Blogging Live from Telluride: Part 2 - Celebrity Addictions

September 7, 2009

Telluride Film Festival

I just finished my third day at the Telluride Film Festival. There is one more day left (Monday), then I'm catching a plane up to Toronto, but there are still a few more good films to see. Today I caught three great films, each one vastly more different than the other. First up was a documentary called Waking Sleeping Beauty, which I already reviewed. Then I caught The Road, which was screened as part of a tribute to Viggo Mortensen. Lastly, I saw a little horror film called Paranormal Activity that Paramount has been quietly unleashing. However, I had an interesting thought as I watched the Mortensen presentation earlier today.

A sad realization I've had recently is that most people are here purely for the celebrities. One attendee we talked to during a gondola ride over told us that she saw The Last Station (and liked it) just because she "loves Helen Mirren." And the Viggo tribute I was at to see The Road was also completely packed, most likely because Viggo was there and everyone attending probably cared more about seeing him than the movie. Same with Nic Cage appearing at a screening of Bad Lieutenant earlier this morning (photo above). I didn't attend, but that's just the feeling I'm getting from a lot of people here, and it's a bit depressing.

In thinking about this further, I realized that I don't really think about actors and films the same way as most people. Sure I have immense appreciation for many actors and actresses, that goes without saying, but I don't go see films just because they're in it, especially if the story or style doesn't interest me. I admit I have extreme love for a few people, like Natalie Portman, but I never saw The Other Boleyn Girl, just because it didn't interest me. But I have a feeling a lot of people here in Telluride are making decisions like that and it's unfortunate that even at a small, secluded festival like this one, celebritism still reigns supreme.

I just see it so often everywhere else around the country, that I was hoping to be surrounded by people here in Telluride who cared more about stories and filmmakers than if their favorite celebrity was attending. While this festival does draw a lot of great people and they do come to see the great films that were picked, I just get the feeling that they more often care if a certain celebrity is attending, so that they can be in the same room and get a glimpse of them. Thankfully I've met so many people who aren't like this, that I'm glad to find it doesn't affect me often, but it's been on my mind all day today and I just needed to gripe about it.

Before I wrap this up, I need to talk briefly about a film called Paranormal Activity, which I saw late at night at an outdoor movie theater at a small park in the middle of town. This film is ridiculous creepy, it scared the crap out of me and everyone else. I'd call it a new Blair Witch Project for this generation. It was shot for $11,000 and is being released by Paramount (this year maybe?) and is ridiculously scary, I can tell you this from experience. I'm telling you now - remember this film. You'll definitely want to see it once they start releasing it sometime soon (I hope). I can't wait it for it to hit the mainstream, it's going to be insane!

Note: From now until October 1st I will be keeping a running tally on all the films I've seen across all three of the film festivals. You can find this list below updated in every new blog post, with links to any reviews.

Telluride Film Festival:
1. Red Riding: 1974 (dir. Julian Jarrold)
2. Farewell (dir. Christian Carion)
3. Fish Tank (dir. Andrea Arnold)
4. Un Prophete (dir. Jacques Audiard)
5. Up in the Air (dir. Jason Reitman)
6. Waking Sleeping Beauty (dir. Don Hahn)
7. The Road (dir. John Hillcoat)
8. Paranormal Activity (dir. Oren Peli)

Find more posts: Editorial, Telluride 09



Paranormal Activity was released once before, wasn't it? By the director himself or something like that? Anyway, that's one movie I'm really looking forward to if it makes it into wide release. The teaser trailer I saw is my kind of scary.

ebbie on Sep 7, 2009


Lighten up! Let people have some fun. We like celebrities because of the awesome work they have done in their movies. Fans who go to certain films "just because" certain stars are in them are a huge part of the revenue that these films get. We are often drawn to a movie by a big name but once we see the movie, we appreciate it as a whole film made by many people. Please don't knock the fans. We love celebrities AND movies!

Margaret on Sep 7, 2009


How was The Road, give us a review like a good man. And you kinda went overboard on that whole celebrity rant you had there... a tad silly!

Kenco on Sep 7, 2009


Margaret, he's upset because movies without big names tend to get ignored and at a small film festival like this, he was hoping that people wouldn't be like that. There's nothing worse than the small, and sometimes better, films getting ignored for the next shitty Nicholas Cage movie. That's what he's getting at. Not unreasonable at all.

Itri on Sep 7, 2009


I've wanted to see Paranormal Activity for a couple years now. From what I've heard it was supposed to come out awhile back but than the rights were purchased for a remake. With the remake being made the original was supposed to vanish. Lately I've heard the original is starting to make appearances though. Judging from this that is obviously true.

Brian Ricci on Sep 7, 2009


how was red riding: 1974? did they talk about the other films in the series? i am really intrigued by this trilogy. and david morrissey is a great actor (see original State of Play series, well you should watch that series for bill nighy alone, brilliant piece of Nighy acting). I believe that this is part of a television series in the uk, but is distribution going to change to a theatrical release for north america?

Ben Wilson on Sep 7, 2009


unlike you i go see movies for both reasons. if clive owen for example is in it i will go see it before even knowing what is about because i like him. but i will also go see movies that i know absolutely no one but the story looks amazing. so i understand both sides and they probably think your just as crazy for not seeing a movie that your favorite celeb is george clooney for example?

topher on Sep 7, 2009


Nicolas Cage ist fantastic.

Paul on Sep 7, 2009


So is Helen Mirren, and I DO see movies for both reasons.

Margaret on Sep 7, 2009


First off, Helen Mirren is not merely a "celebrity." Paris Hilton is a celebrity -- Helen Mirren is a STAR. And one of the world's greatest living actresses, to boot. Paying $10 for a movie ticket "just" because she's in a project is still a damn fine reason to go see a film, if you ask me. As someone who loves movies, has written about movies, appreciates both blockbusters and the tiniest, most obscure indies, AND loves certain actors and actresses and follows their careers with great attention, I can attest you can certainly have both a genuine love for film and be a fan of your favourite stars at the same time. It's churlish and blinkered to imply that one is the mark of an "authentic" movie fan and the other is reserved for the low-brows who don't "really" appreciate or understand films as such.

Anna on Sep 8, 2009

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