Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Film Faux Parley: Freedomland

This week, the latest Samuel L. Jackson film Jumper opens. Seeing the numerous trailers reminds me of the good, bad, and ugly films he has made over the years. I often wonder what it would be like to candidly sit down with an actor and discover what's behind their film choices. With that in mind, I've printed an imagined interview that I have dubbed A Film Faux Parley. The title may be a bit weak, but trust the content is strong like bull.

(a.k.a. Free'dumb'land)

Release: 02/17/2006
DVD Release: 05/30/2006
Rated R
1 hour, 53 minutes

Group Rental ($)

Hello Stargazers, this is Wayne a.k.a. Reel Whore. Samuel L. Jackson (Kiss of Death), Julianne Moore (Psycho), and Edie Falco (Cop Land) star in this racially-charged thriller about a carjacking turned kidnapping. As the three work to find out the truth, the tension between the police and the residents of Armstrong Houses smolders like a powder keg. Joining me here today are the headliners of Freedomland. I'd like to extend a warm welcome to Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore, and Edie Falco. I'm so glad you could join me.

Jackson: You’re welcome, happy to be here.
Moore: It’s a pleasure to be here today.
Falco: Yes, thank you for having us.

RW: Well, I've had the opportunity to see this film and I must say, it was quite painful and not in the good way. But before we get into who should be held accountable, let me first ask, what was it like working with each other?

Moore: Oh, it was such a pleasure. I have admired Edie for a long time. Despite all her success, I still don’t think she gets the respect her abilities deserve.
Falco: Juli, stop gushing! I could say the same for you. Just having the opportunity to work opposite you and Sam was a high point in my career. The accolades you two garner are more than deserved.
Moore: Now you should stop before I start blushing. But you are right, Edie, Sam is such a powerful actor and unless you work with him you just can’t know.
Falco: Truly.
Moore: To be honest, I would have taken the part for free to star opposite him, but don’t tell the producers that.

*laughs all around*

RW: Funny you should mention that Ms. Moore; we may have to come back to that later. What about you, Mr. Jackson? Waiting to get a word in edgewise?

Jackson: (chuckling) Well Wayne, I have to say that it was an honor working with two very talented and handsome women such as Edie and Julianne here. For years I have wanted to work with both of these fine actresses, but with our busy schedules and varied movie tastes it’s taken a while for a project to present itself.

RW: Indeed. It seems the three of you enjoyed each others’ time together immensely. I’m glad you brought up your varied movie tastes; it leads me to my next question. As busy as the three of you are, what exactly possessed you to put your reputations on the line for this excruciating piece of cinema?

Jackson: Honestly? I love a challenge and I love working. The idea sounded a lot better on paper, though I knew it would have its problems. I just didn’t realize how many until I was in too deep. (laughs)

RW: Have you ever thought about just saying ‘no’ every now and then? Your presence can’t save every movie.

Jackson: That’s easier said than done, son. See, I don’t think you understand me when I say I love to work. I have to work. It’s like an addiction. Why the hell do you think I play junkies so well? It’s not because I used to use drugs; it’s because I understand the nature of addiction. You ever see Deep Blue Sea? As Chappelle put it "a mother-fuckin’ shark ate me" in the first twenty pages of the script but I didn’t pass it up because at least it was a quick fix between bigger and better projects!

RW: Wow, that makes your career choices so much clearer. But let’s give your fellow actors a chance to defend themselves. Ms. Falco, why did you sign up for this?

Falco: For me, it’s even simpler. I love my recent fame, but I’d like to be known for something other than The Sopranos. I mean I have been acting for nearly twenty years but can you tell me anything I was in before that show?

RW: (pause) Point taken. How about you Ms. Moore? You have given outstanding performances in many highly praised films such as Magnolia and The Big Lebowski, yet you dropped the big “F” bomb on us with The Forgotten. Why did you decide to go for a second “F” bomb?

Moore: I approach every film with an equal amount of dedication. I am an artist committed to my craft, and I think despite the subject matter of any work, my commitment shines through above all.

