Screen Junkies » I Melt With You http://www.screenjunkies.com Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:32:08 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 Sundance: Mark Pellington Talks ‘I Melt With You’ Controversy And ‘The Orphanage’ Remake http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/sundance-mark-pellington-talks-i-melt-with-you-controversy-and-the-orphanage-remake/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/sundance-mark-pellington-talks-i-melt-with-you-controversy-and-the-orphanage-remake/#comments Thu, 10 Feb 2011 00:27:02 +0000 Fred Topel http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=25971 Did it hurt Mark's feelings when 46 People walked out of the press screening for his film?

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When I met Mark Pellington at Sundance, the people setting up the interview assured me that he didn’t know who I was or how I’d reviewed the film. I don’t see why it would matter. We’re both professionals having a conversation about a film that generated extreme reactions.

Pellington directed I Melt With You, the aggressive drama of four men (Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe and Christian McKay) binging on drugs and wallowing in their failures. 46 people walked out of the press screening. I don’t have a figure on the public premiere. On screen text and interstitial cuts of the Challenger explosion weren’t even the breaking points for many of the walkouts.

I’m not here to confront Pellington. It’s a film that is objectively atypical, and one with a quantifiable response from the festival itself. He was ready for the conversation, but spoiler alert: This is for the people who’ve seen, or at least read detailed reviews, of I Melt With You.

Q: Do you have a spiritual point of view that’s expressed in this film?

MP: [Heavy sigh] Very good question. I read a lot about suicide and explored a lot of my own demons and crises of faith that I had been going through in the last several years. I’d just made a spiritual movie with Henry Poole which is very spiritual, so this is almost tonally the opposite of that. This is kind of nihilistic and angry and sad at the end of the day. So maybe it’s something I just needed to get out of my system, spiritually.

Q: Do you share that nihilistic angry point of view?

MP: There’s definitely aspects of myself that I need to die or surrender, or I need to shed that I can find in these characters. There’s perspectives about death that I put in. I wrote the scene with Tim (McKay) and Raven (Sasha Grey). There’s definitely feelings about the other side in there. So it’s in there.

Q: Could guys like this have success if they changed their attitude?

MP: Sure. I think if they allowed love of self. If they allowed the shadow side to be filled with light and not with self-destruction, sure. If Christian [McKay’s character] had been able to forgive himself for the death of his lover and sister, if he had come to a place of forgiveness, not powerlessness and guilt. If Jeremy [Piven’s character] had accepted his actions and gone home and gone to prison, would his wife have forgiven him? Maybe, maybe not. Rob Lowe‘s character], I think it’s like a series of dominos so the energy kind of pushes Rob Lowe, okay, your kid doesn’t call you daddy anymore so is that a reason to OD? Did he OD? Did he do it on purpose? At that point, it’s vague.

Q: Could you imagine how the film would be especially hard for someone who embraces a more positive worldview?

MP: Very much so. Very, very much so that I’m sure that people will be like, “Wait, how could this be the same person that made Henry Poole?” But there’s all different aspects and range of interests thematically. Again, my life’s journey is always reflected in where I’m at.

Q: What do you say to people who walked out of the movie here?

MP: What do I say to them? Well, I haven’t had that experience but I wouldn’t say anything. That’s their experience.

Q: Are you surprised at Sundance people weren’t more open minded?

MP: I’m a little bit surprised. It’s funny, I was able to go downstairs with somebody and I saw his thing. He had written a really scathing review. I said, “God, I would love to talk to you further.” Because you don’t get a chance to say okay, what was it? Part of it was that hopelessness. He goes, “Well, are we supposed to think these guys are heroes?” And I was like, “In no way, shape, or form. They’re all weak. That’s the whole point. This is an examination of male failure and weakness. These guys did not make the right choice in any way, shape or form. Maybe throughout their life or certainly in this period of six days.” So I’m a little surprised that it’s been so divisive.

Q: Did you cut in Challenger footage just so people would interpret it?

MP: For sure. It’s totally left open for people. It’s all thrown in there, the text on screen, the Challenger, that’s all meant to be interactive and provoke and take it out of the realm of, let’s say, a traditional narrative. It’s not really three acts in the movie. It was kind of like two halves. Again, it was the experimental nature of it. We had an animated sequence that we ended up not doing because just for length and it just didn’t work out, but it was meant to just be just try some different formal ideas.

