revered”. That always stuck with me and he was right.
I won’t mention who in the Hollywood also intimidated me (because this isn’t the place for that) and if you know me… You know who they are and who made me cry during a press junket by calling me the “C” word. I wish I got to work with 3 actors I truly admired by watching them during press junkets (they had intelligence and wit galore). Those actors were Sam Rockwell and Chris Evans and Kyle Chandler. They were so different yet so similar in many respects. They were the kind of men who exuded manliness but also had a wicked sense of self, humor and awareness. I challenge you to youtube.com interviews of them (especially Chris Evans) and be amazed of how affable they are. Believe it or Kyle Chandler wants do a comedy rather badly and he would be great at it.
Friend wise, I always said my friend Robin Arzon is the same as pit bull Harvey Weinstein. See pictures below for badassery incarnate. She is a ball buster, people look up to her and idolize her (which I tease her ceaselessly about). She has fangirls and fanboys. But in the end, we call each other out on BS and have the most honest talks you will ever have. We are softees that try to be too tough to crack or “get it”. When we have our alone time, we break down those walls we put up to be “touch chicks and ball busters”. I told her once that had she chosen a different path, she could have a head of studio like Harvey or a movie mogul. That to me is the highest compliment.
My love of film expanded to all mediums especially film critique. I wanted to be my own version of Roger Ebert or A.O. Scott. I recently saw “Life Itself”, (the Roger Ebert documentary on his life reviewing film, his inspirations and film centered relationships). How it was more than a career for him. Roger Ebert saw his life as a movie. He expounded upon the fact that film taught him so much. Film criticism takes sheer finesse. It guided his life and his choices. He passed down those tender memories and moments to everyone he knew. He spotlighted people who were undiscovered and took the time with film, as if it were one of his children. That’s how I felt. I also was a habitual viewer of Roger and Ebert’s “At the Movies” television show for years. Then watched as my friend, Ben Lyons, who took over the syndicated broadcast. I met Roger Ebert many times and he was always so kind and generous to me (even when we had a lousy film to screen for him). He laughed that I was star struck more by him than any of the movie stars I was ushering down the red carpet and into his junkets. I respected him because he respected the medium (and the honesty and critique that went with it).
As I started to become ill I wanted to take my passion and see if it could be used as a source of enjoyment and escape for others. I started creating programs at the local NY hospitals and Cancer treatment centers in NY. When you are in the hospital you miss out on so much. You never feel ahead of the curve and experience every joy after the fact. People try to engage you during their visits with new and current films and TV. You feel so lost and behind. You never are the first to see anything.
So I asked my friends who worked in both the television and film mediums to help me out. I wanted to create advance screenings of films (before they were released in theaters). I wanted these screenings to be at the hospital or long-term facilities. I wanted them to be for all ages. I also wanted to screen new TV shows and pilots (to support my friends who worked in the medium). To sweeten the pot, I asked if some of the stars, directors, writers and producers could attend the hospital screenings. I wanted the creators and stars to have a dialogue about how the show or film was created and what inspired the content. My friends organized the screenings, provided free healthy snacks and gift bags and even allowed the hospital staff to attend. It made me so happy. A lot of the filmmakers and actors who attended were friends of mine and seeing them share their love of the film medium with my fellow patients made me so elated. The experience allowed me to see the crossover potential of the film and television medium.
Here is a snapshot of why film saved my spirit and my soul.
When I started my first job in film I was working for Matthew McConaughey and his production company, J.K. Livin. I was such a fearful upstart. I could spew out facts like a human imdb.com, but when it came to working a real job as an assistant and production assistant I struggled deeply. I struggled with camera operation and directions. Since I struggled with a life-long learning disability, I woke up much earlier than anyone else. WHY? I wanted to study my daily tasks and make sure I was meticulously organized for my boss and my crew.
I was recovering from a drug addiction (Cocaine addiction) and had recently spent 3 weeks in outpatient rehab at St. Luke’s Roosevelt and was trying to live out my dream while finishing my bachelor’s degree locally. I was attending NA (Narcotics Anonymous) on the side. I signed up for an internship with J.K. Livin (as it was posted that way on my school’s internship site). I had a gut feeling no one (but IMDB crazy old me) knew it was Matthew’s company. I worked on 2 films that summer “Sahara” and ” Failure to Launch”. I got to film and live in Austin, Texas. I got to be supported by my boss’s friends who were also in Narcotics Anonymous. He also had experience with friends who had addiction proclivities. His co-stars struggled as well and they were candid about it.
