Get Me Gwyneth

How to remake the New York Film Festival's arthouse esoterica for the midwestern megaplex

 

The Best of Youth

SYNOPSIS: Shot as a miniseries for European TV, this six-and-a-half-hour soap-opera tour of postwar Italy was picked up for theatrical distribution by Miramax Films, whose Harvey Weinstein was moved to tears by the epic tale of two dissimilar brothers and the women they love and hate.

ODDS THAT MINNESOTANS WILL SEE THIS IN THE NEXT YEAR OR SO:Decreased significantly by MPAA chief Jack Valenti's recent decision to ban the mailing of year-end "For Your Consideration" screeners--a serious blow to Weinstein's plans to mount an Oscar campaign for the film.

HOW TO CHANGE THE ODDS:Though Tarantino is currently preoccupied with the rewriting of Crimson Gold, the editing of Kill Bill Vol. 2, and the plotting of violent revenge against reviewers who don't appreciate Vol. 1, Weinstein wants him to rework The Best of Youth as a Kill Bill-style two-parter with Farrell and Cruise as the siblings. Pressed for time, Tarantino may simply deliver his own dust-gathering Vega Brothers screenplay to Miramax in two volumes with clean title pages--though its epic length may eventually require him to release The Best of Youth Vol. 1 in two parts.

 

Goodbye Dragon Inn

SYNOPSIS: Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang (What Time Is It There?) pictures the death of cinema in a run-down Taipei rep house screening King Hu's Dragon Inn to no more than two or three people per night. Combined with the auteur's typically long (and I mean long) takes, the limp of the theater's middle-aged cleaning woman renders the farewell even slower and sadder.

ODDS THAT MINNESOTANS WILL SEE THIS IN THE NEXT YEAR OR SO:Depends entirely on the continued survival of our own beloved rep house in Stadium Village--the only Twin Cities theater that would dare to play Tsai's hard-to-market masterpiece.

HOW TO CHANGE THE ODDS:Tarantino loves King and Tsai, Paltrow loves Weinstein and Tarantino, and Weinstein hates Valenti and Spielberg. Thus Hasta La Vista, Dragon--with Valenti as the dragon, Arnold Schwarzenegger as King, and Paltrow in a parody of her S21 role--seems all but guaranteed to be greenlit at Miramax with Tarantino at the helm. Valenti's performance would be cobbled together from downloaded digital artifacts of old MPAA press conferences, while Schwarzenegger's would be filmed K Street-style in the governor's mansion. Tarantino is coldly calculating Valenti's death by heart attack at the Telluride premiere, which would enable Weinstein to send "For Your Consideration" screeners of Hasta La Vista in time for Christmas.

 

Mystic River

SYNOPSIS: Three former Boston friends played by Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon fail to overcome the damage they suffered as kids in director Clint Eastwood's admirably wrenching (if highly overrated) Oscar contender.

ODDS THAT MINNESOTANS WILL SEE THIS IN THE NEXT YEAR OR SO:Perfect. Indeed, the film is already playing in more than a dozen area theaters.

HOW TO CHANGE THE ODDS:Weinstein, in an ambitious bid to prove that not every "For Your Consideration" screener ends up on eBay, has hired Kiarostami, Panh, and Tsai to collaborate on a Tehran-set Mystic River remake, shot Rashomon-style from conflicting perspectives. The Same River Thrice would begin with Panh's hour-long segment, shot on digital in one continuous take through the eyes of the Penn character, here played by Natar Ungalaaq. The middle portion by Tsai would be set in a run-down movie theater whose cleaning woman sees snippets of Robbins's death scene in the original Eastwood version while sweeping the projection booth. The concluding chapter, directed by Kiarostami, would feature a suicidal delivery man--separated from Bacon by six degrees--scouring the Iranian countryside in search of someone to buy his bootleg screener of...you guessed it: The Same River Thrice. The final shot, just long enough to push the film's total running time past that which a single DVD can contain, would subtly suggest that the whole thing may have been a dream.

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