RW: Believe me it does. No one sells crazy better than you. Really, your performance is the most memorable thing about Freedomland and this is coming from someone who wishes he could forget everything about the film. But that doesn’t answer why you wanted to do this film. Are you punishing the world for being snubbed at the Oscars a few years back?

Moore: (laughing) Oh dear, being nominated for both Best Actress and Supporting Actress in the same year is far from being snubbed. No, not winning either award has nothing to do with what you think of as my recent decline. I know that my fans appreciate me for my work regardless, and I always stick by my decisions.

RW: That’s your prerogative. I still don’t think we got the reason why you did this film, but we have to move on. Ms. Falco, when you were offered this role, were you aware that your character’s screen time would be so miniscule, or were you led to believe you had a more substantial part?

Falco: It’s funny you mention that. The role was, in fact, far meatier on paper than it ultimately became in the final cut. At first, I was very angry that all my efforts had fallen onto the cutting room floor. Now that I’ve seen the film, I’m happy my part was small enough that the public may forget that I was in this.

RW: Wait…I thought you took this role to get more attention and distance yourself from your TV personality. Now you’re saying folks should disregard this film altogether?

Falco: No, people should see this if they want to. They should just forget I was ever in it. There will be a better non-TV opportunity for me before too long.

RW: True, it is Hollywood after all. We haven’t heard from you in a while, Sam. Can I call you Sam?

Jackson: No you may not. I prefer Mr. Jackson or King of Cool.

RW: I apologize. So King of Cool, looking back on the film and the final cut, is there anything you regret about your time spent on this production?

Jackson: Yeah, I should have gotten paid a lot more.

RW: I thought you were addicted to working?

Jackson: I am. But not nearly as addicted as I am to money, or golfing. The way I figure, the more of my screen time that’s needed to carry a film, then the more I should get paid because I will need to spend a lot more time on the green to unwind afterwards.

RW: What a sordid, compulsory triangle. Not to be rude, King of Cool, but if anyone’s performance carried this film I’d have to say it was Ms. Moore’s stellar portrayal.

Jackson: (pausing) I’ll have to agree with you on that. Juli here is long overdue for the recognition she deserves. I for one was appalled when Julianne got snubbed back in '02 after getting passed by not once, but twice prior! If it was me, there’d be hell to pay by now! But I guess if Randy Newman can remain calm for being overlooked 15 times prior to his award, Juli here can tough it out a little longer.
Moore: (snorting, mumbling) Fuck you.
Jackson: Excuse me?
Moore: I’m sorry Sam, I didn’t mean that. What I meant to say was fuck the Academy! I pour my fucking heart and soul into every single film I’ve ever been in, even shit productions like this one, and for what?! I’ve managed to do everything necessary to win the Award. I’ve gotten naked, chosen completely out of character roles, fought tooth and nail to get the artsy films only to be passed over for the likes of who? Kim Basinger playing the whore she is, Nicole Kidman in a fake nose….wow, that was a stretch of talent! Not to mention Catherine Zeta-Jones gyrating around like she does at the Douglas mansion and Hilary Swank…(pause)...actually, Hilary was very deserving for her stint as a man in Boys Don’t Cry.

RW: Whoa, that’s quite a grudge list you have there, Ms. Moore. So has being repeatedly snubbed by the Academy sent you on a downward spiral in terms of film quality?

Moore: You just won’t let that go will you, you ass? Fine! I’ll tell you, but first let me clarify something. Untalented as some of those ladies may be, I don’t begrudge them. This is between me and the Academy. They need to be accountable to folks like me and Randy Newman. I mean, jeez, how the hell did Randy survive twenty years of rejection?! So here’s the way I figure it: I’ll plunge myself into these sub par productions that have no chance of even being seen by Academy members for a few more years, and when I jump back into a gripping film with my usual fervor the Academy should recognize my talents for their true merit.
Jackson: Damn Juli! I didn’t realize you were so consumed by this. If you’re looking for a few more trash projects, I’ve got about a half dozen in production right now you’re welcome to join, just say the word.
Falco: Yeah Juli. I wish I could offer you some roles like Sam, but if you ever want to take a break from the big screen, I'm sure I'll be in a TV gig before long that'd love to have you.
Moore: (sniffing) Thank you both. You’re too kind.
Falco: Well, we’re all about to go through a very difficult few weeks as the critics rip us a new one for Freedomland.

