Reitman handsome auteur at helm!
Jason Reitman - director of "UP IN THE AIR" (and award-winning Canadian film "Juno") - sauntered into the New Beverly Cinema Friday night to host a screening of two of his favorite films and immediately won the packed house over in minutes with his low-key down-to-earth manner.
Jason Reitman discusses film & the biz
Personally, I was keen on having the opportunity to get up-close and pick Reitman's head a tad, since I am a big fan of his last well-received picture (Up in the Air) which I reviewed a few weeks ago.
When the funny off-beat filmmaker introduced movie buffs to two high-profile stars he rustled up last minute to attend his debut as a progammer at the New Beverly Cinema (Jennifer Grey &Chris Klein) they went wild.
Frankly, it's been a while since I've witnessed such a spirited Q & A session in which - in this instant case - colorful bang-on conversational chit-chat went from informative one moment, insightful the next, to downright raunchy when least expected.
Reitman has a knack of being able to draw actors out.
Needless to say, the filmgoers hooted and hollered, which signaled they were getting their money's worth.
Reitman chose to present "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Election" (the latter he referred to as a sequel to "Ferris") in a double-bill that resonated with the audience judging by their spontaneous reactions during the course of the evening at the old revival house.
Both Broderick & Grey are at the top of their acting game here, and for that reason, their performances should not be missed (if you haven't caught the flick at least once since the classic first burst into movie theatres a bona fide hit).
Jeffrey Jones, who I have personally known since he first walked on stage emoting one-liners in Shakesperean plays in Vancouver, delivers a memorable characterization of a school principal which is difficult to best.
Curiously, I forgot that Charlie Sheen played a cameo role in the well-written innovative comedy.
According to Grey, the "Two-and-a-half Men" star tagged along with her one day to the set, and Hughes was inclined to cast him right away for a scene at the local police station.
Needless to say, in this dazzling stand-out characterization, Sheen manages to steal a lot of thunder away from both leads.
During the course of the chat with Reitman, Grey let slip a lot of juicy details about her co-star, the director, and behind-the-scenes intriques that were quite titillating.
Broderick's approach to acting, for instance, apparently caused a bit of conflict with Hughes (who was allegedly put off by Broderick's preparations and inability to just "jump in").
"We were all sitting around waiting, wondering when that signature "Brighton Beach Memoires" thing was going to kick in," Jennifer giggled in so many words.
The audience's fascination escalated when Grey revealed she was involved with Broderick romantically at the time (unknown to Hughes) which posed some tricky dilemmas for her to deal with.
For example, Hughes would confide in her about his misgivings about Broderick - which caused her to dangle uncomfortably in the middle - when she was forced to hear Matthew's side of things beneath the sheets later in their clandestine love nest.
Reitman opened up quite a bit, too, and revealed a lot about himself in the process.
Although he was always thrilled when it got back to him that an actor noted that he knew "what he wanted" as a director, he wailed that it was sort-of like a double-edged sword that cut both ways.
"It means they think that I am an a**hole," he jokingly accused, to a loud round of guffaws from the fans beyond the floodlights.
But, he was inclined to note that later, actors often thanked him for direction that they couldn't fathom originally, until they matured as performers a tad down the line years later.
Jason is articulate, funny, and comfortable before an audience.
Not full of himself, either.
In fact, he has his heroes, who continually humble (and nurture).
The likeable auteur was excited to share a telegram he received from director Alexander Payne (Election) on the eve of his first programming event in Hollywood last night.
"My favorite scene is where the guy washes his balls."
That was it folks!
Succinct and to the point.
When the scene sprang to life on the wide screen the audience laughed out loud and applauded.
Guess you had to be there.
In high school, he pined to be perform, but there were no outlets in the rural town he grew up in to explore the possibilities.
When Alexander Payne strode into town one day to film "Election", that all changed, when destiny came into play.
The handsome actor (a school jock) was shuffling down the hall one afternoon when he was literally "discovered" by Payne there to scount a location for key scenes.
Although Klein landed the part, it was not an easy task to settle in comfortably, for good reason.
Shortly after shooting began, an actress chosen to play the lead female role, was fired.
That unexpected hiccup threw him for a loop.
"I was so afraid of being fired. I realized how expendable I was," he noted in so many words.
Reitman brought the house down when he underscored how impressed he was with Klein's acting in a naughty scene where the stud experiences his first blow job.
Reitman recalled that when he was directing Juno, it was like trying to pull teeth to get the reaction he wanted from an actor in that project, who was having trouble simulating the throes of an orgasm.
"He was so subdued. I kept saying "more', give me "more"," he laughed.
Klein's response was hilarious, but right on nonetheless.
"Well, I've personally had a lot of blow jobs in my life," he fessed up.
"For a guy,though, the first orgasm is a big deal. It's the one blow job you never forget. I tried to play it large for that reason."
In more ways than one, no doubt!
Jason Reitman interview with Chris Klein
When the shot (no pun intended) splashed across the screen later, it was pretty - um - orgasmic!
Jason Reitman will be back at the Theatre on Sunday evening to take on the hosting duties once again when screens more flicks that are his favorites:
" Shampoo" and "Boogie Nights"
Catch the night's entertainment at the New Beverly Cinema; after all, you won't be disappointed.
Up in Air directed by Jason Reitman