After my summer, I was offered a job at J.K. Livin after graduation. This job offer meant I had to live in Austin. I was torn to leave my family and my hometown of New York. My dad was getting sicker and I wanted to be close to home.
The previous summer I had spent my time working for a movie-marketing firm that ran film screenings and recruited people to attend them. During that time I had my first taste of networking. After the screenings and clean up I would network with the film studios for which we recruited. Universal Pictures was our main client and there was this super friendly marketing executive named Scott. He would always take all the recruiters out after the screening. We once had a great night at a drag queen bar after our drag queen theme movie test screening (the movie was Connie and Carla). You could tell all the recruiters wanted out of the recruiting game and dreamt of being a studio rep. I knew I was just a number but it was my dream. I got to become great friends with Scott. He enjoyed my humor and encouraged me to go for it. I set him up and match-made him with all my friends until I successfully set him up with his future wife (my friend Jodi who worked as an agent at CAA and now is a successful producer).
So I declined Matthews offer (citing that I didn’t want to work in Texas at this point in my life and wanted to be among my family and friends). That was one of my biggest “What If” moments of a road not taken with Matthew (even back then before the McCounaghey Renaissance). I knew he was intelligent and so cerebral and kind, even if Hollywood saw him as Rom-com or Action movie man. I explained what my dream job was and without flinching he told me was in pre-production for a movie called “Two for the Money” at Universal Pictures. He helped me get a job in the NBC Page program, which could be a stepping-stone to my dream job.
I loved the page program. I worked for Conan. I sat people for each nightly show (which filmed in the daytime). I made the best of friends. The writers on Conan’s show were the best. We would all socialize after tapings. It was a simpler time when Louis CK still wrote occasional pieces for (Conan, Letterman, Rock and all entertainment show awards on cable and network). All the writers are now pretty big names in the industry NOW, back then they were just guys trying to make it big. I still was into baking and cooking my pies for the crew and writing staff who did all the heavy lifting (see below). It was a bonding experience and many people I met became my friends and moreover inspired me creatively. They inspired me to write and transcribe my experiences. Writing became my therapeutic outlet and those men (and women) who I met during those times inspired me till no end. Their raw honesty made me see how valued a perspective and outlook on life could be.
After six months, I applied for a marketing assistant position at Universal Pictures. I thought I had zero chance, but I would be charming and hoped the Page Program would be my “in”. Matthew wrote me a glowing recommendation and positioned his next 2 films at Universal (not because of me obviously… just need to clarify that one).
Scott the man from my screening days was now a marketing manager. He was also getting ready to marry my friend Jodi. At this time the incredible Stacey Snyder was head of the department. She eventually became head of the studio. I was lucky enough to call her my mentor (before she left to work at DreamWorks). I got hired and was happier than I could have ever been. My first day on the job, was prepping for the premiere of the 40 Year Old Virgin and prepping for the release and marketing blitz for Knocked Up. The rest was movie magic history.
I spent 5 years at Universal (then I went to Sony Pictures for 2 years) and film became part of me. I traveled around the world to film locations and film festivals.
I think the most important element was film became my family. My dad took business school classes with me to learn more about the medium. I got my MBA and determination to always learn more from him. Every Monday (during the 2006-2007 school year) we went to Baruch and Hunter College Campuses to learn about the connection between film marketing as a business and ad sales crossover. We went for pizza at Patsy’s Pizzeria every Monday. My dad never asked me for any favors within the confines of my film connections. So I always made sure to make him my go-to guy for events. He and I loved three things: baseball, food and film. I loved growing up with him watching movies and eating whatever we wanted. My mom was always on a health kick or diet or trying some elimination or Oprah diet or the fat-free Snackwell plan of the 90’s. So we always snuck out. We loved eating and seeing films, it was “our secret thing”. We loved going to the movies and having snacks we never ate at home. He used to take me out to eat after my Springfield Softball games as well (at Cioffi’s we always shared a plate of cavatelli and broccoli). Then we would go see a movie. I played in a league with the Falkin family and it was competitive and as spirited as one could imagine. Same could be said for the company league I played at for Universal Pictures for 4 years (short stop). Peer pressure still exists and it was fun!
