TGIF: CT to NY for NYFF59

How do you get to Carnegie Hall…? Practice.

John Practice, you old S.O.B…

How do you get to Lincoln Center…? You take the Metro North out of Milford to Grand Central. Hop the 1 to 66 St. and voilà! Okay, maybe it sounds better when Arnold Schwarzenegger or F. Murray Abraham is saying it but you get the point. In my recollection, I’ve never been to Lincoln Center. Maybe a field trip when I was younger? Certainly not as an adult and not on a bus. Trains, man! They’re the future! You heard it here first. I’d like to also add, I’ve never been to a film fest before. When my good friend, Andrew of The Nomcast Podcast fame messaged me:

“Hey man. Any interest in going to New York Film Festival to see The Power of the Dog with me? It’s on Friday October 1st at 6pm in Lincoln Center.”

Lincoln Center

I said, New York City, here we come! But first, I needed to check out the film’s trailer…*gulp* what did I agree to? Well, at least I’ll get to visit the city, right? Heh…Okay, I watch everything. That’s no exaggeration. Am I a fan of all of it? No. More often than not, I won’t rush to see a film like Power of the Dog. In fact, the only way I’ll watch a film of its caliber is if I’m invited to review it for a podcast or if I hear enough buzz surrounding it, I’ll seek it out. Otherwise, it’ll be passed by as I search for something else on my streaming services.

The Power of the Dog Advertising

Prior to the start of the film, writer/director Jane Campion, was invited on stage to introduce her entry along with some of the stars; Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee and the film’s cinematographer, Ari Wegner. They each crossed the stage, gave a wave, created a line, and as quickly as it was formed, they jogged off backstage. I was surprised, thinking there was going to be a bigger preamble but before you knew it, the house lights dimmed…It was showtime.

L-R: Kirsten Dunst, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ari Wegner

This isn’t my review of Power of the Dog, per se. I’ll probably post that closer to its release date on Netflix (12/1). What I will say is, my initial thoughts of it were less than enthusiastic. I said as much to Andrew after the ovation had finally died down (way too long. I got sh*t to do, people!). And hey, was that everyone from earlier? Yes! It was Jane and the gang waving to the crowd below from the mezzanine. 

Peekaboo! Now, we’re over here!

Without sounding ungrateful for the experience, I thought, “Was that it?” We only saw the film along with some of the people involved…? Of course not! Just like a Marvel movie, everyone knows you don’t leave until the lights go on…sure enough, in the darkness, as my eyes prepared to readjust, I could see they were lining up chairs on stage…Looks like a Q&A!

Before we begin, I’d like the audience to refrain from asking comic book related questions.

Once again, the stars waltzed right up, sat in the seats provided and for the next half-hour or so, proceeded to take questions from the audience. Without a microphone being passed around, you could only hear the answers from the dais. The questions were retold by the moderator. Artsy questions. Nothing I could think of. Unless, I had done a bunch of research before my viewing and the seats were closer. It was good to hear a real response. Nothing manufactured. No premeditation. Just candid responses. I’d like to note, Benedict is AS charming and humorous as you’ve heard. In fact, in spite of my initial feelings for the film, my appreciation of Benedict’s performance is consistent. He’s mesmerizing. 

I may have been underwhelmed with the film initially but as we walked back to Grand Central, my critique began to soften. That’s the beauty of seeing movies with friends. They may see something you haven’t. Their reactions can elevate your own (especially with comedies). I could very easily poo-poo my viewing and call it a day. My walk with Andrew made me realize a crucial part of the story I missed. Changing my score from a 2/2.5 to a 3 out of 5. I’m thankful I finally got to experience a film festival. I’m also grateful Andrew asked me to attend. We went to see Power of the Dog but in our viewing I see the power of films.

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