All: (Laughing)

RW: Well, that was a nice relief. Things were getting a bit…

Jackson: Yeah, things were getting a bit heavy thanks to you. Why did you have to keep picking at Juli like that? The real criminals here are director Joe Roth and writer Richard Price. Where the hell are they and why aren’t you grilling them?

RW: Funny you should mention them. I tried to contact both of them for today’s interview but it seems Mr. Roth was meeting with the DGA to save his membership card from being revoked and Mr. Price has returned to being flogged, for both Shaft and this.

Jackson: Oh, that’s where he’s been. I had forgotten about that. You know, that was nearly twenty movies ago for me.

RW: Twenty? Yeah, I guess you’d know. Not to pick, but I want to come back to something Ms. Moore said earlier. Since you’ve all admitted how bad this film is with all its stereotypes, its bloated racial tensions, and confusing child abduction story, would any of you be willing to give the public a refund if they waste their money to see this?

Falco: Not a chance.
Jackson: I don’t think so!
Moore: Oh, no. No way.

RW: Why not? Don’t you feel accountable?

Jackson: Please! Am I going door to door and putting a gun to every patron’s head, forcing them to see this film? No. If anyone’s dumb ass watches the film’s trailer and still thinks it’s a good idea to go see it, then it’s on them. Besides, no one comes between me and my money, or my tee time.
Falco: I have to agree with Sam, except for the golfing part. I spend my money on traveling. Besides, I am a TV star; I don’t get paid like my friends here.

RW: Understandable. Ms. Moore, how about you? Willing to pony up for your disappointed fans?

Moore: (laughing) to quote one of my favorite characters, “Qué Ridículo!

RW: (laughing) Good one. Well, we’re just about out of time. Any last words?

Jackson: Thanks for having us here today, Wayne. It’s been fun. Maybe we can do this for my other films?

RW: If we did that, Sam, it’d have to be a weekly interview!

Jackson: (laughing loudly) Too true my man…and what did I tell you about the ‘Sam’!?

RW: (bowing) Sorry, King of Cool. Ladies, anything to add?

Falco: I’d also like to thank you for the interview. And if I could add for your readers, don’t forget to email HBO and let them know how much you miss me!

RW: Normally I don’t allow shameless plugs, but in case someone actually sees Freedomland between now and then, you'll need a way to redeem yourself. Ms. Moore, you’ve been awfully quiet. I hope I haven’t upset you today?

Moore: Oh no, Wayne, you haven’t. And please call me Juli. I am glad I was given the chance to come here and talk with you.

RW: Me too, Juli. You truly are a shining star. I’m sure it won’t be long before you can call Oscar yours. The Academy just needs the chance to recognize, as we do, just how passionate you are for your craft.

Moore: Definitely. In the meantime, the Academy knows where they can stick that Oscar.

RW: I couldn’t have said it better myself. Again, I am honored you all found time to sit down with me today. I wish you continued success despite this stumbling block, Freedomland.

There you have it folks; not only from me, but the actors all agree this film isn’t worth watching the trailer on TV, let alone going to the theater. I hope you've enjoyed this premier edition of A Film Faux Parley. Good night.

Large Association of Movie Blogs


  1. I was a little frightened how closely I felt this interview could have reflected reality.

    Complete aside, but I was troubled that you mentioned "strong like bull" in your intro when I used the exact same line in a comments page about five seconds ago. It's like looking in the mirror and watching my reflection talk back.

  2. Great minds think alike my friend, great minds indeed.

    I'm glad you felt I accurately captured the voice of these celebs. I look forward to doing another 'interview' very soon.