Drunk Film School: 9 Simple Classes With Independent Writer/Director Tom DiCillo

DRUNK FILM SCHOOL

9 Simple Classes With Independent Writer/Director Tom DiCillo

Tom DiCillo Drunk Film School

Have you ever thought about going to film school?

Have you ever thought, “I’d like to try it but it’s just too much money.”

Have you ever thought, “Fuck that shit; who needs it?”

IF SO THEN THIS COURSE IS FOR YOU.

9 simple classes with independent writer/director TOM DiCILLO.

Hosted by Duane Andersen, professor and filmmaker at Utah Valley University. All episodes constructed and edited by Tom DiCillo.

This is Part 5 of a 9-part series called DRUNK FILM SCHOOL with Tom DiCillo.

Watch all 9 episodes of DRUNK FILM SCHOOL here:

www.tomdicillo.com/blog/drunk-film-school/

Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones Mad About The Boy by Helen FieldingBook Review
Title: Bridget Jones Mad About The Boy
Author:  Helen Fielding
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Released: October 15, 2013
Pages: 386
ISBN-10: 0345807952
ISBN-13: 978-0345807953
Stars:  4.0

I’ll never forget reading Bridget Jones’s Diary. It was July 1998 and I was traveling through Ireland on my own for the first time. Helen Fielding’s iconic masterpiece was referred to me by my best friend who’d had it referred to her by a close girlfriend. I was sick with a terrible head cold and spent one day in the most miserable B&B in all of Ireland, I’m sure (Goin’ My Way in Dublin), trying to take care of myself. The room wasn’t clean, the mattresses were about three inches thick, the sheets musty, the pillow as flat as a pancake. There were cracks in the window and cobwebs everywhere. But I was too sick to care. It was cheap and I needed to just stay in bed and so I did and I read Bridget Jones’s Diary and I couldn’t put it down because I absolutely loved it!

Helen Fielding has been dubbed “the grandmother of chicklit” by Barbara Walters and I hadn’t read anything like chicklit before reading Bridget Jones’s Diary. She had created a single, thirty-something character who was bright, funny, insecure and far from perfect who had a circle of eccentric but loving friends and that’s almost exactly who I saw myself as at that time (I was 34). Bridget Jones is a woman that almost all women can relate to and in the third and long-time-coming novel about her, Bridget Jones Mad About The Boy, I can still relate to her 51-year-old self even though I’ve never married, had children, or had a partner die on me.

It’s no longer a surprise that Fielding decided to kill off the suave and debonair Mark Darcy (who loved Bridget “just the way she is”) and in fact, fans everywhere were horrified when they first heard the news. But it’s okay…really! The book only suffers a little from the fact that Darcy is not in it because his spirit certainly is and there are new characters that are almost as charming. Bridget still logs her calories and time spent tackling to-do lists in her diary. She still calls her pervert ex-boss Daniel Cleaver a friend, and while she’s more clean-living than she was in her 30s, she’s still as neurotic as she tries to figure out her way through raising two young children by herself while maneuvering through online dating in 2013. Of course it helps a lot that Darcy left her a fortune and she doesn’t really have to work to support her family. If he hadn’t this would have been a completely different book.

As the story begins, our heroine has been saved from her status as a born-again virgin by her soon to be 30-year-old toy boy Roxster whom she met on Twitter, but she doesn’t know how or whether she should invite him to her friend Talitha’s 60th birthday party, and she’s just discovered her children Mabel and Billy have head lice. Bridget is now attempting a career as a screenwriter and is adapting Ibsen’s Hedda Gabbler into a story relevant to modern women even though she thinks it was written by Chekhov and doesn’t know how to spell Gabler. She’s dealing with email inbox bombs, histrionic soccer moms, and trying to grow her followers on Twitter (while studying the Dalai Lama’s tweets). She has not got over the death of Mark, five years earlier, and she doesn’t know if she ever will. After the opening Prologue, Fielding takes us back to one year earlier and we find out how this situation came about.

There are appearances here by Daniel, Tom, Jude, Magda & Jeremy, Bridget’s mum and her friends Woney & Cosmo, but we also get to know Chloe the nanny, Perfect Nicolette, the Class Mother, gym teacher Mr. Wallaker (rather like Daniel Craig in appearance), first date Leatherjacketman, neighbour Rebecca, her eternally busy & bumbling agent Brian Katzenberg, and of course there’s a lot of flirtatious texting with Roxster in between Mummy moments. Bridget’s kids are endearing and into Minecraft and Plants versus Zombies too. However, none of the supporting characters in Mad About The Boy will ever be quite as appealing as Mark Darcy, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a fun, enjoyable read.

