So, I saw American Hustle today as part of the New York Film Critics Screening series. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone hosted the event and conducted a ridiculously short Q&A with David O. Russell afterwards, the director of the surefire hit. The movie itself is great, with outstanding performances top to bottom from Christian Bale to Jennifer Lawrence. Solid stuff, for sure.
I'm updating my top five favorite films of 2013, for the record:
3) The Conjuring
4) American Hustle
5) The Great Gatsby
The main issue with the event was a slew of technical issues that were embarrassingly obnoxious for those in attendance and the apparent 50 cities around the country who were watching the film and the Q&A that followed via the magic of what I imagine to be satellites, the internet and a ton of prayers. Travers was great as a host, but unfortunately, the technical issues got in the way of a genuinely fantastic evening.
Being a journalism junky, when I spotted Travers hanging out in the lobby, I froze up a tad and told my father (who was sweet enough to join me for the screening) that I was terrified that one of my critic heroes was right there. I didn't have the nerve to say anything to the guy, but once inside, I noticed another of my journalism heroes walking up the stairs, headed for the back row (which is where we posted up): Michael Musto, formerly of The Village Voice was in attendance, and, after turning to Twitter to build courage to say something, I walked over to Mr. Musto, asked if it was, in fact, him, and told him how I love his work. He was very kind, thanking me and I said "Enjoy the film," and walked back to my seat, not wanting to make a bigger deal about anything.
I was shaking, though. I've interviewed politicians, actors and more over the course of my career, but meeting someone who genuinely matters to me and my chosen profession filled me with terror. The same thing happened when I met Bret Easton Ellis. It shook me to the core. I don't know, it's a strange thing.
I don't know what it is. Put me in a room with Nicolas Winding Refn or Jim Lee, I'm good. Put me in a relaxed atmosphere like a movie theater with Michael Musto and Peter Travers and I panic.