The Brothers McWilson

I went back to film school the other night for a screening of Luke Wilson's
self-serving vanity projectbrilliant little indie, The Wendell Baker Story. My first thought was, wow, so this is all it takes to get something made. I only need Owen Wilson to be my brother, Will Ferrell to be my friend and my other brother whom nobody's ever heard of to direct the thing while assuring me that my bloated 200-page script is shootable just as it is. I have to admit it had some good laughs throughout. But it all fell a tad short of its loftier aspirations to be one of those seventies comedies about good old boys who go to prison and like it, since those don't work without Burt Reynolds in his prime. Oh, and Eva Mendes as the love interest was no young Sally Fields. Matter of fact, I'd have cast Sally Fields nowadays in the role over some boney spokesmodel whose idea of acting is putting on a super pretty dress and looking off into the distance.

My second thought was, it's tough going back to film school, for any reason. Only three years out, and the only face in the crowd I vaguely recognized was the department chair, B.B., the one-time producer who knows everybody who's anybody and isn't shy about telling you so. In fact, she'd discovered the Wilson boys back when they were a couple of Texas yokels with a crazy short called Bottle Rocket. When she said "the boys" had lived with her while making the Wes Anderson feature, I wondered where she got the uncanny knack for differentiating your garden variety film geek from a trio of film geeks who would go on to become a Very Freaking Hip Art House Director and two Adorably Mopheaded A-list Movie Stars.

On the way out, I did run into a guy I'd known in the screenwriting program. It's always tough to know what to say when this happens, since if you bring up your big deal studio assignment you sound like you're bragging and if you don't you sound like you're a has been who never was. So I just hugged him and told him I thought the movie sucked. In lieu of nepotism, favor trading and name dropping, mocking the failures of others is a grand Hollywood tradition that seems to work just fine.


  1. Julie, you need to learn to brag. Shamelessly. Shouldn't that be one of the perks you've earned by now?

  2. Mocking failed productions is the only connection to the industry I have.