By Part Three of the book, Descent Into Chaos, Bridget’s life makes another U-turn and everything we supposed was going to happen, doesn’t. This is a good thing because the ending is a surprise. The tone changes and so does Bridget but there is an opening here for another volume, somewhere down the road.

The constant in Mad About The Boy is the comedy sprinkled with truly touching moments as expressed in a way that only Bridget Jones can. What really struck home for me this time was her decision to attend an obesity clinic to help her get her weight under control so she wouldn’t have to be a born-again virgin forever which is precisely what I’ve been going through for the past three months, during which time I haven’t eaten food but have been surviving on Optifast shakes, water, diet drinks and coffee with Stevia (I’ve lost 38 lbs).

The chapters on How Not To Do Dating, The Number One Key Dating Rule (DO NOT TEXT WHEN DRUNK) and Escalating Dating Incompetence are particularly hilarious. While I, too, find it easy enough to shag younger men, they’re not in it for a relationship and I can’t find anyone my own age with either integrity or baggage that’s light enough for me to carry. The thing is, Bridget Jones, even though she’s a fictional character, gives me hope! And that is the essence of her long-lasting appeal. She gives us all hope that we can figure out a way to get through the crap that life slings at us without totally losing our sense of humour and without having to give up on the notion that we’re entirely loveable just the way we are.

Derek Edwards’ Blunderful Life is Freakin’ Hilarious and Entirely Relatable!

Stand-up Comedian Derek Edwards

Last night, I had the profound pleasure of attending a fabulous comedic event at the recently refurbished Grand Theatre in Kingston. Canadian stand-up comic Derek Edwards is certainly at the peak of his career and while I had seen him before in a brief set at the 1st Annual Toronto Just For Laughs in July 2007, where he had to share the stage with five other comedians plus gala host Craig Ferguson, all I could I remember thinking about him was that he was pretty good but sounded like he had post nasal drip!

As it says on his website (www.derekedwards.ca), Derek’s current tour, “It’s a Blunderful Life” encompasses “common sense and an inspired sense of the ridiculous – a potent combination for a night of great laughs.”

“A 14-year vet of the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal and the only Canadian to win the prestigious Vail, Colorado, Invitational Comedy Competition, Edwards is universally considered to be among the top comics in the country. Certainly his peers think so, as evidenced by the fact that he’s a four-time nominee, and winner of Best Standup Comic – Canadian Comedy Awards, and by his Gemini nominations for Best Performance in a Comedy.” ~ Shantero Productions Inc. Media Release

The award-winning Derek Edwards took the stage promptly at 8:00 pm and for the next 90 minutes riffed effortlessly on everything that’s funny and relatable about being a Canadian, and in particular, an Ontarian. His accent is authentic, although I think he laid it on thick to pretend he’s less intelligent than he really is (Edwards is undoubtedly an extremely bright, Roadrunner-quick-witted man) and his pleasant face is capable of conveying every emotion imaginable. Originally from Timmins, Ontario, which he talked about in some detail, including his experience of being on “Pogie” (unemployment insurance) while living there; Derek is warm, personable, and seems thoroughly comfortable on stage.

He opened the show with a discussion about a recent news article that proclaims that British Columbia residents drink more alcohol (by 11 beers per year) on an annual basis than other Canadians and he thinks THAT’S JUST WRONG! He challenged Ontarians to step up to the plate and consume one more alcoholic beverage than normal so that we can lead this race!

He was very topical about current events, and covered everything from eating buffalo chicken fingers (“Chickalos”) for breakfast while being on tour and not really having any concept of what time it is; to travelling on the 401 and stopping in to the exquisite and legendary theme park that is The Big Apple; to the numerous disappointing betrayals of life which include being tricked into paying for things that he doesn’t really need, such as having to pay ridiculous vet bills for getting his dog neutered and then having the veterinary assistant suggest that he might want to buy fake, plastic testicles for the dog so it wouldn’t suffer from a lack of self-esteem after its traumatic experience at the animal hospital!

He takes every day things and occurrences that we are all familiar with such as the seasonal, greedy consumerism of chain stores and the fact that Shoppers Drug Mart asks its customers to do its Christmas shopping in a pharmacy; to how President Obama is doing during his first year in office; to the fact that Norwegians have 100 words for reindeer; to having his wife count the number of beers he drinks at a party; and connects with everyone on an emotional level that leaves them in stitches.

Kingston’s audience was so quick to get his jokes that on a couple of occasions he didn’t even have to finish them and exclaimed, “You are the best audience EVER!” He kept the entire crowd laughing non-stop and by the time I left, my face ached. In fact, I was the person to start the well-deserved standing ovation that proceeded.

I cannot recommend Derek Edwards highly enough for a night out that will guarantee you the best medicine that life has to offer: belly laughs a plenty!

