Friday, April 01, 2011


The white elephant is out of the barn and on the rampage once again. Yes, this being April Fool’s Day, the (potential) joke is on participants in the annual White Elephant Blogathon, a great concept initiated by Ben Lim at Lucid Screening four years ago and continued by good pal Paul Clark at his blog Silly Hats Only.

The idea is simple. Each writer submits an idea for a movie he or she would like to see reviewed by another member of the pool as yet to be determined; that writer will then also be randomly assigned a movie from the list of all the other submissions. The one restriction is that the movie has to be readily available on DVD or VOD through Netflix, Vudu or perhaps even one of the few actual video stores left in existence. Anything is game, though the less critically lauded movies are usually the target subjects here. Last year Ali Arikan afforded me the privilege of spending some time with Stewart Raffill’s sublime Mannequin 2: On the Move. (I don’t recall offhand what Ali’s assignment was, but I’m almost sure it didn’t star William Ragsdale or Kristy Swanson.) And this year I’ve been handed a real doozy—Alan Parker’s The Life of David Gale (2003), a highbrow death penalty potboiler starring Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet and Laura Linney whose greatest claim to fame may end up being that it, for all intents and purposes, put a halt to the career of its director, the man who warmed our hearts with such touching tributes to the human spirit as Midnight Express, Angel Heart, Mississippi Burning and, yes, Fame.

My review should be up and ready to read right now, but this being a week capped by a tribute to fools and fooling in which I must write about An Alan Parker Movie, it seems fitting somehow that I’m slightly delayed by foolish circumstances beyond my control. The review will be up later this evening, unless I find the process of analyzing this particular film so engaging that I end up working on the piece well into the night. (Don’t worry on that count, folks!)

In the meantime, Paul’s review of Carl Gottlieb’s hilariously lowbrow Caveman (1980), a movie he apparently finds as delightful as I do, is up and running, as is the White Elephant Blogathon itself. I will pass along any links or aggregate list of the same as they become available to me, and I promise that my words on The Life of David Gale will be ready to change your life later this very day. I’ll just say this much: it ain’t no Come See the Paradise or The Road to Wellville, and in this case that’s not necessarily a good thing.


UPDATE 6:36 pm: I still haven't had a chance to sit down in front of my laptop to marshal thoughts on David Gale but I will. The midnight hour approacheth, and if I don't make this deadline God knows what the White Elephant will visit upon me next year. Well, at least I didn't pull the card that Philip Tatler did...

Here's the super list of entries in the White Elephant Blogathon so far.


1 comment:

Matt S. said...

"...its director, the man who warmed our hearts with such touching tributes to the human spirit as Midnight Express, Angel Heart, Mississippi Burning and, yes, Fame."

And The Wall! Don't forget The Wall!

Unless you didn't forget, and already deliberately omitted it. Personally, I'm in favor of mentioning as many times as possible any movie that features Bob Hoskins stomping around with gobs of money falling out of his pockets. I don't really know why.