In a 7.13 piece called “Telluride, Toronto, NYFF Spitball,” or almost four weeks ago, I wrote that if I were New York Film Festival honcho Scott Foundas, “I would…try to land Robert Zemeckis‘s Flight (Paramount, 11.2), a ‘commercial’ drama with a great trailer (which is all anyone knows at this point) with Denzel Washington on top.” I repeated that suggestion in a 7.24 post called “Sprawling Ambition.”
I guess certain minds think alike because the NYFF has booked Flight (Paramount, 11.2) as its closing-night attraction. Feels like a good call. But is seeing Flight at a NYFF press screening which might happen three weeks before the commercial opening worth flying to NYC after Toronto and hanging around and paying hotel bills and waiting for that screening in late September or early October just so I can see it before the usual LA press screenings, which’ll probably happen a week or two later?
Washington plays a pilot who saves a commercial flight from catastrophe with a daring mid-air maneuver, but then he gets into trouble when it’s discovered he’d had a few the night before or was possibly half in the bag during the flight…or something like that. The Zemeckis-directed thriller costars Kelly Reilly, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Melissa Leo and Bruce Greenwood.
If I was to get in touch with my Paramount pallies, here’s what I’d say: “I love New York and the NYFF, always have, but right now I’ve no reason to fly to NYC for the NY Film Festival except to catch the press screening for their closing-night selection of Flight. which will probably happen sometime in late September or possibly very easily October. It will publicly screen, as everyone knows, at the close of the festival on 10.14.
“To save myself the expenditure of $1400 or $1500 bucks minimum and probably a bit more, what are the chances of Paramount publicity allowing certain press persons to see Flight in LA concurrently with the NYFF press screening, or at least concurrent with the 10.14 screening so these press persons don’t have to fly all the way back to NYC to catch it? Let me know & thanks mucho.”
Incidentally: Back in the bad old Forrest Gump days of the ’90s I got it into my head that Zemeckis might be a Republican. I presumed as much because, as I wrote in 2008, “I have a still-lingering resentment of Forrest Gump, which I and many others disliked from the get-go for the way it kept saying ‘keep your head down’, for its celebration of clueless serendipity and simpleton-ism, and particularly for the propagandistic way it portrayed ’60s-era counter-culture types and in fact that whole convulsive period.
“Every secondary hippie or protestor character in that film was a selfish loutish asshole, and every man and woman in the military was portrayed as modest, decent and considerate. These and other aspects convinced me that the film was basically reactionary Republican horseshit, and led me to write an L.A. Times Syndicate piece called ‘Gump vs. Grumps,’ about the Forrest Gump backlash.”
And yet Zemeckis, to go by this Newsmeat accounting of political donations, is some kind of indie-minded left-liberal type. I figured I should clear this up.