First, a correction to my last post: Colin Firth plays George VI in The King's Speech, not Edward VI.
Well, all my predictions about the secret screening blew up in my face. The thing turned out to be Everything Must Go, a drama starring Will Ferrell as an alcoholic who loses his executive job on the same day that his wife tosses all his possessions out onto their front lawn and changes the locks. With said wife conveniently away, the guy obstinately arranges the furniture and stuff on the lawn like it's his living room and sits there stewing away and drinking lots of beer. Man, we've had so many depressive drunks in this year's festival. Ferrell is really good in a more or less straightforward role, and he plays well off a talented supporting cast that includes Rebecca Hall as a pregnant neighbor and Christopher Caldwell (Biggie Smalls' son in real life) as a kid who helps him sell off some of his stuff. The movie is based on Raymond Carver's short story "Why Don't You Dance?", but it's funnier and it ends more hopefully. I'm not sure how the movie will do in the general release that it's scheduled for next year; not much happens in it, particularly because the main character is trying to keep things from happening to him. Yet Ferrell's performance and the movie's subtle humor are enough to make it worth a look. The film was shot in the Phoenix area; writer-director Dan Rush reported that the houses he used were some of the only ones in the city that had a grassy lawn. Most of the houses there have rock gardens and desert landscapes out front, which does cut down the city's water usage.
I've never attended the music events at LSIFF before, but I stopped by 8.0 to catch Jeff Bridges and T-Bone Burnett. T-Bone took the lead on "Honkytonk Angel" and "Don't You Lie to Me," while guitarist Colin Linden did a fantastic job fronting four songs by the likes of Howlin' Wolf and The Band. The crowd was there to see Bridges, though, and he didn't disappoint. He and Burnett played the Bad Blake songs from Crazy Heart, and they are as good as I remembered them. Bridges fittingly dedicated "Brand New Angel" to the late Stephen Bruton. All in all, it was pretty awe-inspiring having these distinguished artists take the stage at 8.0. The festival organizers seem to be pretty good at tying these musical events into the movie world so that moviegoers will be interested. I'm looking forward to next year's closing-night concert, for which I fully expect LSIFF to book Gwyneth Paltrow and the cast of Country Strong.
Let's see if there are surprises on the last day of the festival tomorrow. — Kristian Lin