Q: Sometimes do you just do crazy shit to have crazy shit in the movie?

MP: Look man, look at Woody Allen. Or Rob Lowe breaks the [fourth] wall. Sometimes the break the wall. Sometimes you throw in that stuff, yeah. It’s not like ooh, I want to keep people on their toes, it’s more like oh, let’s try that. That’s cool. That’s fun.

Q: What do you want to do next?

MP: I have a movie called Dolly Dimple that Glenn [Porter] wrote that we’re going to make in the summer. Or, a remake of The Orphanage.

Q: You’ve been trying on that for a while.

MP: For a year, if they can ever get their shit together. What happened was it got held up at New Line and then when Guillermo left The Hobbit, Universal [stepped in.] So now Universal’s like, well, maybe Universal wants to make it but these people take three months to set up a conference call. The wheels move slow.

Q: Is there something uniquely American that would change the film?

MP: No, I just think it’s a great script. I never saw Let the Right One In and heard the remake was very good. I’m not into doing remakes, I just love the story. I love the story so much and got the job and never saw the original. I was like I don’t want to watch the original so then when I did watch it, I thought it was very well done but I’ll never watch it again. I’ll just trust the script.

Q: Working with Glenn again, do you have a real connection with him?

MP: Oh, we’ve been friends for a long time. This Dolly Dimple script is something we’ve been trying for eight years to get made that’s been flirted with, different actors have maybe been interested, Amy Adams. Different people over time but the timing to get the right actor and the right financing at the same time has never worked.

Q: What’s it about?

MP: It’s about a journalist. It’s about a writer who steals a little girl’s story and gets blackmailed into basically a shame based thing. It’s a total mindfuck of multiple endings. It’s metafiction about how do you recover your creative instincts that have been overwhelmed by trauma over the years.

Q: What would the tone be?

MP: Scary, it’s very scary. Alice Eve is going to be the lead. It’s just like taking a good all American girl and running her through the grinder, through hell.

Q: See, the first description seems whimsical.

MP: No, it’s Swimming Pool meets Saw but without the blood, but it’s tonally very, very disturbing and very creepy. It’s that kind of package, that kind of Lionsgate thriller, the super ingénue just taken to south America, the dark and corrupt politics, going through hell and being forced, because of her own shame about stealing this girl’s story, she can’t reveal her secret to anybody.

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Sundance: Jeremy Piven Talks ‘I Melt With You’ And ‘Entourage’ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/sundance-jeremy-piven-talks-i-melt-with-you-and-entourage/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/sundance-jeremy-piven-talks-i-melt-with-you-and-entourage/#comments Fri, 04 Feb 2011 22:08:59 +0000 Fred Topel http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=24950 Did it piss him off when people walked out of his movie?

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You want a funny interview with Jeremy Piven? You want some Ari Gold one-liners and name dropping? Sorry, this is not that interview. This is the interview for I Melt With You, the infamous movie of the Sundance Film Festival. This story of four men on a cocaine binge had people walking out of screenings. Piven plays Ron, a corporate embezzler who’s as bitter as his doctor and author friends.

Piven’s ready to confront the I Melt With You controversy head on. Fresh off the plane from his fourth movie of the “Entourage” hiatus, Piven maintained a calm, subdued tone even when I “went there.” I only regret that I barely got into “Entourage” after following up about all the real meat.

Q: Was it vulnerable for you to give up a lot of the humor that you bring to other roles?

JP: No, it’s exciting to explore suppressing what might come easier to you. So to play a character that both isn’t funny and doesn’t think he’s funny was really, really interesting to me and fascinating. It’s all an exploration and an exercise and you have to just embrace the process. It may sound incredibly pretentious but I think that’s how you grow as an actor and as an artist, by embracing things that you may not think you’re good at that people may initially think, “Well, this isn’t what I want to see him in.” But then it could be the best role you’ve ever had in your life. And you’re exploring other muscles as an artist and that’s fascinating to me. I love that.

Q: That’s a very ambitious, positive worldview that is quite different than the guys in this film. As a successful artist, do you at all share their negative view that things don’t turn out the way you wanted?

