Friday, March 02, 2007


Please do not judge David Lowery. Yes, he lives in that idyllic American Bohemia known as Austin, Texas where he makes his way as a filmmaker. And since he is a filmmaker, that puts him a few spots ahead of all of us who maintain that if given the chance we would produce a film at least on par with Uwe Boll. But David has been nice enough since 2004 to chronicle his film journey (and criticisms) on Drifting: A Director's Log. What sets Drifting apart from other blogs is that it allows readers to view his movies digitally. David's movies are stylish, original and are a window into the mind of an artist clearly trying to pave his own creative trail, not follow in the footsteps of others. While watching the nearly word-less The Outlaw Son, I found myself moving closer and closer to my monitor, as I (correctly) smelled a satisfying payoff on the horizon of its short running time. My favorite work of his is Some Analog Lines, an essay film that charts his earliest days of a filmmaker and ponders (among other things) the different mediums of filmmaking and how they are viewed by the artist and the viewer.

STOP THE PRESSES: 'I need to stop reading reviews and watching trailers. That said, I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Stranger Than Fiction. I went in expecting to be mildly entertained by Will Ferrell yelling loudly and obnoxiously at that omniscient narrator, and left feeling genuinely moved. It's not a perfect movie by any means, but the ratio of expectation to satisfaction made for one of my favorite moviegoing experiences this past year.'

THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP: 'Watching six movies a day at a film festival makes up for those rare weeks where I won't see anything at all. Generally speaking, and factoring in my completely irregular sleeping schedule, I'd say the average is something close to 1.5.'

TRUST GRANDPA SETH: 'I've always loved good bad movies, especially in crowded theaters at midnight. I used to watch an old Plan 9 From Outer Space VHS all the time, and in junior high even attempted to stage my own take-off of it with a borrowed video camera, paper plate flying saucers, a giant homemade octopus and a few smoke bombs that landed me in hot water with the parents. But I digress. I just learned of a film called Troll 2 that is apparently the best bad movie of all time. I'm going to see it on the big screen later this week (at the stroke of twelve, of course) to confirm.' (Faithful readers know of my affection for Troll 2, read David's account of his midnight screening here -- Ed.)

YOU SEEN THIS ONE BEFORE?: 'I would love to be in the audience for the premieres of The Thing or Frankenstein, just to witness all the people screaming and, even better, fainting. But I'd probably stick with sentimental thrills and go with the first screening of Star Wars at the Mann's Chinese on May 25, 1977. Also, taking a jump into the future, I'd like to attend a screening of one of my own films with temporary creative amnesia, so that I could experience it completely objectively.'

HEY, WANNA SEE SOMETHING REALLY SCARY?: '... things that scare me don't tend to have the same effect on other folks. They usually laugh at me. At which point I show them Cannibal Holocaust out of spite. But yeah, I get scared really easily (and angry at the filmmaker when those scares turn out to be all too cheap- shame on them for exploiting my willingness to be legitimately shaken!), so it's hard to judge. I think Todd Browning's Freaks is always a good choice - it may not be scary, per se, but it has maintained an uncanny ability to really unsettle people.'

BEGINNING OF THE END: 'It was during the first semester of my sophomore year in high school, when I realized the joy of going to see a movie and then going out with friends to an all- night coffee shop to discuss it afterwards.'

KILL YOUR TV: 'On the worst day of my life, I don't think I'd watch a film; I'd probably just listen to music. I'd want to underscore my woe, but not escape from it. Writers (and, I suppose, by extension, some filmmakers) have a tendency to catalog every experience and every emotion in their lives for future use. Misfortune is a writer's stock in trade, and I've found that music has a way of adhering to my own and crystallizing it in my memory. A film would just dilute it.'

BEGINNING OF THE END, PART II: 'I've been in a myopic pursuit of the same career since I was seven years old. Of course, it was a movie that set me on that path, so I suppose the question could be rephrased as "Has there ever been a movie that made every other possible career seem entirely unappealing?" And the answer, as it would be for so many others in this line of work, would be Star Wars.'

AFFLICTED WITH HEINSBERGEN SYNDROME: 'There sometimes comes a certain sort of downcast day when nothing sounds better to me than The Royal Tenenbaums. I think it's the use of the Charlie Brown Christmas music that really does it for me. It makes me happy to be sad.'

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