When it came to my job, my dad dutifully waited on every premiere and screening line. I always wore a colorful coat or outfit so he could find me. He never bragged about who I knew or who I met. But I wanted him to share in the joy because my favorite film memories were shared with my father (mostly all comedies like Naked Gun and sports movies like Major League). To know my dad, you knew he was the coolest guy. He was the epitome of class and ceaseless humor. He treated me with more respect and reverence than I deserved. He was also a massive charmer and flirt.
There were many times I took my dad as my date to events. It made him so happy (and also he was the only one who didn’t ogle celebs). I was dating his UES building doorman at the time and taking this doorman to premieres was never really an option. My dad also actually ate the food being served. I have three favorite film memories with my father that shaped me.
At age 8, my dad started taking to me see movies at the famed Ziegfeld Theatre in New York. Some were new films, others were what we can revivals. He explained the historical relevance of the theatre (when I bickered that I wanted to go to one of the fancy stadium seating theaters). We went to see “Far and Away” with Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise. I still love the soundtrack till this day and Enya’s songs from the film. I loved it and so did my dad. We loved epic historical love stories that crossed over all genres.
My dad went to the bathroom and asked me to wait for him. So as a young girl, I did my dance routine outside of the men’s bathroom (jazz hands and high kicks and all). I used to dance to the music of the HBO theme song before the feature presentations and coordinated a dance to it that my dad loved. I always had my discman with me. Well it caught the attention of a tall skinny man in a baseball cap that asked me my name and told me he loved my dance moves. I nodded thank you but said I wasn’t allowed to talk to strangers, my dad was in the bathroom for over twenty minutes and I was told to wait and not talk to anyone. He asked how long I had been waiting. I replied two renditions of girls just wanna have fun in my head. He laughed and asked my dad’s name.
I told the guy and he went back in to see if my dad was ok. My dad wasn’t ok, he had broken his glasses and was trying to repair them and couldn’t see. So this man brings my dad out. I asked my dad what had happened. He said he was in shock, he had slipped and broke his glasses and was out of sorts. So I saw my dad so scared and feeling so guilty thinking someone would take me. He was crippled with fear and had lost track of time and then was worried about me. So this nice man told my dad he knew someone who could fix his glasses less than 5 blocks away on the spot and gave us directions. He also told my dad he would be happy to take us.
I asked the man why was he being so nice to us? Did he go to our temple? Was he a parent at my school? He said he was not. He had a baseball cap on so I couldn’t really see his face. But as we moved into the more lit parts of the Ziegfield, it hit me who this man was. His name was Kevin Bacon. He loved my dancing and singing because he saw it in himself. We thanked him profusely and told him to join us for Italian food at our favorite place “Mangia E Bevi”. He declined but promised to try it in the future.
Thirteen years later I took my dad to the Universal Pictures premiere of “Two for the Money”. My dad was a kid in a candy store meeting my former boss, Matthew and his idol, Al Pacino. Standing next to us on the unisex bathroom line was Kevin Bacon. I pinched my dad so hard he screamed. Mr. Bacon asked if my father was ok. My dad’s attention to details was never subtle or easy to get. Of course dear Kevin who is a hero of sorts, turned around and we relayed our story of the Ziegfeld theatre and the glasses incident. He remembered and said he always wondered if I became a performer. I told him I actually worked in the marketing department for Universal Pictures and worked for the star of the film before that. He seemed like a proud father. It was so validating and made everything come full circle. We spoke and my dad had told him about his Parkinson’s Diagnosis and he got us in touch directly with the Michael J Fox Foundation. I told Kevin we worked out at the same Upper East Side gym as Tracey Pollan (MJ Fox’s wife). My dad went there for free because it was the only NYSC with the Silver Sneakers Program. So we were invited to a fundraiser after Kevin took down my work information.
