Friday, March 13, 2015

A Review of Birdman, and a Selfie (So To Speak)


Hello! Dave the Somber, checking in tonight... I have a lot of ground to cover...

OK, so, my initial plan, vis-a-vis the BTI premiere, was to wait (this final, excruciatingly slow week!) until the event occurred (tomorrow night, 3/14/15), take lots of photos and come in here, writing a lengthy, detailed description of the (hopefully awesome) events of the evening...

Instead, here I am, the "night before", coming in here to write...

Why the change in blogging plans? Mostly it has to do with a combination of nerves, and the fact that I saw Birdman last night, and I really must talk about it all. Birdman is the best movie I've seen in decades... I've given two "10" scores to films that I can recall in recent history... first, to Batman Begins, and secondly to Inception (both Christopher Nolan films)... As I left Birdman, mentally handing it the easiest 10 ever, I reflected upon the movie on the drive home, and by the time I arrived home, I had elevated my rating to "masterpiece", which I do not do lightly...

Granted, different folks resonate on different levels, as far as what appeals to them, in a cinematic-experience sense. The only other person I know of that saw this film said it was weird, but enjoyable, and that she liked Whiplash better. I have yet to see Whiplash (I will, ultimately, since I'm dying to see JK Simmon's performance), so I don't know yet how they can compare. What I can tell you is that Birdman worked for me on so many levels, it staggers my mind.

Cinematography: Visually, the film is unprecedented. The movie is filmed seamlessly, as though it was all shot in one continuous shot, moving in and around a little theater on Broadway in NYC, out doors, into windows, up in the air, circling, sliding down hallways, following one character or another as they prepare to put on a play. It's unlike anything I've ever seen before, visually.

Acting: I can see why practically everyone on the cast was nominated for Oscars. Michael Keaton was magnificent, period. But amazingly, he was not alone. I have never seen Edward Norton this good, anywhere else. I've always liked him, in general, but since Primal Fear I thought of him as serviceable... (this will lead me to another point later in this long post)... he was so good in Birdman, it's scary. Naomi Watts is always great, always... and this is not an exception. She shines. And every single time Emma Stone was on screen, she was riveting. That girl can act her butt off. Zach Galifianakis was perfect. Everybody was perfect.

There are a pair of rooftop scenes with Emma Stone and Edward Norton that are among the very best things I've ever seen in film.

Script: The dialog in this film is everything I strive for when writing dialog myself. It is so rich and multi-layered, I was constantly amazed. And so many incredible monologues, so wonderfully delivered, it was an acting clinic. I seriously envy the cast members that got to deliver such well-crafted words...

Themes: As stellar as everything else I've mentioned so far was to me, this is where the film resonated so strongly with me on so many levels. Wanting to be loved and accepted by others. Trying to find a sense of self worth. Why certain people seem to have power over the way we feel about ourselves, as people and as artists. What do we really want? From life, from family, from careers, from strangers, from ourselves? Is it ever too late to reinvent ourselves? Is there anything wrong with what we are/used to be? Why do actors act? Is there really that large a difference between celebrity and artistry? A movie blockbuster actor and a Off-Broadway theater stage dweller?

It digs into the reasons why creative people feel compelled to create. It wrestles with the definition and application of truth. It touches on things that I have chewed on my entire life, and even approaching a few I've never even considered before. And it adds an element of the fantastical that takes it to a still-higher level.

This is going somewhere...

So, in light of the BTI premiere tomorrow night, as you can imagine, it's given me tons to think about. Frankly, up until last night, the impending premiere wasn't really ruffling me. I was planning on just going, enjoying the night as it unfolded, and just rolling with it. In a way, I still plan on doing that. Yet last night, in the middle of the night, maybe 4am or so, I woke up, wide awake, staring at the ceiling, trying to shake off a wave of panic that was washing over me. Things always seem so weighty in the middle of the night, don't they?

Symbols have increased in importance in my mind the past few years -- and the premiere represents something big in my life, as an individual, as an artist, and a human being... whether it ends up being a big moment in my life and career or not, I don't know yet... but at the moment, right now, it represents what could be a huge turning point in my life. A definite peg upon which I may be able to hang a new stretch of the life tapestry which I'm weaving. Corny, yes, but true (to me) nonetheless. I'm putting myself out there for evaluation in ways I've never done before. I've poured myself into this project for a long time, and tomorrow it shines.

Part of me wishes I could be on the other side of it, and see how things played out, and plan my next move(s), in both the project and in my career. The other part of me wishes I could hang onto this moment, right now, indefinitely, since it has brought a clarity of mind that I haven't tasted in a long time. I haven't seen a movie in the theater since Guardians of the Galaxy many months ago. It seems a little odd (or does it?) that I would see Birdman, of all movies, in a theater all by myself, two nights before a (possibly) very important night of my life... especially since I've been wrestling with many of the very same issues that were dealt with so beautifully in Birdman. The timing is crazy...

So, yeah... tonight feels surreal. I may be making too big a deal out of it. But right now, this is what I'm soaking in. And, honestly, I feel ridiculously blessed. Tomorrow night may be huge for me, or it may be barely a blip on the radar, enjoyable in passing and then quickly forgotten.... who knows? But for now, the symbolism of it all fills my vision.

And I love the view.

If you read all of this, thank you for humoring me. This was a very self-serving post, but I needed to get it all out of me.

Dave the Self-Serving.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to seeing Birdman...I know I will enjoy it...but right now I am loving watching your movie..not the one your working on but the one you're living...there's nothing like seeing someone you love happy.....you deserve it..enjoy it...carry on...KB15

Sherri Migdol said...

No matter the outcome tonight...you are an amazing human being, father, friend writer and actor. I am proud of you and honored to know you.
SM