Greenberg revealed at The List Surprise Movie at GFF

Greenberg revealed at The List Surprise Movie at GFF

Glasgow Film Festival blog


Don’t worry this is the last time you will have to read my witless meanderings, normal transmission with Sir Paul Gallagher will be resumed soon.


The List Surprise Movie was…. (drum roll, drum roll) Greenberg. No it wasn’t Kick Ass or Four Lions as many people expected but Noah Baumbach’s newest film starring Ben Stiller. Baumbach is the writer/director of The Squid and the Whale and Margot at the Wedding; he makes slow-burn comedies that specialise in skewering the many idiocies and assorted delusions of the male psyche. Greenberg was more of the same really; it was a painfully honest dissection of a certain type of midlife testosterone indolence. I liked the film, especially the first half. The paying audience were not so sure, the many beautiful ladies at the screening seemed to like it more than the men in attendance but that probably had more to do with the fact that the film laid to waste the idea that mental illness is any excuse for men behaving like the total emotional idiots we are.

Anyway let’s rewind and have a run at that again.

As I mentioned in the last blog before all this I was going to a free cocktails at the Blythewood Hotel hosted by the GFF and the mighty, very necessary Scottish Documentary Institute. So I went to the Blythewood in the company of two exceptionally fine gentlemen. One Mr Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman’s long-suffering, gifted and culturally deterministic film correspondent and Paul Greenwood, the well-travelled, quietly wise film writer for The Evening Times whose sense of inclusion and broader tastes serve as a corrective to the preciousness of the Scottish arts journalism community (you may also remember Paul was also my ride away an Israeli Scottish incident some nights ago). Anyway we got there - lovely place, lovely cocktails, some old faces, some new faces, a bit of air kissing, a bit of real hugging and kissing.

And then, as always, I got overexcited. I started drinking loads, talking shit, knocking over glasses (and blaming it on other people). Anyway, before leaving there and insulting the spouses and friends of friends (I have a Masters degree in mishearing the answers to questions and coming back with something totally inappropriate - I think I may have asked a well known broadcaster why he was a janitor of a newspaper, but that’s another story), I did manage to get a chat with the lovely actor Sean Biggerstaff, best known for his role in the Harry Potter films, sex comedy Cashback and superb television film Consenting Adults. Biggerstaff told me he’s got a blink-and-you'll-miss-it part in the last Harry Potter and a load of other stuff going on but for some reason we started talking about theatre.

Biggerstaff, a very fine actor raised on the stage, said he has not been offered anything decent on stage for a long time and that all he got offered were crazy experimental roles which really wasn’t his bag. So on his behalf, I just want to say: ‘Come on you Scottish thespian dic(k)tators in your publicly-funded ivory towers - there’s real gold in them Glaswegian hills, and his name is a curious amalgam of a drab South Lanarkshire town and a stick to assist walking.

Having sunk about five fruity chalices containing what I believe is tequila and ginger combo, I decide it may be time to head to Cineworld to introduce The List Surpise Film. I get there in time to meet Allan Hunter and the lovely ladies from The List - Aimi Gold and Claire Innes - who are here to facilitate the free issues and kindly welcomes to the screening. There’s loads of security because Greenberg is not released till June and distributors are terrified of piracy. So it’s bag searches, night vision goggles (to keep an eye on the crowd) and all phones off.

The mighty festival creative director Allan Hunter does a lovely job explaining the reasons for the audience surveillance and introducing me. I do my usual disappointing performance of thanking the GFF, everyone in the audience and then giving a few silly clues to what the film may be and then we are off… or maybe not.

The projectionist seems to have slipped into a coma. The lights remain on, the screen blank. I run about a bit in my squeaky boots, but it is, of course, the unflustered Mr Hunter who gets things moving again. The lights go down and the name of the film comes up… there and some sighs - of relief or disappointment I’m not really sure. What do they want? They are the first people to see the film in the UK? Next year we’ll get a superhero movie… maybe.

That’s it from me. I’ve never written a blog before so I can only apologise. Paul Gallagher is back to report on the last day of the festival, which includes a 30th anniversary screening of Gregory’s Girl. Allan Hunter told me a lovely Dee Hepburn story, I hope he tells it to Paul. It’s his turf now, I’m moving to the suburbs.

Thank you for reading these ramblings, I’m hoping this is my last blog ever. Adieu.