Tuesday, April 07, 2015

"The Amateurs" does indeed poke fun of newbies to filmmaking (with some important satire about racial and gender stereotypes)

People may have a lot of notions about status associated with a lot of the “positions” in the filmmaking process, like “being” a writer, producer, director.  If you go to some table readings of amateur screenplays, you dispel the notions.
Nevertheless, the 2005 comedy “The Amateurs”, by Michael Traeger, feeds these ideas, until the filmmakers in a small California burb learn the hard way.  Jeff Bridges is not in his most wholesome place, as Andy, who gets laid off and faces a mid-life crisis.  He is so distracted that he pees on his desk, like a cat marking his territory. Some of his buddies get behind the idea of making a porno film.
One set of comic implications occur when the African-American “adult” actor can’t “perform”. The actor resents the idea that he was picked on the idea that people from his race are more “potent” (which used to be a belief in the American South – opposed to my own “prejudice” that I was willing to find only my own “race” as potentially attractive). 
Later, one of Andy’s buddies, Moose (Ted Danson) comes out to the group as “gay” but the conversation that follows gets rather clumsy.  Of course, today, indie film is one of the “gayest” segments of culture there is. But these were still the Bush years.
Also appearing are Patrick Fugit (“Wristcutters”) and Tim Blake Nelson. 
The film has some rather explicit dialogue, but it’s appropriate for the satire on personal “values” (especially as pertaining to race), and has no visually explicit scenes. 
The DVD (First Look) has a rather long, bloated “Behind the Scenes” extra.

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