I’ve been saying to journalist pals that “if you don’t put your foot down and show some discipline in the face of all the Toronto Film Festival temptations” — junket interviews, dinners, parties, panels, lunches, pretty girls — “you can easily fill your days without seeing any films.” And they’ve all agreed to a man/woman…of course, easily!

I have my five or six stories per day quota to fill plus my usual evening social-political shenanigans (i.e., a couple of parties per night or a dinner and a party), and with that daily load I’ve been fitting in only two and 1/2 films per day. I used to be able to fit in at least three.

Earlier today I saw Sarah Polley‘s Take This Waltz (at 9:30 am) and Whit Stillman‘s Damsels in Distress (at 12:30 pm). I then retired to a Starbucks to bang out some stories before catching The Oranges at 4:30 or whenever. But I couldn’t get going right away and piddled around and eventually decided to blow off The Oranges. It’s now 5:05 pm and I have the Albert Nobbs dinner from 6 pm to 8:30 pm. I’ll try to post the Waltz/Damsel reviews later tonight. Maybe. No, definitely…if I’m not too whipped. I can work solid for about 12 hours but then I need to eat, drink and recharge.

I haven’t seen Nick Broomfield‘s Sarah Palin, You Betcha! or Roland Emmerich ‘s Anonymous or Fernando Meirelles 360 or Michael Winterbottom‘s Trishna. Four full viewing days left after tonight, and then back to NYC.

I saw The Raid yesterday afternoon and it was a total bum steer — a murky, grainy, blue-tinted bullshit Asian shoot-em-up macho chopsocky cheese-whiz movie. Me to critic friend: “Why would you, a bright sophisticated film guy, recommend this thing to me? Why?” Critic friend to me: “Because the action is crazy.” I hate hate HATE Asian action films. Whump….hah! Whuh-pah! Whoof-hoof-whunh! Choppy-kick, slap, thunk, chest punch, neck punch, groin punch, finger-snap….whuh! Whah! Hahh!

You don’t beat this festival. It beats you, every time.