Later in life, I worked with his brother in laws healthy ice cream brand with my company, Fixed Naturally. I also got a job on Kevin’s Fox Network show “The Following” preparing meals for one of his co-stars. Also, later in life as my dad became sicker, I started working with Ryan Reynolds on the Michael J Fox Foundation (Ryan and I had worked together on 2 films and his dad at Parkinson’s). My parents and I did every Parkinson’s walk until my dad could no longer walk. My dear friend Melissa Blechman also founded the Blechman Foundation for PD Research. http://blechmanfoundation.org/
If that night couldn’t have been any better, my dad did meet Al Pacino. Mr. Pacino assumed my father was my date. As I held my dad’s hand to help keep him steady and keep his balance (as I usually did with his Parkinson’s) I got a wink from Al Pacino. I went over to Al to ask to introduce him to someone who was a huge fan. I told him I worked for Universal and his co-star was my former boss. Mr. Pacino got super flirtatious and touchy and I was taken aback. He said sure I will meet your man. I said “Mr. Pacino that’s my father”. He had thought my dad was my date and I had an older man fetish. He also told me I had to call him Al.
I talked to “Al” about working with his co-stars recently, Chris O’Donnell and Billy Crudup (see below). We shared out mutual admiration for their kind nature and how funny both men were. I told him my dad took me to see “Scent of a Woman” when I was 10 years old after I had to walk out of a film called “Lorenzo’s Oil”, because it was too graphic medically. It was so funny and my dad being super cool. He was didn’t take offense to it and kind of loved the fact that Al still “had it” and thought he could have a chance with a 23-year-old.
I never told my dad I wasn’t freaked out by the flirtation and assumption. Al was a legend and whenever he and Jack Nicholson flirted with the young ladies at our premieres I was flattered and flirted back. They are legends and my dad’s heroes it only felt natural, since my dad was the most natural and unbiased flirt of all time.
Also coming full circle, years later I got to take my dear friend Matt Goldman to his first film premiere and we went to a premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival my company was hosting. It was a sweet high school themed movie with Zoe Kravitz and Ezra Miller. Matt was studying to be a teacher in Boston. I showed him the red carpet, there was a question and answer section and afterward we partied. I organized a high school reunion of sorts with many of those same people from our Wayne parking lot years (with a few additions, Noah, Pam and Jordan and Darren). It was at my favorite watering hole and if you know me you know I am going to say “3 Steps”. Then you can sigh aloud in disbelief that 3 steps bar no longer exists.
Annual Reelabilities NY Disabilities Film Festival:
Here is an addendum of how my crazy movie/imdb.com brain works: This addendum is dedicated to my film buff and co-hort in cinematic crime KODY GURFEIN and her male twin counterpart JASON CYGIELMAN.
As kody says this is how my brain works (see rules of attraction scene with Kip Pardue)
So yesterday I read an article where Halle Berry extolled her dismay that no other Black actresses had won the Oscar for best actress (since her epic win). Then my mind wandered thinking Lupita won last year and Octavia Spencer won for “The Help” and those were recent wins. I also remember that Whoopi Goldberg won for the movie “Ghost”. Oh but they were supporting actress winners, ok never mind Halle was right.
Then I think didn’t Viola Davis win an Oscar for “The Help”. Then I remember it was a surprise upset and Meryl Streep won. Then I remembered that Emma Stone (who also starred in “The Help”) was nominated this year and Octavia Spencer was at the Oscars and so was Viola Davis. I wondered if they had a mini reunion. Then I wondered if Emma Stone watches “How to Get Away with Murder” or if she watched “Red Band Society”.
Then I remember I loved marketing “Easy A” and kept telling my friends how great it was and they all agreed. I had the best time at test screenings and got to invite so many of my friends. I remember how kind Emma Stone, Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci were. Then I turned on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live and see Tim Daly is on tonight’s episode. Then I see how well he has aged since “Wings” and I remember my friend Lori Ehlrich and I used to run into him in midtown east NY all the time. Then I realized Thomas Haden Church (from “Wings”) was in “Easy A” and was sad I never met him or Lisa Kudrow on set. Then I get sad because I think about all of Amanda Bynes mental health woes.
