That Time I (kind of) Interviewed Pauly Shore

Pauly Shore_WFFMy six minutes with Pauly Shore was productive. We talked about schtick, his new film; Pauly Shore Stands Alone, podcast; Pauly Shore’s Interested, the Goofy (Disney) Franchise, Robin Williams and the dark side of comedy, and the correct lighting for taking Instagram photos — which was off the record.

Here are a few of the more interesting points of our conversation at the 15th Annual Woodstock Film Festival

Are you excited about the Colony Cafe stand-up show?

I don’t know what to expect. If there’s people in the audience, that’s all I care about.

Let’s talk a little about your podcast; Pauly Shore’s Interested. I’ve read a few reviews where people talk about how you’re a much better interviewer than anticipated. Have you heard people mention this? About the podcast show, in particular?

I don’t know… I guess it goes back to what people’s perception of me is. You know which is goofy, outrageous, retarded, you know what I mean? It’s definitely part of who I am.  The podcast has a lot to do with my documentary, so you need to see that. When you’re a comedian when you do schtick, it’s a good thing and a bad thing.

So is this more of a serious side of you? Should I call you Paul Shore now?

No, call me Skip. Skip. No, it’s not serious; it’s more real. This stuff is more real… but it’s still really funny. It depends on what the subject is. One of the podcast episodes was a tribute to Robin Williams. Obviously, that’s not funny.

Have you been inundated with questions about Robin Williams lately?

Not really, not since he passed.

It’s fascinating…the serious side of comedians.

Well, look at Lost in Translation with Bill Murray. I think it would shock people if comics don’t do something serious. ‘Cuz every comic has a serious, fucked-up side.

I was listening to the Andy Dick podcast, because, well, I love Andy Dick. You mention that he sort of stumbled into the Comedy Store looking for you and it made me think of yet another interview I saw with you where you spoke about Sam Kinison and how you sort of took him under your wing. Was this your role at your mom’s place (The Comedy Store), like, come and see me; I’ll take care of you?

That’s the role she (my mother) played, she took care of the comedians. So, I feel an obligation.

I have one more question for you and then I’ll let you go. Let’s talk about the Goofy (Disney) Franchise. I have a three-year-old who loves your work. 

Oh wow, yeah… Leaning Tower of Cheeee-za! (Laughs) I’m not in charge of the business of that, but if they called, I’d do it.

Well, I think that’s all I have for you, I know you have some other obligations.

Yeah, well definitely try to check out the movie. It’s fun… bring your friends; It’s a funny movie.

He ends the interview by saying that he’s popped a lot of first time interviewer cherries. Parting words that have left this virgin interviewer a bit traumatized, but appreciative of the hazing, nonetheless. Thank you, sir.

Looking forward to seeing the new film; Pauly Shore Stands Alone followed by a stand-up show later tonight @ Colony Cafe in Woodstock, NY.

The stand-up performance is part of the 15th Annual Woodstock Film Festival.


Passing Ellenville to Hold New York Premiere at the 15th Annual Woodstock Film Festival

Passing Ellenville

The documentary short film, Passing Ellenville will have its area and New York State premiere at the 15thAnnual Woodstock Film Festival (WFF), October 15th – 19th, 2014. The film will screen at the Orpheum Theater in Saugerties on Saturday, October 18th at 7pm and Sunday, October 19that the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock at 2:45pm as part of the inaugural LGBTQ Focus at the festival.

Co-directed by Gene Fischer and Samuel Centore, Passing Ellenville follows two transgender youths in Ellenville, NY through their transition.  James, female-to-male, comes from a history of abuse and a string of family problems. Ashlee, male-to-female, struggles to align her orthodox Jewish faith with her transgender identity.

Begun as a photographic essay in 2012 by photographer Gene Fischer, Passing Ellenville was filmed in the small economically-depressed town over an 18-month period. “We wanted to show a side of transgender life in the United States that is simply not seen in mainstream media,” said Fischer, who is co-director and executive producer. “Passing Ellenville shows a slice of humanity that is rarely shared in film, television or traditional film festivals.”

“We are so pleased to have our New York premiere of the film at such an important film festival, just 40 miles from where the film is set,” said co-director and cinematographer Centore. “In many ways, the town of Ellenville and all its struggles is the third character in the film.”

This intimate portrait of humanity is both inspiring and unsettling as the viewer is brought into the daily challenges of what it means to be transgender and young in a rural, conservative setting while also trying to survive on government assistance and facing transphobia, verbal abuse and threats of violence. 

The film will precede Queens and Cowboys: A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo, directed by Matt Livadary, and is part of the WFF Focus on LGBTQ films.

