I’ve seen two of the films opening on Friday, 9.27 — Joseph Gordon Levitt‘s Don Jon (formerly Don Jon’s Addiction) and Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier‘s Muscle Shoals. I meant to see James Franco’s As I Lay Dying in Cannes but then the word got around and other stuff came up and then the one-sheet surfaced — the film (like the 1930 William Faulkner book it’s based upon) is an ensemble piece and the poster image is no-big-deal snap of a frowning Franco?
I caught about half of Muscle Shoals at a Sundance Film Festival screening last January, and for the most part found it “pleasant and affectionate.” Here’s what I posted: “The part I saw was about Rick Hall‘s FAME Studios, which is where the all-white-guy rhythm section called The Swampers first assembled and played on Percy Sledge‘s ‘When A Man Loves A Woman,’ Wilson Pickett‘s ‘Funky Broadway,’ Aretha Franklin ‘s ‘I Never Loved A Man Like I Love You,’ etc.
“The part I didn’t see presumably covered the decision by the Swampers to break off from Hall and start their own Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. This is where the Rolling Stones recorded ‘Brown Sugar’ and ‘Wild Horses’ in early December 1969. Other big songs recorded there included the Staple Singers‘ ‘I’ll Take You There,’ Paul Simon‘s ‘Kodachrome’ and ‘Loves Me Like A Rock,’ and several Bob Seger classics including ‘Night Moves’, ‘Katmandu’ and ‘Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll.'”
This is a roundabout way of saying that I’m currently trying to snag a screener of Camalier’s film so I can see the whole thing and post a full assessment later this week.
Levitt‘s Don Jon is a decent character piece about the evolution of a Guido type (played by JGL),” I wrote last January. “He starts out with a major porn addiction and a reliance on the Catholic church, and he slides into a relationship with an older lady (Julianne Moore) who seasons him up a bit, and he ends up in a slightly more sensitive and open place. It ends well. Moore and Tony Danza (as Don Jon’s old-school meathead dad) give the best supporting performances.”
Jim Mickle‘s We Are What We Are, which screened at Sundance 2013 and under the Director’s Fortnight banner at the Cannes Film festival four months later, is about a family of flesheaters…sorry, nope. I would rather stick needles in my eyes that sit through David Talbert‘s Baggage Claim…no offense. There’s no chance in hell that I’ll surrender two hours of my life to watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Metallica Through The Never in IMAX 3D…nope.
Latter part of my initial Muscle Shoals half-assed non-review: “I left because I told myself I needed to write more than watch Muscle Shoals. So I stepped out into the Holiday Cinemas parking lot and looked at the p & i and public screening schedules and…I don’t know, man, but I just kind of lost interest at that very moment in doing the festival at all today. Nothing appealed to me at all. The sky was gray and bleak and the pavement was damp from the melting ice and snow, and I just didn’t want to do anything except sit indoors and plotz. To hell with it.
“So I went over to Fresh Farms and bought some detergent and humped it back to the Park Regency and started a wash and ate a salad and tried to write. Nothing came out so I watched MSNBC and read. Before I knew it it was 6 pm and then 7 pm. Maybe I’ll be able to write tonight and maybe not. I don’t care either way. Okay, I care but not that much.”