Then my mind wandered over to the movie “Ghost” (because I was thinking about Whoopi) and how I haven’t seen it on TV lately. I remember it used to be on HBO all the time. Then I remembered the president on “Scandal” (Tony Goldwyn) is the bad guy in “Ghost” who dies when the window slams on him. Then I remember that scene gave me nightmares. Then I think how Tony has aged so well in the last 25 years since “Ghost” came out. Then I remember Tony Goldwyn is an accomplished director. He directed my favorite actor Sam Rockwell in “Conviction”. Then I remember Tony Goldwyn was on an episode of “Designing Women” and he was the first openly Gay and HIV diagnosed character on a network comedy. Then I think about how far we have come especially with “The Normal Heart” that aired this year. Then I am reminded of not so fond of memories of working on “The Hulk” with Edward Norton. I remember being sad at my meetings with my favorite actor at the time, Ed Norton. Then I wonder what it would have been like to work with Mark Ruffalo as the current Hulk (because I am thinking about “The Normal Heart”). Then I think about how great Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo are during their press junkets for “The Avengers” and how much I love a good Kyle Chandler interview. I also think about Eric Bana the original Hulk and see what he is up to. He is a fantastic person and actor and was spectacular in Munich.
Then my mind goes back to “Ghost”. I remember the famous clay scene with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in “Ghost” and how I didn’t understand it and how my mom had to explain it to me at age 8. Then I think about how Leslie Nielsen did an amazing spoof of the clay making scene in the Naked Gun 2 & 1/2 sequel. Then I am reminded both Leslie Nielsen and and Patrick Swayze are dead and I get sad. Then I think about how talented and ageless the Presley women are in film (and how hot the matriarch was in the Naked Gun series).
Then I think about more spoof movies of the 90’s. I think about the “Hot Shots” movies and I forgot Charlie Sheen was in them. He was so funny and crazy with his Rambo spoofs. Maybe that was foreshadowing for Tiger Blood and Winning? I then wander over to imdb.com to see what happened to that hot Italian actress who was the lead in those “Hot Shot” films. Then I find out she is still acting, looks great and was in a show I liked called “In Treatment” on HBO.
Then I get sad because I forget Lloyd Bridges from “Hot Shots” is dead and amazed that Kirk Douglas is still alive and writing poetry. I remember how great he was in “Joe Versus the Volcano” and “Seinfeld”. Then I see there was a “Seinfeld” reunion at Jessica Seinfeld’s Baby Buggy event in LA yesterday and I smile.
Then I remember Josh Charles from “In Treatment” also had a TV death this year that shocked me on “The Good Wife”. Then I go on imdb.com to see what he is up to and see he made a cool indie with Sarah Silverman. Then I remember Sarah showed her “bush” in one of my favorite movies “Take this Waltz”, by one of my directorial idols and my mentor Sarah Polley. Michelle Williams was also in that film and I wonder if she has any movies in the cannister because I adore her as a person and actress. I still have flashbacks to the scene of “Take this Waltz” and “Blue Valentine” that always moved me.
Then I remember I loved seeing Josh Charles yearly appearances at Rachel Antonoff’s fashion show with his now wife. He will always be Will Gardner and Christina Applegate’s boyfriend driving the fast food hot dug truck in “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead”. His sister in the movie will always be remembered as the mom in the movie “Bye Bye Love”. It was Eliza Dushku’s first movie as well and one Shanna Wollack and I watched over and over. WHY? We were products of mixed families of divorce and related to it.
Anyways, I also see Josh Charles will be in the Wet Hot American Summer Netflix reboot. Then I realize Josh Charles was referenced on the latest episode of “Girls” and I found it such a meta crossover of two different generational shows that I watch on Sundays (for vastly different demographics). It was an episode I related to probably more than any of them because of the Good Wife reference “OMG Will Gardner is alive and at the bar”. Also for the amazing reference of hooking up on Israel teen tour at Auschwitz hit home. For any of you who were on my USY ISRAEL PILGRIMAGE Teen Tour in 1999 (group 8) you know why. We all had boyfriends on the tour within our group and would not hook up while in Poland while visiting the death camps out of respect, but as soon as we touched down in the holy land, we really touched downnnnn. Some of us even engaged in the unmentionable on the EL AL plane. My boyfriend, Fred Marks and had a PG make out.
