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The Outsider (Unrated)

Release Date: June 16th, 2006 (Cinema Village) by Green Room Films.
Directed by Nicholas Jarecki.

BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about writer/director James Toback’s filmmaking process of shooting When Will I Be Loved in 12 days.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Director Nicholas Jarecki goes beyond a simple biography of James Toback by documenting the fascinating way he makes his movies. In this case, it all started when investors gave Toback 2 million dollars to make a film in 12 days. The brief pre-production process began immediately. Thanks to his good relationships with actors, he easily tracked down Neve Campbell, who agreed to star in the film, called When Will I Be Loved even without a salary. The production began without a script or a distributor, yet everything went rather smoothly—except for a boat that was in the wrong location during a scene and would have cost too much money to move it. Post-production, which includes the sensitive process of editing, did lead to re-shoots, but Toback says he was fortunate to get along with his talented editor. Finally, there’s the grueling process of finding a distributor—it’s somewhat funny to watch him curse off those who reject him without an explanation. Between all of the behind-the-scenes footage, Jarecki wisely incorporates interviews with actors and colleagues, such as Woody Allen, Mike Tyson, Robert Downey, Jr, Harvey Keitel, Brooke Shields and Brett Ratner. Not surprisingly, they all talk about him highly and praise his previous work, such as Black and White, Two Girls and a Guy, The Pick-Up Artist, Exposed, and Fingers--which Brett Ratner includes in his top 3 favorite films of all time. There’s also a brief interview with Roger Ebert who shares his thoughts about self-indulgent film directors. Jarecki spends just the right amount of time giving the basics of Toback’s biography, such as his wild days of experimenting with sex while living with Jim Brown and his gambling addiction, which he openly discusses. But Jarecki hasn’t forgotten that the real focus here is on the process of his filmmaking, rather than his biography which anyone could research online or in the library. By the end of the The Outsider, you not only get a good sense of what James Toback is like as a person, but what it’s like to work with him as well.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: For aspiring filmmakers or anyone with even a minor curiosity about making independent films, The Outsider includes some very insightful advice and lessons to learn from or just to ponder about. For example, Brett Ratner, who directed Rush Hour, claims that good movies are the ones that make a lot of money. Basically, the issue is whether it’s good because it makes a lot of money or does it make a lot of money because it’s good? It sounds like a simple question, but the answer pretty complex--and suvjective. Woody Allen admits that films about personal subject matters can only find a limited audience compared to less personal, more cinematic films (like those blockbusters with explosions and long chase sequences that usually make a lot of money), tend to find a much larger audience. What does it really mean for a film to be “successful”? The true meaning of success is subjective; financial success is more objective, though. Personal films do have a chance to financially survive in theaters given good word of mouth and the right marketing campaign. The Outsider deserves to survive a healthy box office—with financial success— compared to unnecessary, forgettable, stupid, so-called films such as The Omen. In reality, it’s up to readers like you to watch this film and to spread the good word to other film buffs who will enjoy it and learn from it as well.



IN A NUTSHELL: Outstanding! An essential study guide for any aspiring independent filmmaker. Smart, insightful and endlessly fascinating. A must-see for all film buffs both young and old!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theaters (1st Run)

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