American Commune; Community Endures.

janet mundo renaI’m kind of a documentary film snob. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to my devout followers. At the core of this blog is a truth-seeking, information-obsessed critic who loves thought-provoking and controversial films. I really can’t get enough of them, but I’m usually terribly selective, and this sometimes makes or breaks my motivation to write a review.

I couldn’t wait to write this one.

American Commune is thought-provoking. It deals with controversial subjects (60s counterculture, etc.) It’s rich in all the characteristics a good documentary should possess, but it has something none of the others do: the power to completely disarm even the most ruthless film elitist of any and all criticism(s) within the first 10 minutes.

The Mundo sisters have brilliantly edited and narrated a haunting tale — their tale — of the intentional community; The Farm. The film is part biopic, part social documentary, and 100% affecting. For lack of a more eloquent way of expressing my emotions, I’ll just say this: I’m a fairly emotionally charged individual, but I can’t remember the last time I cried, sobbed, shook my head and wanted to hug everyone around me (and all at the same time), ever. American Commune is honest; it lacks the preachy, self-righteous, and sometimes obnoxiously impassioned point of view commonly found in the 21st cent. documentary, and sticks to what happened and why.

Just the facts.

In 1971, Nadine and Rena Mundo’s parents were among the 300 founding members of The Farm, a project led by Stephen Gaskin, and spouse (mother of “authentic midwifery”) Ina May Gaskin. The group (consisting of early 20-something “free love” seekers) travels from San Francisco to the outskirts of Nashville to set-up a completely sustainable community committed to spiritual living and self-sufficiency. The utopian socialist experiment thrived until 1985, when the farm’s income fell short of sustaining its survival. Interspersed among segments of stills, video footage and a powerfully quiet and humble narration, is the story of one family who struggles to interpret their identity among their prematurely chosen hippie existence.

American Commune is a well-researched (8 years, in fact) film that includes the use of carefully selected archival footage, as well as some enchanting 2D to 3D conversion of stills. The film triumphantly captures the enduring legacy of community.

And I personally can’t wait to see what the Mundo sisters will do next.

American Commune  just celebrated its East Coast Premiere at the 14th Annual Woodstock Film Festival.

Paul Rudd @ 14th Annual Woodstock Film Festival

Paul Rudd discusses working with Jack Nicholson.

Paul Rudd discusses working with Jack Nicholson.

Paul Rudd does not want you to think he’s a nice guy.

He’s spent most of his career trying to develop an “edge”; something along the lines of a drug, drinking or attitude problem, is what he had in mind. (Perhaps something similar to his character from Our Idiot Brother?)

In true improv fashion, these are some of his opening thoughts, brought out by the easy-natured, casual interviewing style of WAMC’s Joe Donahue.

The audience chuckles, he flashes that irresistible guy-next-door grin, and we’re all reminded that he really is the sweetest man in show biz. As if we could forget.

The actor spoke in detail about his work on the upcoming cult comedy sequel, Anchorman 2; The Legend Continues, as well as his time working with the cast of Friends. He also let us in on a little known secret; he once wanted to study animation, not acting.

The interview proceeded without a hitch, until around the 30 minute mark when my smart phone decided to burst into full-blast ring mode. (It’s never on, by the way, so my apologies to Mr. Rudd and Mr. Donahue, as well as the WAMC staffers sitting at my left and videographers at my right.)  This wasn’t meant as a rash attempt to gain attention. If it had been, the ringtone would’ve been set to “Afternoon Delight,” or maybe even “Stars” from Les Mis.  And yes, audience members, now you know I lied about it being me.  Don’t worry; there’s a special place in Press Hell for people like me, right next to the paparazzi.

Here’s a quick clip of today’s Q & A panel at Kleinert/James Arts Center in Woodstock, NY. During this short segment, Paul talks about trying to impress David Letterman and his experience meeting Oprah.

Get a Job @ 2nd Annual Kingston Film Festival; A return to funny.

GetAJob-HawaiiTheatreThese days, an air of déjà vu can be found hanging over my head at the movies.

Not tonight.

True, the Hawaii-set comedy evokes “Dumb and Dumber,” and countless other Peter Farrelly movies, not to mention vintage screwball favorites like: “It’s a Mad, Mad World,” but it also has at its center a uniquely compelling narrative that captures the Hawaiian free spirit.

Get a Job, Hawaii’s first major motion picture comedy, is fresh and charming. It’s only “downfall” (if you want to call it that) is it’s lack of predictable and snarky catch phrases that the Apatov/Farrell funny factories continue to churn out. It’s comedy in the purest sense of the word; a return to funny as it was meant to be — without pretense.

I would like to thank Writer-director Brian Kohne, and actors Eric Gillom and Willie K for keeping it so very “feel good.”

Congrats on your East Coast Premiere!