Also, the reference to Hannah’s father being gay. Now, my father was always a massive charmer, so much so that men hit on him and he would be charming back. Whenever he was in the locker room at any gym, he always mentioned he was ogled by men and enjoyed knowing all men saw he still had it. Oh Papa Fix. Now if there was a hooking with the doorman scene in this episode as well, it would have all came full circle.
Then I remember more spoof movies and my brain goes back to Lloyd Bridges and “Hot Shots”. I remember Carey Elwes is in the “Hot Shots” movies and look up where he has been. He’s still acting and writing. Then I remember how amazing “Robin Hood Men in Tights” was with him in it and how many times I watched it with my dad laughing so hard. Then I remember how great “The Princess Bride” was and think damn Robin Wright is as gorgeous as ever and it’s weird to see prickly Saul from Homeland do a comedy.
Then my mind wandered over back to “Ghost”. I remind myself that Demi Moore was sporting the cropped hairdo before Halle Berry ever made it famous. Does she get credit for making that trendy and retro? Then I look up everyone’s ages. Then I realized how young Demi Moore was when she had Rumer Willis and Rumer will now be on Dancing with the Stars this season. She is the only recognizable name in the cast. Then I remember she had a budding movie career and I marketed some of her films in 2008 and 2009 and wonder what happened. Then I read up that Bruce Willis will be starring in “Misery” on Broadway and also read he has never done Broadway.
Then I remember how well James Caan has aged and is always so pissed off in his movies. He was so awesome in “Misery” the movie. I love his voice. Then I remember he was in “Honeymoon in Vegas” which is now also on Broadway. Then I remember Nicholas Cage from the “Honeymoon in Vegas” is related to the Coppola dynasty and I think about how James Caan was so awesome in “The Godfather”. I wonder if Nicholas is close with his cousins Roman, Sophia Coppola and Jason Schwartzman. I also remember how much I used to think Scott Caan (James Caan’s son) looked like my friend, Drew Morcheles.
I also get sad because I haven’t seen Kathy Bates (from “Misery”) in any films lately. Then I remember she went topless in one of Jack Nicholson’s second to last films “About Schmidt”. Then I realized I took my dad to that movie premiere and get sad. Then I think about how “Major League” was our favorite movie that we watched over and over again. Then I look up how well those men have aged and get sad I no longer have a crush on Tom Berenger. Then I realize Tom Berenger looks Like Eric Roberts (who is having a career resurgence). Then I remember Tom Berenger was in “Third Watch”. Then I realize how much I miss that show and wish all the seasons were available to stream somewhere.
Then I get sad Jack Nicholson from “About Schmidt” no longer acts. Then I realized I worked on the last film he did “How do you know” and feel slightly responsible that was his last on screen appearance. Then I read up on Jack and hear he is no longer an avid Lakers fan and is willing to sell his court-side seats (via a TMZ video I saw). I start to think wow times have changed.
Then I get sad realizing Whoopi does not really act as much anymore since she has been on “The View”. Then I remember she was hilarious as herself in Chris Rock’s “Top Five”. Then I read Chris Rock panned the movie “42” about Jackie Robinson in the DVD extra of “Top Five”. Then I feel more guilt because I screened that film a ton at the hospital and agreed with some of his points and beat myself up for not being more self-aware.
Then I think about Rosie Perez on “The View” (since I thought of Whoopi). I wonder if she still has a feud with J.LO from their Fly Girl days. Then I think about Spike Lee because he gave Rosie Perez her first big break in “Do the Right Thing”. Then I get sad because Spike made one of my favorite movies “The 25th Hour” with Edward Norton. The first film to shoot at Ground Zero post 9-11. Then I can’t even think of a movie I have seen of Spike’s since and wonder what gives is he stumped creatively? Then I remember how much I loved the final scene of “the 25th Hour”
I then realize Rosie Perez will be on broadway with Larry David. Then I start to search for recent press interviews with Larry David and my day is made. See you don’t want to know what my mind goes through when watching film or TV series. That is just a glimpse of how much I want to remember and discover in a simple viewing. Blame the film buff in me, the Dora the Film Explorer or my ADHD. Either way this is the normal path my brain takes. Now you can see why I need to shut my brain down with morphine and not be a Googling GEEK.