JP: Accepting your circumstances doesn’t mean that you become apathetic. It just means that you don’t beat yourself up and make yourself crazy because that won’t change the outcome at all. It’s infuriating what my character does. I can’t stop and think and judge because then I’ll get in the way of the work. I’ve got to be as present as I can when I play that character and play him with as much integrity as I can, and yet do all the wrong things. Then you may be onto something that has some layers and it may be interesting. Some of the people’s responses is: I don’t like this guy. It’s like well, yeah, this person exists. I’m going to give you hopefully a dimensional character that you may not like.

Q: What do you have to do to make an unlikeable protagonist palatable?

JP: I’m not looking to be palatable. I’m looking to be as true as I can to the story as possible and making it as authentic as possible. That’s it. You have to be okay with looking terrible and playing despicable characters that have demons and all these things. You’ve got to go there if you want to be a real artist, and not worry about how you’re perceived or any of that stuff.

Q: Do you know colleagues and friends who are afraid to go there?

JP: Yes, yes I do and I think that they lined up to not do this movie. You’d be shocked how many people just didn’t want to go there, couldn’t go there, whatever it was.

Q: Do you share your advice with them?

JP: Yes, I do and listen, Rob [Lowe] said some amazing things. He said the role for him scared him because he wanted to go there but he didn’t know if he could go there. That’s pretty brave of him to give it a shot. This movie will expose if you’re capable of going to that place emotionally or not. There are some actors that that’s not right for them.

Q: What would you say to people at the festival who walked out of the movie?

JP: I would just love to connect with them and ask them why exactly and get into it a little bit. It obviously struck a chord. It struck a major chord and that’s pretty interesting. It’s fascinating. Why is that? What is it inside of them that doesn’t want to take a look at this? We all have free will, man, and this movie isn’t for everyone. I totally get it. I think if people get up and leave then you’re onto something. I mean, I’ve been doing plays and people have been getting up and leaving since I started in Chicago back in the day. I remember doing a play with Tim Robbins called “Violence” in Chicago and people just get up and leave.

Q: Is the movie designed to be threatening?

JP: No, it’s not designed to be threatening. It’s just designed to show these people’s lives and to be as true as we can to the story. Then if the outcome is it’s offensive then so be it.

Q: Every once in a while you pop into news stories like mercury poisoning or an incident at Nobu. Is there some confusion about who you really are?

JP: Well, I grew up in the theater. I did a Broadway play that I was incredibly proud of. I ended up getting sick and was replaced. I’ve been lucky enough to work ever since and I’ve worked my entire life. So how you receive that information, it’s not something I should really focus on. If you’re mad at me because I ended up in the hospital with severe exhaustion and mono and complications with Epstein Barr and all these crazy things, it was a very difficult time in my life. I’ve chosen to just let the rest of my life and my work just speak for itself.

Q: Wasn’t there an incident where you left a DVD for a waiter?

JP: No, the story was that I threw DVDs at the waiters like Chinese stars.

Q: That’s not even the extent of the story I heard.

JP: What’s fascinating about these stories to me is I was never a famous guy, just a working actor. The people that know me know that these things are absurd and I can’t try to work to convince people who read these articles. I think that would be a fun fantasy if you want to categorize me as this character that’s like Ari Gold. People make their living off of feasting on others. That’s just kind of the way of the world. You don’t let it get to you. You move on. Did that happen? Absolutely not. Never in my life. I’m going to carry around DVDs and throw them lik fighting stars? It’s actually good writing and it’s comical.

Q: Well, if you’d left it instead of a tip that would have been uncool.

JP: No, I’m not that guy. I’ve never been that guy in my life. Anyone that knows me knows that.

Q: Are you happy to see the storylines in “Entourage” calling Ari Gold out on his behavior?

JP: I love it. It’s beautiful. It’s about time.

Q: It’s very entertaining to watch him, but wouldn’t it be exhausting to live like that?

JP: Yeah, that would be a very exhausting existence. I wouldn’t want to do it and I wouldn’t want to be around it.

Q: What are your thoughts on doing an “Entourage” movie and the final season?

JP: I’d love to do a movie and the final season we start in April. We’re set up for a great season because Ari’s rock, which is his wife, Mrs. Ari, seemingly has had enough. So we are totally set up if we continue on that storyline for something that I think could be really fun.

Magnolia will distribute I Melt With You this year.

