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"He was Hawkeye on M.A.S.H.." "OHHHH I was thinking of Alan Arkin." 

—two teenagers working for Bell

This festival’s been motoring along finely enough, with little controversy or love-bombing, or at least not any I am aware of. It’s subway-screening-screening-eat-screening-screening-subway on a good day, replacing screenings with time-sucking press conferences every now and then. I like the press conferences; it’s just that for convenience’s sake they are not convenient. Neither is the fucking gross AMC monstrosity at Yonge and Dundas – you are not New York, Toronto, and Times Square is heinous enough on its own so creating an inferior Canadian version is just sad and really, really loud -- half-hour hike or waste of a subway token away, where they are holding a handful of pressers. “Well that takes care of that,” a woman said matter-of-factly in the Varsity bathroom yesterday, vetoing a 5pm showing of Who Do You Love. (I wonder how those screenings are going.)

I have not seen a single celebrity outside of official capacities, and one of my heroes, Richard Linklater, is already outta here and I didn’t even try to track him down. Maybe I’m getting less crazy as I get more jaded at these things?

That was a rhetorical question.

I cleared my schedule this morning for the Flash of Genius conference. Entertainment Weekly flagged it as a potential Oscar buzzer, but I skipped the press screening in favour of Sunday afternoon’s public showing in the Elgin, of which I have only seen a small hallway inside the front door.

It’s not a sexy story -- Greg Kinner plays Bob Kearns, a Detriot engineer who invented the intermittent windshield wiper (seriously), had the idea jacked by Ford and sued them. It took 12 years but he eventually won a combined $29 million from Ford and Chrysler (sequel idea: Flash of Genius 2: Oh Chrysler) at the expense of his marriage and now he’s dead.It is the directorial debut of Marc Abraham who has about 30 credits to his name as a producer, including The Hurricane, Bring it On and Children of Men. It also stars Dermot Mulroney, Alan Alda and Lauren motherfucking Graham. I won’t get into it, but I cannot overstate the importance of Gilmore Girls in my emotional and creative life, and if there’s anything these festivals provide, it’s surreal moments of being feet away from people you admire (and yet cannot think of a single thing to say to).

She looked right at me but I couldn’t believe it was happening and fucked up the picture so here’s one that’s in focus:

She changed her dress for the film’s premiere a couple hours later (Kinnear put on a freakin’ tux):

Kinnear and Alda left the stage to sit in the audience, but Graham dashed behind the curtain, never to be seen again. (She plays the wife because Hollywood is dumb and though she said the role was not “generic” at the presser, methinks she actually knows otherwise.) “Maybe she needed to pee,” I said hopefully to my friend and fellow Gilmore freak Denise, which might’ve been true but at the end of the day I should’ve yelled “Lauren you are fucking dope” when she was six feet from me.

After a meh Thai dinner I headed back up to the Varsity for the first stylish documentary I have seen in this fest. No cable death for you, More Than a Game. It features remarkable archival footage from years’ worth of a friendship forged on a basketball court in Akron, Ohio, which led into high school, a national championship blowout, a national win and the NBA because oh yeah LeBron James is one of the subjects. (And an executive producer, curiously/sketchily.)

It’s night and day with the Harvard-Yale doc, which I did enjoy but was also about a skillion-year-old game that ultimately meant nothing. This one follows James’ ascension up to and including his being ruled ineligible for accepting gifts, his reinstatement, and his “seasonal work” in the pros. But it also tells a four other stories, of the boys he came up with, and a couple of coaches, and the whole thing is so inspirational and well-paced I actually came out of it uplifted. By this point in the festival, halfway, critics are long over clapping for the volunteer title card, and the most minor projection issues are excuse enough to walk out, but people cheered and exclaimed and burst into applause at the end and it was nice to know we’re not all cynical bastards all the time.

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Vol 25, No 25
November 16, 2017

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