Me: “I’m flying into NYC directly from Telluride, and staying for two days before flying up to Toronto. And I have to admit that I’m not that taken with the New York Film Festival lineup this year. Sorry but I’m not. Not Fade Away is allegedly a problem, and Life of Pi is a wide-eyed 3D storybook fable. The Olivier Assayas and Flight are the only ones I really want to see, and the rest of the films are Cannes and Toronto leftovers…not impressed. Plus Flight will screen on the Paramount lot right after NYFF so that might be good enough for me.
“Plus I will not pay those godawful New York hotel or sublet rates for two weeks straight. I tried Pod 39 — $450 and change for two nights? I’m sorry, but is that someone’s idea of a low-cost deal?”
“And I’m not flying to [unnamed West Coast city] on 8.22 to see The Master either. That puppy definitely sounds like something I can wait until Toronto to see.”
Colleague: “I think the NYFF line-up is highly impressive. You’ve unfortunately made up your mind on Life of Pi without knowing the first thing about it. I think it’s a major get for the opener. I’m very excited for Flight. And Not Fade Away has been re-edited from the problem’ cut. And I’m happy to see a good selection of Cannes or Toronto holdovers.”
Me: “I know some things about Life of Pi. I know it’s got a fucking Bengal tiger in it. And a zebra. And some of it takes place upon heaving stormy seas. And it’s in 3D. And it stars a young actor from India, and that his eyes are bug-eyed with wonder or fear or excitement most of the time. It’s obviously a wonderful, eye-filling adventure fable, perhaps for the whole family. Where did you hear or read that the problem version of Not Fade Away has been re-edited?”
Colleague: “You have no idea about Pi. But thankfully there are those who know of things like spiritual journey as metaphor, and they won’t dig their heels in and pronounce, ‘This is what this movie is. It’s only what I see, not what’s behind the imagery.'”
Me: “Oh, I don’t know. I think that snarling tigers and heaving stormy seas are metaphors in and of themselves. I think the decision to use these images is, in a sense, content. I think it’s Ang Lee declaring, ‘Let’s put on a show!’ And let’s slip in a metaphor while we’re at it.'”
Colleague: “I’m told that they tested Not Fade Away some time back and that it didn’t go well, and that [director David] Chase worked up a different version that dealt with those issues and that it’s better now. How much better, I can’t say.”