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Sundance Review: I Melt With You http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/sundance-review-i-melt-with-you/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/sundance-review-i-melt-with-you/#comments Tue, 25 Jan 2011 22:01:48 +0000 Fred Topel http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=22237 Exactly the kind of indie movie I was worried about seeing at Sundance. 46 people walked out during the press and industry screening.

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I Melt With You is exactly the kind of indie movie I was worried about seeing at Sundance. 46 people walked out during the press and industry screening. I figured after about 80 minutes, whoever stayed was in it until the end but no, a mass exodus around 90 minutes in doubled my count into the 40s. Numbers 45 and 46 left only minutes from the end, they just couldn’t bear to stick it out.

It’s not so much that the film is offensive. It’s just repulsive. Richard (Thomas Jane), Ron (Jeremy Piven), Jonathan (Rob Lowe) and Tim (Christian McKay) get together for their annual week-long cocaine and pharmaceutical binge (Jonathan’s a doctor). They only do this once a year, so they go all out. Maybe if they fixed the other 358 days of the year, they wouldn’t need to act out for seven.

The style introduces itself right away with throbbing beats muting out the scenes introducing each character. Text cards make a lot of statements, mostly beginning with “I Am…” By the end of the film, director Mark Pellington is cutting in footage of the Challenger explosion. Forget tasteless. That’s just nonsense.

The foursome’s behavior is repulsive, especially Richard jumping on the furniture. The guys slam dance. Honestly, I outgrew that in sixth grade. Worst is how the film celebrates this. It’s not a stark portrayal of how adults go bad. It’s portrayed as their reward for putting up with life all year. Basic therapy or spirituality would say if you need to drown out your painful thoughts, you need to work on better thoughts.

Of course they’re just numbing the pain. Each character eventually reveals what they’re really hiding from. Tim actually tries to get through to the other three, why Richard sleeps around, why Jonathan lost his family to a new man, why Ron got in trouble with the SEC. The characters, especially Ron and Richard, are all self-righteously confident that they know how bad things get when you grow up. A young bartender (Arielle Kebbel) has their number, but that’s the only brief voice of reason.

While Tim works out his own tragedy, he has a three way with Raven (Sasha Grey) and another man. While Tim’s crying in between them, Raven talks about helping him find nirvana. Come on! This is not a dig against Grey, I believe she could be spiritual and wise, but the movie is not. It all leads up to some vague talk about a promise the guys all made as seniors.

Oh, also Officer Boyde (Carla Gugino) starts noticing they keep getting into trouble. The film cuts away to Boyde randomly discussing relationships with her friend Katie (Melora Walters). Katie is never seen again, but she gives Boyde a chance to unload her theories on men.

It’s not a matter of filmmaking incompetence. This is all on purpose. They meant to make it exactly this way. The one positive I can say is the acting is good. I really believed Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe and Christian McKay were high.

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‘I Melt With You’ Sounds Interesting Now Thanks to Sasha Grey http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/i-melt-with-you-sounds-interesting-now-thanks-to-sasha-grey/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/i-melt-with-you-sounds-interesting-now-thanks-to-sasha-grey/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 We haven't really been covering Mark Pellington's indie drama I Melt With You because it didn't have any porn stars attached. Suddenly, the project sounds a lot more interesting with the addition of Sasha Grey. The porn star has enjoyed a career reinvention recently and is building up an impressive resume by picking up roles that don't require her to spit on her hand. I Melt With You stars non-porn actors Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven, and Rob Lowe as friends who feel empty inside and decide to resurrect a pact from their college days. Grey will play "a free spirit who helps one of the men realize that nirvana can only be achieved by death." And deep-throating. Tons and tons of deep-throating. (THR)

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We haven’t really been covering Mark Pellington‘s indie drama I Melt With You because it didn’t have any porn stars attached. Suddenly, the project sounds a lot more interesting with the addition of Sasha Grey. The porn star has enjoyed a career reinvention recently and is building up an impressive resume by picking up roles that don’t require her to spit on her hand.

I Melt With You stars non-porn actors Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven, and Rob Lowe as friends who feel empty inside and decide to resurrect a pact from their college days. Grey will play "a free spirit who helps one of the men realize that nirvana can only be achieved by death." And deep-throating. Tons and tons of deep-throating. (THR)

 

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