Sunday, March 19, 2017

Auteur Watch - Thomas Mikal Ford

...what happens when you're a big-time director, and you die in the middle of production?  Well, in the case of Thomas Mikal Ford, we might have an answer.  Unlike the rules of succession in government, Hollywood has no similar rules.  But as any member of the increasingly visible PGA (Producers Guild of America), as you can tell from that extremely annoying practice of everyone now having "p.g.a." after their name... YEECCCCHHH... they will probably tell you that the most senior producer takes over as director.  And by "most senior," I mean the producer who sunk the most money into the production.  If, God forbid, all the producers are in a horrific traffic accident, the crew takes over, starting with the Director of Photography... or is it the editor?  I assume the cameraman and the editor duke it out for control of the pic.  Then we go to production assistants, and the lead carpenter, and on down the food chain... unless a foreign investment company buys the rights to the production, at which point they will appoint new directors and producers.
But I've divulged too much yet again.  Let's get back to Thomas Mikal Ford, AKA The Pope of Comedy.  Clearly directing was his third or fourth love at best.  I mean, when you're dealing with a polymath such as The Pope of Comedy, you can't expect him or her to devote his or her energies exclusively to one craft, especially of a managerial type such as directing or producing a Hollywood film.  But judging from the number of his credits alone, acting clearly is #1 at 83 credits, followed by 9 producer credits, and followed by the highly coveted "Self" at 7 credits.  And alas, he departed this mortal coil too soon, leaving only four directing credits to his credit.  Up first is a stint on the show "Boulevard West."  Apparently, it wasn't worthy of his acting talents, so let's move on.  His next, "Beat Street (Resurrection)" was worthy of said acting talents, but he relied on a co-director for that one.
Ford passed on before Conflict of Interest could be released... it hasn't been released yet, right?  Apparently, no one knows, but I gotta say... the plot description doesn't fill me with a lot of confidence.  I mean, any time you have a vague phrase such as in the film's "Plot Summary," well... first of all, they gave away the ending.  And second, the ending is that "family is God's most precious gift to us."  Now, I haven't seen the film yet, and this is God we're talking about.  Maybe God's most precious gift is giving us the ability to build the tools to explore space.  I mean... there's a lot of space out there!  Lots of galaxies, globular clusters, Earth-like planets where we could set up shop anew and totally f... mess up in addition to Earth.  And what about all those burnt out stars that are apparently giant masses of diamond?  Sounds more valuable than family to me!  I mean, don't get me wrong.  I love family as much as the next person, but... you get me one of those white dwarves, break it up into pieces, and build some 22nd-Century infrastructure out of it.  Now we're talking!
Anyway, let's get to the other one, tentatively called Changing Lanes... I mean, Switching Channels... I mean, Switching Lanes.  Phooey.  I'm always getting those mixed up.  See, that's the problem when you're a dead director.  Take Eyes Wide Shut, for example.  I mean, Kubrick left very detailed instructions to... someone.  Actually, he left one hand-written note that said "PLEASE don't let this be my last film!"  Oh, s'z'nap.  So we may never know what Switching Lanes is ultimately going to end up looking like.  It probably won't conform to the director's original vision.  Maybe it will.

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