The rainy days of October — they don't really call it slow season anymore, but it's still slow enough to stay home and watch movies all day; if you have a home. If not, the Village 8 Cinemas is well heated, dry and has one new flick opening this week.
The Girl on the Train stars Emily Blunt (Sicario, The Devil Wears Prada) as a narrator/emotional train wreck who may or may not have done some terrible thing. Or something... the trailer for this one is like trying to decipher a wet grocery store receipt and I haven't seen the film yet. What I do know about The Girl on the Train is that it's directed by Tate Taylor (The Help) and the poster reminds me of the greatest piece of film industry wisdom I've ever heard...
Last spring, I was lucky enough to attend the Cannes Film Festival with local director (and all-around badass genius) Darcy Turenne. We hit the red carpet a bunch of times, marvelled at the two zillion yachts and wore nice clothes while hobnobbing with the film world.
Actually, mostly Darcy hobnobbed because she kept getting invited to things and I did not (Magnum P.I.-style moustaches aren't as popular in the south of France as I had hoped, but it was okay because being excluded from the soirees gave me more time to watch stuff like Gimme Danger, the new Jim Jarmusch Iggy Pop & the Stooges documentary which will get wide release later this month).
At one point, Darcy found herself chatting to some semi-big-time film buyer dude who was in town looking for movies that will make his distribution company money. The glitzy Cannes festival you see in the tabloids is actually accompanied by an industry marketplace. It's a tradeshow full of booths from all over the world pushing films you'll never hear about, like Last Night a DJ Saved My Life — the musical that stars David Hasselhoff as a DJ dad chasing his wild-child daughter around Ibiza (I'm not shitting you, that is a real movie). Distributors walk the tradeshow, schedule meetings, and make deals.
"So how do you decide what films to buy?" Darcy innocently asked Mr. Semi-Big-Time-Buyer. "Do you have a team of assistants watching movies who filter out the best stuff or what?"
"No." He said. "I do it myself. I just look at the poster — if you can't make a good poster, you probably can't make a good movie."
Now, I'm often quite critical of Hollywood in this column (and rightly so, they make way more garbage movies than good ones) but it's easy to shit on the top when you're not on the top (figuratively speaking; it's impossible to literally do that). But even I have to admit, that's one of the simplest, most sensible things I have ever heard from the film industry. And The Girl on the Train poster just isn't that thrilling.
Of course, there's that old saying about judging a book by its cover but I'm not even sure about that — if a person can't creatively nail the little things on their project.
Speaking of books, the source material for The Girl on the Train is a best-selling novel by Paula Hawkins. And really, many of the best Hollywood thrillers are adapted from novels so what better time to plug the Thriller Writers' Luncheon at the upcoming Whistler Writers Festival.
The luncheon features four top thriller/crime authors reading from their latest works and speaking about the fine line between artist and criminal. I am the moderator and, as mentioned, there is a lunch. It all goes down October 15 at 1 p.m. at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. There are still a few tix left, too, at www.whistlerwritersfest.com.