Derek is at the Brockville Arts Centre tonight (Dec. 13, 2009) and at the Ottawa Centrepointe Theatre on Monday night (Dec. 14, 2009) and is on tour in Ontario until the 21st of December. If you have a chance to see this brilliant comic’s uproarious show, do NOT miss him!

Craig Ferguson’s A Wee Bit O’ Revolution

DVD REVIEW

Title: A Wee Bit O’ Revolution
Studio/Distributor: Image Entertainment
Director: Shannon Hartman
Principle Cast: Craig Ferguson
Length: 80 minutes
Released: 2009
Stars: 4.0

Actor, stand-up comedian, writer, director, producer, host of The Late Late Show on CBS since January 2005, new American citizen, and the Glaswegian with the self-professed huge c**k; Craig Ferguson, has finally released an 80 minute DVD of his stand-up comedy and it has left me wanting much, much more. Filmed in July, 2008 at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre, A Wee Bit O’ Revolution stands up very well to frequent viewings. TV’s Craig Ferguson, uncensored, is undeniably sexy and uproarious! There is a reason why he is the best thing that ever happened to late night television. His off-the-cuff monologues are totally unique and refreshing as is his self-deprecating sense of humor, double entendres, honesty, sensitivity, and willingness to share intimate parts of his life. Given the creative license to say whatever he wants in A Wee Bit O’ Revolution, Craig sets his audience on fire with his clever, witty observations about everything from his own mother, to Sean Connery (who he often brilliantly impersonates), to attending birthing classes in LA with his ex-wife before the arrival of his son Milo (who is now seven).

Craig Ferguson, son of Robert and Janet Ferguson, brother to Lynn, Janice and Scott, is an alcoholic, and did his time in rehab 17 years ago. He came to America in 1995 and headed straight for Hollywood. After several auditions that went nowhere, he landed the role of Nigel Wick on The Drew Carey Show and has never looked back. You could say that he’s never had to worry about having only 27 cents in his bank account since, although he may claim that the alimony he pays keeps that account from reaching its potential.

Craig, who had his own BBC comedy show called The Ferguson Theory (1994), has also starred in several terrific projects for which he either wrote the screenplay, or wrote, directed and/or produced the film including: The Big Tease (1999), Saving Grace (2000) and I’ll Be There (2003).

A Wee Bit O’ Revolution opens with Craig expressing how excited he is to be FINALLY playing the Wilbur Theatre in Boston; a city full of surly drunks, but, “That’s my family you’re talking about!” He talks about his love of America, becoming a US citizen last year and within a few months hosting the White House Correspondent Dinner and meeting George W. Bush, the least popular president in the history of America. Already, I’m laughing out loud, and when he lovingly describes his mother’s insane love of America and the crazy things that she’d say to him as a child and states, “She’s like an acid casualty who never took acid”, I just can’t stop laughing.

A particular highlight involves Craig reminiscing about attending his first rock concert (Blue Oyster Cult) at age 13, on his maiden voyage to the States to visit family. It was the occasion on which he smoked his first joint and when he had his “light bulb moment.” “From this moment on, I will dedicate my life to drugs and rock’n’roll.” Even more hilarious is his recount of going to see Deep Purple in concert and after months of anticipation, taking a hit of chloroform at the beginning of the show, passing out immediately, and missing the whole thing! He talks about the shame of eating pizza while on heroin and that his particular addiction was for cocaine and alcohol and how that translated to status in the rehab dynamic. One of my favourite lines from that section is, “Get yourself a sex addict! Those people can’t do enough for you.” Later, while discussing hotel porn, he declares, “Ah, the frugal orgasm…for a Scotsman there is nothing finer!”

Craig riffs on his early years in Hollywood, The Drew Carey Show, his Jewish/Scottish wedding, huge c**k (Oh, did I mention that already?), success in Hollywood, Tom Cruise (“I’m sorry, that’s twelve feet of crazy in a four foot man!”) and his interview with Matt Lauer wherein he criticized Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressants while suffering from post partum depression. Oprah, the plastic surgery epidemic in LA and the craziness of new age spiritual birthing classes rounded out the show. I was disappointed that his show ended rather abruptly and felt it was just a bit short, but that didn’t stop me from watching repeatedly.

The special features on the DVD include an interview with Craig in Boston by the water (which looks like something you’d see on a local cable television station) and his heartfelt, patriotic speech, at Faneuil Hall on the 4th of July, about what it means to him to be an American citizen. They aren’t great special features but it doesn’t really matter because they are not what you’ll want to watch over and over again. A Wee Bit O’ Revolution is a must have DVD for every fan of stand-up comedy and of TV’s Craig Ferguson.

Enjoy a clip from A Wee Bit O’ Revolution on YouTube!