Posts Tagged ‘Roger & Me’


10302017_10154556167725293_2800633091001008174_nAppearing in one of the movies! I was in Red Alert, a short that played before the movie Wet Bum. IT’s not enough that I cover 100 movies during the fest, now I have to be in them too! I even got a review. “@richardcrouse is great in Red Alert…” Mike Bullard wrote on twitter. “I’d like to tell you I didn’t know he was a redhead but I knew… I just knew ok.”

In person Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice sounds like hot melting wax. I liked Sherlock well enough and have seen him in several movies, but for me, and I know I’m the last to get it, his performance in The Imitation Game is a game changer. He plays real-life character Alan Turing, a Cambridge mathematician who volunteers to help break Germany’s most devastating WWII weapon of war, the Enigma machine. It was a top-secret operation, classified for more than 50 years, but that wasn’t Turing’s only secret. Gay at a time when homosexuality was illegal, punishable by jail or chemical castration, he was forced to live a world of secrets, both personal and professional.

Hosting the This Is Where I Leave You and The Good Lie press conferences.

Robert Pattinson telling me about how Hollywood was before camera phones: “When I first started going to LA everyone was underage and if you were a famous actor the rules did not apply. You could be a sixteen-year-old and go into a club but now that there are camera phones everywhere that doesn’t exist anymore. That period was so weird. You’d see a fourteen-year-old actor wasted, doing lines of blow on the table. It was crazy. Now they just do it at their parent’s house.”

Julie Taymore telling me that A Midsummer Night’s Dream “It was the first play I ever saw. I saw it here in Canada at the Stratford Festival…”

Michael Moore’s answer to my question about his reaction to all the celebrity he gained after appearing at TIFF 25 years ago with Roger and Me: Asked what was going through his head while all this was swirling around him, Moore says: “Why didn’t I go to Jenny Craig three months ago?”

“I don’t know where they are,” Kingsley says about his characters, “if they’re inside me waiting to come out or whether they are outside of me. Are they hunting me or am I hunting them? I don’t know.”

Repairing Dustin Hoffman’s watch. During a roundtable interview the alarm on his watch went off several times. He gave it to me and I looked up the instructions on how to fix it on Google. “How did it you look it up on line? They have instructions to fix Timexes on line? I don’t automatically go to those things,” he said. During the interview he said: “I was told to take acting. Nobody flunks acting.” Later he said that it wasn’t such a bad choice because, for instance, “No one ever says, ‘I want to be a critic when I grow up.’”

Lowlight… waiting for BIll Murray for seven hours. (Although I love this from @ZeitchikLAT: Bill Murray, offering implicit proof on the merits of Bill Murray Day: “If this is really my day, why do I have to do so much work?”)

Sitting next to next to Boo Radley, Bill Kilgore and Tom Hagan. (Robert Duvall!)

Most quotable actors of the festival? Robert Duvall who said, about acting, “There’s no right or wrong just truthful or untruthful.” He calls Billy Bob Thornton “The hillbilly Orson Welles…” and said “Brando used to watch Candid Camera.” Jane Fonda was a close second when she said acting is great for the heart but terrible for the nerves… “Butts have become more in fashion… (since Barbarella) and “Television is forgiving to older women and making it possible for us to have longer careers.”

“I have distilled socialism in this box and am taking it back to America.” – Robert Downey Jr in my roundtable interview.

#TIFF14 socks day 3. Chris O’Dowd called them “powerful.” and Rosamund Pike said, “I’m enjoying your socks. They make me happy.”

Watching “Whiplash” knock the socks off an audience at an IMAX P&! screening. It is part musical—the big band jazz numbers are exhilarating—and part psychological study of the tense dynamics between mentor and protégée in the pursuit of excellence. The pair is a match made in hell. Teacher Fletcher, played by J.K. Simmons is a vain, driven man given to throwing chairs at his students if they dare hit a wring note. He’s an exacting hardliner who teaches by humiliation and fear. This movie doesn’t miss a beat.

Love this quote: “Being in the military,” said Adam Driver of This Is Where I Leave You, “believe it or not, is very different than being in an acting school.”

TIFF 2014: Roger & Me: How TIFF launched Michael Moore’s career

Michael-Moore-883x552By Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

TIFF is all about celebrating new films, but this year the festival looks back a quarter of a century at a film that came to the festival like a lamb, but left as a lion.

