At The Movies

Interview: Rob Reiner & Madeline Carroll

By Tony Sheppard

Rob Reiner’s latest film, “Flipped,” opened last week. I had a chance to interview Reiner and his young lead actress Madeline Carroll about both the film and politics. My interview with Reiner about his role in the recent Prop. 8 trial will run next week.

CW: Let me first of all ask both of you, what attracted you to this project?
RR: My son Nick was in the fifth grade at the time…he was assigned the book for class and he said this is really good let’s read it together and I was completely blown away by how sophisticated the writing was. This wasn’t just a kid’s book. The writer, Wendelin van Draanen, really understood what it felt like to have those first feelings of love and what kids went through and it resonated with me because I remembered back to when I had those feelings. Nick said to me this would make a great movie and I loved the convention of seeing it through both the girl’s and the boy’s point of view.

CW (to RR): How was filming the two perspectives for you as a director?
RR: Crazy making – absolutely crazy making. Because, you know, when you’re writing the script its not a big deal, but when you’re shooting… you’re shooting out of sequence to begin with so you have to remember what goes where. Then we would shoot sequences within sequences…when you have time constraints and money constraints, so we’d say this will work for both these scenes, we’ll just have to alter it slightly and we’d say “Whose point of view is this, is it Bryce or is it Juli?” It was like a three-dimensional puzzle and it was interesting because as we were making the movie everybody was getting into Rubik’s cube … and the movie was like a Rubik’s cube.

MC: We were filming the sequences where I was doing the yard in scenes with John Mahoney and we had a full lawn of grass and we did two takes and then ripped all the grass out and then we put it all back in and then did a couple of takes and then put it all back in.

CW (to MC): And had you heard about it before the movie came along?
MC: My mom read it first.  At the time we had just passed on all these things… all the roles that had been offered to me were all this bad language and just bad stuff. I read it and I absolutely loved the story. I loved the fact that it showed a scene through his eyes and a scene through her eyes – I thought that was really cool. I’ve never seen anything like that before. It was just a really good, innocent story – I really loved it.

CW (to MC): You’ve played very strong young women in “Flipped” and “Swing Vote.” Do you see yourself in these characters? Are there causes you believe in?

MC: I feel passionate about things, especially things that deal with kids. I donate to this organization called ZOE International that saves kids from child prostitution. I really, really believe that’s terribly wrong…I mean right now I’m doing a movie called “Machine Gun Preacher” that’s a true story about people getting saved in Africa, all these kids that get murdered for no reason. For people to just hear about those things on the news and say that’s sad and not do anything about it, I really don’t get it.

The Other Guys

Directed by Adam McKay • Review by Joy McCrea
I’m not a huge Will Ferrell fan, and this is not the best film in the world, but I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard in a while. There was one scene early on with the two super cops (if I described it would give away some plot) where I continued to laugh out loud and slap my knee after all the laughter in the packed theatre had stopped. I can’t remember when I last slapped my knee like that either.

This is a spoof of all the buddy cop films from the 1980s, but it had a modern twist. The bad guys are investors – an appropriate topic for the times. I liked that they made such a really silly movie and still got some interesting stats in during the credits about the financial crisis. Somehow finding the humor in such dismal facts as the salary of the CEO of Goldman Sachs compared to an average person’s salary was clever to me.

But this is still a very silly movie. There were a few scenes where the dialogue was too absurd for my taste and I was starting to lose interest. There was also some crude humor so not a film for the little ones. Potty humor is not my thing either, but it worked somehow even while sitting next to my almost 14-year-old son. My kids convinced me to like “Elf” and I did like Will Ferrell as Harold Crick in “Stranger Than Fiction” (although an atypical role for him).

Here he plays his more typical man-child. Most of the time I enjoyed this movie, even if I was cringing a little (which was probably the point). Maybe some goofy comic relief is just what we all need now and again.

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