The Los Angeles Film Festival: Day Three

Saturday, June 21, 2008. I’ve got the fever to check out some movies… so what the hell am I doing at a Dodger game?

Another day, another set of movies I should be checking out instead of working. I really need to go on vacation when film festivals happen. Wake at 6:30AM to get some last minute writing done before working a full eight hour day, then driving to the other side of town to catch a couple new movies, going back home and crawling in to bed around 1AM, just to have to get up again at 6:30AM the next morning and do the whole thing over again… Yeah, what a horrible life I have.

You know that saying “See a penny, pick it up and all day long, you’ll have good luckr” Or “Face up, pick it you. Face down, leave it downr” I am not a superstitious person by nature but when you get hit with other people’s credulity for long enough, you start to hear little voices in your head talk to you when you doing the most minute things. As I was talking into work Saturday morning, there was a penny near the front door, facing up, so I picked it up. Little did I know just two hours later, I’d get a call from a coworker from the home office telling me I have been awarded two tickets to that day’s Dodgers/Indians game, which started in about an hour. Great! But I’m not off work until four. That’s okay. Your immediate boss has approved you to leave as soon as your co-manager arrives at 12:30. Great! That leaves me fifteen minutes to get from work to home (to get out of the suit I have to wear at work) and to Dodger Stadium, a forty-five minute trip under the best of circumstances. On to the phones I go. Does my wife want to go to the gamer No. She’s not feeling well, and she’s afraid it will rain, as it has every other time we have ever gone together to a ballgame. Forget the fact that there hasn’t been a rainout at Dodger Stadium untold decades, or that the forecast for that day, as it has been for the past several days, is in the low 100s with not a cloud in the sky. Okay, what about my dadr He’s from Cleveland, and we went to an Angels/Indians game earlier in the year. Oh yeah, dad is somewhere in the midwest on a business trip. What about Dick Hollywood, FilmJerk’s craziest writer and long-time best friendr Nope. He’s working the Warped Tour in San Francisco. One by one, call by call, no one wants to go to a ballgame with me. Is it mer Who wouldn’t want to go to a free ballgamer Finally, I get home, and talk Mrs. Havens into going to the game. Even she can see there is no chance of a rainout. Luckily, the three innings I miss is mostly made up by the game going into the 11th before the Dodgers losing. What a shock. Why is it that every time I have gone to a game in the past few years, the home team has always lost. Maybe I can talk the Yankees into getting me a place in Boston and season tickets to Fenway Park.

What better remedy is there after spending three hours in blistering heat than relaxing in a nice cool air-conditioned theatrer I mean, besides an ice-cold Coca-Cola and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream. But by the time I get home from the game, I am exhausted from the heat, and it takes me several hours to get back in the mood. I end up missing one of the films I wanted to see, Werner Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World, but recovering in time to catch a Brazilian drama called Elite Squad. Imagine City of God and City of Men from the point of view of the cops and you have a good starting point into this tale of three cops (two rookies and their burned-out captain) in an elite squadron in Rio de Janiero who must fight both the well-armed drug lords in the city and the crooked cops who often supply the gangs with their weapons. Loud and bombastic from the very first frame, the film (co-written by a twenty year military police officer veteran) is another incredible effort from the emerging Brazilian film machine, and one that should be supported by film fans as it makes it ways through cinemas later this summer through IFC Films.

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