Sunday, June 05, 2016

Auteur Watch - Ava DuVernay

Oh yeah, I forgot, didn't I?  I used to like to see how other auteurs can trace their social networks back to Steven Spielberg.  Oh, but who cares about him anymore, am I right?  I mean, The BFG?  Seriously?  Of course, a guy like me was confusing it with the 'Doom' video game, and its penultimate weapon against the baddies.
But it seems to be the same old story.  You have to claw your way up to the top of your craft, and then maybe, just maybe, the directing gods smile down upon you and say, "Okay.  You've cut your teeth in the trenches long enough.  Come join us in the guild!"  In Ava DuVernay's case, she worked in various studio publicity departments.  As you can see from her IMDb Top 4, 2004 was a big year for movie promotion.  Still, I can't help but think that Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies kind of promoted themselves, didn't they? 
But I think I see what happened.  Ten years in the publicity game is probably enough.  And when you try to publicize a real stinker like Kevin Smith's Cop Out, one couldn't help but think to one's self... dayamn!  I could probably direct one of these things my OWN damn self!  The first big one was called I Will Follow, which seems to be about a grieving woman and the twelve Apostles... I mean, people, who help her move past the stages of grieving.  Let's see, an 80 minute movie, minus five minutes for opening and closing credits... that's about six minutes per person, given three minutes for the main character's introduction.  Sounds exactly right.  Probably auto-biographical somehow.
The second is called Middle of Nowhere about Hanson's first album... I mean, about a woman whose husband goes to prison, and she goes on a journey of self-discovery after dropping out of Med school.  Same thing happened to Lisa Kudrow when she dropped out of Med school, as she discovered that... derr!  She was destined to be AWESOME.  Mmm-bop, indeed.  As for Ava's own journey of self-discovery, she discovered that, like Steven Spielberg, she's a pretty good director if she's got good material to work with.  I mean, being your own writer can be fun and all, but sometimes you've just gotta go with the bigger topics.  And your third pic needs to be a hit, so Selma would just have to do.  Reteaming with Middle of Nowhere co-star David Oyelowo, we get a day in the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, portrayed as a younger, hotter, and thinner version of himself.  Kind of like Jackie-O in Parkland.  Hmm!  Maybe that movie Shallow Hal was on to something, except that Hal is now the casting agent of Hollywood, casting history's important figures as sexier versions of themselves, and Abraham Lincoln as a bad-ass vampire hunter, just to shake things up a bit.

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