Film Review: THEY’LL LOVE ME WHEN I’M DEAD (USA 2018) ***1/2

They'll Love Me When I'm Dead Poster
Trailer

In the final fifteen years of the life of legendary director Orson Welles he pins his Hollywood comeback hopes on a film, The Other Side of the Wind, in itself a film about an aging film director trying to finish his last great movie.

Director:

Morgan Neville

THEY’LL LOVE ME WHEN I’M DEAD is a 2018 American documentary film, directed by Morgan Neville, revolving around the making and filming of the infamous never completed and now just completed THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, directed by Orson Welles.

A bit of background knowledge is necessary in order to appreciate the Orson Welles/Neville doc, THEY’LL LOVE ME WHEN I’M DEAD.  The doc should be watched together with THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, though best before or after could be argued.  WIND was Welles’ comeback movie that took him umpteen  years tin the making but never competed due to his craziness and lack of funding.  WIND was supposed to be autobiographical though Welles claims it was never so.  He had directed his best friend John Huston play the director and Peter Bogdanovich play another director who was not Peter Bogdanovich.  He has impressionist Rich Little hired to act in his film and then edited him out.  More information and madness are revealed as Neville’s doc unfolds.

The doc is immensely entertaining for several reasons.  Firstly, Welles was a charismatic and intriguing character.  It is also about filmmaking and  filmmakers implying that all cineastes should love the doc.  And Neville has done a wonderful job revealing both sides of Orson Welles.

Neville also includes short clips (wish he had shown more) of Welles’ famous films like CITZEN KANE, THE TRIAL and A TOUCH OF EVIL while mentioning his never completed films like THE DREAMERS (not to be confused with the Bertolucci film of the same name).

The title takes the words from from a prophetic comment Welles made to Peter Bogdanovic that centred on Welles’ return to the U.S. in the early 1970s to shoot his ill-fated Hollywood comeback film.  The documentary concludes with his death in October 1985. “Welles is the protagonist of my documentary,” Neville said. “(The Other Side of the Wind) is so autobiographical, even though he said it was not.

The doc is also a study of the madness that goes with genius.  Welles’ not only drove himself crazy but those around him.  Like his cameraman, Gary Graver.  After working him to death to the point that Graver would strangle him and call Welles a fucking fat idiot, Welles would put his arm around Graver and tell him that he was doing a great job.

The film is all about great directors.  Besides its subject Orson Welles who made arguably the best film (as polled by critics over the years) of all time CITIZEN KANE, the film features Peter Bogdanovich who accomplished three great films during the making of THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, PAPER MOON and WHAT’S UP DOC?. This film is directed by Morgan Neville who directed the Best Documentary Oscar winner, 20 FEET FROM STARDOM as well as the well critical received BEST OE ENEMIES and WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

This film should be seen together with the recently completed THE OTEHR SIDE OF THE WIND, thanks to additional funding provided by Netflix.   THEY’LL LOVE ME WHEN I’M DEAD is also a Netflix original film now playing on Netflix.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_kOsnGzfYY

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Film Review: SHOW DOGS (USA 2018)

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Show Dogs Poster
Trailer

Max, a macho, solitary Rottweiler police dog is ordered to go undercover as a primped show dog in a prestigious Dog Show, along with his human partner, to avert a disaster from happening.

Director:

Raja Gosnell

 

Watching the first 15 minutes of a film’s opening can usually determine what can expected from the rest of the film.  At the start of SHOW DOGS, Max (Ludacris ), a talking Rottweiler that works as a police dog mistakenly takes down an undercover cop while three talking pigeons explain what is gong on to each other and the audience as if the scene needs to be explained.  The baddies have a British accent, of course and the camera tilts sideways for no apparent reason.  The antics include the dog unimpressively tumbling around and dodging vehicles.  Max bites the cop in the butt.  This is a sequence that is neither funny or exciting or worthy of mention.

So, in this world where humans and sentient dogs co-exist, the macho but lonely Rottweiler police dog named Max has bungled his duty to save a kidnapped baby panda.  Max promises the panda that he will return to save her.  Max is eventually ordered to go undercover as a primped show dog at a prestigious dog show with his human partner Frank (Will Arnett), the one he bit on the butt earlier in the film.

An impressive cast of celebrities voice the canine characters.  RuPaul voices Persephone, 

Gabriel Iglesias, Sprinkles, a Pug, Shaquille O’Neal, Karma, Stanley Tucci, Philippe and Alan Cumming, Dante.  One wonders the decision for Tucci doing a French accent, thus making his voice hardly recognizable for the Belgium dog, Philippe.

There are no shortage of jokes in the film.  The trouble is that they are only mildly funny at best.  The best example is the fast sloth joke, humorous a little, but laugh-out loud, it is not.  To illustrate how good the jokes are, I did not laugh once during the entire comedy!  The film is also not short of ass-hole and gross jokes.  It is easy to calculate the jokes hit/miss ratio for this film.  Zero!

The film contains many show dogs that are perfectly groomed that are great to look at.  Still, this is insufficient to lift the film out of the doldrums.  Max, the Rottweiler looks sloppy compared to all the other dogs, kind of dirty looking an always drooling.  It does not help that the script insists on having a romantic angle between Max and Daisy (Jordin Sparks), a Border Collie.   To make matters worse, there is also a hint of romance between Frank and another dog handler, Mattie (Natasha Lyonne).

The script by Max Botkin and Marc Hyman, at best makes reference to better dog films like TURNER AND HOOCH.  At one point, Max calls his partner, Hooch.  Again, a little humorous at best!

2018 has so far seen the best and worst dog films of the decade.  Wes Andersons’ ISLE OF DOGS is so far the best dog film this year.  SHOW DOGS, lands on the other end of the spectrum. 

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6z8s36yLaLQ

 

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