“I feel like I got very lucky here,” says Michael Moore on the 25th anniversary of his documentary Roger & Me, which became a sensation at TIFF. He credits the festival with the launch. “Actually, launch is too soft of a word,” he says of its “rocket propulsion.”

The documentary is a personal look at the economic blow-back of General Motors CEO Roger Smith’s decision to close several auto plants in Moore’s hometown of Flint, Mich. The closures cost 30,000 people their jobs and set the city on a downward spiral.

“When we were making it, our plan was to buy an old Ford-Econoline van and, like hippies, travel around the state of Michigan showing the film in union halls, churches and schools,” he says. “But when it was finished, I could tell people were going to love this. It was going to drive people crazy.”

Instead of a church basement in Michigan, the movie found an enthusiastic audience at TIFF. “The egalitarian thing about this festival is that if you’ve made a really good movie,” he says, “the cream will rise to the top. It will be seen. Studios will know about it.”

By the doc’s third screening at the Royal Ontario Museum, “the cops and the fire marshall had to be called in because there were too many people. Everyone was lined in the aisles, nobody would get up, and the fire marshall said, ‘We’re not starting this film until 100 of you leave.’ The next day in the newspaper there was a picture of the melee and a big headline that said ‘Riot at the ROM.’ My friends said, ‘Riot? That wasn’t a riot.’ I said, ‘For Canada, that was a riot.’”

Offers from studios began to pour in. “I was so petrified by the whole thing but I also was enjoying it. … I didn’t have an agent, didn’t have a lawyer. It was just me and I just started messing with them. They would say, ‘Here’s $100,000. Here’s $200,000, $300,000. I’m on unemployment at the time making $98 a week so once the offers passed $100,000 I thought I’d hit the jackpot, so I was just going to mess with them.”

Asked what was going through his head while all this was swirling around him, Moore says: “Why didn’t I go to Jenny Craig three months ago?”

From its Toronto beginnings the film went on to become a sensation and breathe new life into the documentary as popular entertainment.

“They ended up putting it on 300 screens,” he says. “Completely unheard of. The Thin Blue Line was the year before that, and that was big for a documentary. Probably played 100 art houses and made a couple million dollars. In hindsight I see the impact it has had on the form. … I think there were nine documentaries before Roger and Me that grossed $1 million or more. Nine. Since Roger and Me: 119. You see where that line is and that I feel great about.”

TIFF’s best success stories In Focus by Richard Crouse FOR METRO CANADA Published: September 17, 2010

Slumdog-Millionaire-001During the Toronto International Film Festival you’ll see stars sipping lattes at the Starbucks in Yorkville and dolled-up on the red carpet at Roy Thompson Hall, but my favourite way to see them is up on the big screen. Celebrity gazing is a pleasant enough festival diversion, but the star attraction is the films.

Over the last 35 years the festival has run over 10,000 movies through their projectors. Obviously not all have gone on to win awards and break office records, but the festival has a surprisingly good track record at picking and showcasing hits. Chariots of Fire, The Big Chill and The Princess Bride all took home the fest’s People’s Choice Award and recent Oscar winners from TIFF include four award winner No Country for Old Men and Capote, which earned a Best Actor Oscar for its star Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

This year as the Oscar buzz is already building for TIFF treats Black Swan (director Darren Aronofsky’s follow-up to The Wrestler), Paul Giamatti’s performance in Barney’s Version and the Bruce Springsteen documentary The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town, I thought I’d look back at movies that used Toronto as a springboard for later success.


Although not technically a TIFF premiere — it was first shown at the Telluride Film Festival — director Danny Boyle credits the Toronto festival audience’s reaction to the film with saving it from a terrible fate — going direct to DVD.


Before Ray premiered at the 2004 TIFF Jamie Foxx was best known as a comedian whose credits included dressing in drag as the ugliest woman in the world, Wanda Wayne, on In Living Color who occasionally dabbled in serious films like Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday. After TIFF he was a serious actor, on the path to winning a Best Actor Academy Award.


At the start of the festival 21 years ago Michael Moore was an unknown documentary filmmaker hawking a self-financed film about the economic impact GM CEO Roger Smith’s decision to close down several auto plants in Flint, Mich. By the festival’s end Moore was a media celebrity with a People’s Choice Award and a film that would go on to win ten other major awards — although no Oscar. Moore would have to wait until Bowling for Columbine — which also played at TIFF — won the 2003 statue for Best Documentary.