2002 Seattle International Film Festival – Installment 2

Seattle Film Fest Installment 2: “Right As Rain” and Other Cliches


By Rebecca Redshaw

Reprinted from NotesFromHollywood.com

Installment Two: “Right As Rain” and Other Cliches


After screening the independent feature “Rain,” I came away with so many unanswered questions I decided I better answer them myself. Being a Gemini, the sign of the twins, offered the perfect opportunity for me to engage in a one on one interview if not, alas, face to face.

Why did you choose to attend the screening of RAIN out of the more than two hundred and forty films at the Seattle International Film Festival?

Initially, the scheduled time for screening worked well with my travel plans. Since I need to drive an hour and a half to the ferry, crossing the bay adds another half-hour, and then walking briskly up hill to the Egyptian Theatre adds another half-hour, I could manage possibly three screenings in one sitting before retracing my tracks at the end of the day.

But also integral in my plans was seeing independent films directed and/or written by women. RAIN fit the bill with Katherine Lindberg on both counts.

The short blip, written to entice the uninitiated public to attend, foreshadowed the grim plot, so I was indeed warned this was no comedy. Anytime you read words like “American-gothic tragedy” and “deep-buried secrets” the prospect of Meg Ryan being interested in the big money remake is slim. But tragedy is OK by me. It helps the Gemini in me appreciate the flip side of life.

The clincher for me to attend RAIN was the credit listing Martin Scorsese as Executive Producer. I love his work. Goodfellas. The Raging Bull. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. I even like The Age of Innocence. How bad could it be if Marty was involved?

How would you rate the movie, RAIN, overall?

First of all, I never rate movies. The last time I paid attention to a star I was in the first grade and there was glue on the back of it to paste it to my forehead. If you don’t want to read reviews then take your chances and go see the film like I do. If you want to read a review, then read the review! Don’t skip to smilie faces, or moons, or thumbs up or down to let someone else determine your pleasure activities with a glance. At the least, read a few paragraphs.

Secondly, if I were to rate a movie like this one it would be by “Watch Looks.” If I look at my watch once, a movie is probably too long. If I look more than once, particularly in the first half-hour it probably means one of two things. Either the story has been told a hundred times before and better.

OR it’s trying too hard to be something it isn’t. In the case of RAIN, both are true. Nothing is more painful to watch than someone trying to be deep when he or she is out of their depth before the credits are over.

The script?

Frequently reviewers’ words are taken out of context to boost bogus movie critiques. For instance, “Stupendous” might be lifted from an original review stating “…a stupendous waste of talent.” “Academy Award consideration” might be a partial quote, 180 degrees from the original meaning of “…a far cry from any Academy Award consideration.”

Putting the process in reverse. Let lines lifted from the actual RAIN script testify to its worth. “Ah, shit.” “It’s lousy.” And in reference to staying until the end credits – “You don’t just leave a place like this.”

Were at least the production values worthy of the monies spent?

The acting talent displayed was marginal at best but a mundane script and tedious direction can easily hamper performances. I’d rather not comment on individual actors. The cinematography was dingy but I think purposely so.

Frequently, Indies will run short of money towards the end of a project and music gets the short shift. It appears to be the case with RAIN. If the boring, repetitive guitar lines were intended to be melancholy they succeeded only in sounding amateurly morose.

Worst of all sins, far more than dialogue being so low the old couple behind you keeps asking “What did he say?” is the painfully loud car effects. The young man beside me held his ears as if an ambulance was passing and I quickly followed suit. Wasn’t anyone listening at the mix session?

How did RAIN get accepted by this reputable festival?

My guess is the name Scorsese helped. I discussed this issue with one of the best film festival programmers in the country, Craig Prater of the Palm Springs’ Festival of Festivals and Film Noir Festival, and he confirmed my guess. “The truth of the matter is if I got a film that was submitted by Martin Scorsese, I would probably take it. I would take it knowing that the people and critics in the audience might say, “What in the hell has Scorsese done now?” Another reason I would take the film is that it also shows that no matter who it is and the success and reputation he has he also has the ability to do duds just like anybody else. I mean, have you seen Woody Allen’s latest film? It’s just awful but I’ve seen so many of his that are just genius and I go to his films because it might be the one.”

Did Diane Ladd have nothing better to do?

Appearing in seventy-five movies over a span of five decades, you wouldn’t think Diane Ladd would need to work. Whether she does or doesn’t is irrelevant. She has the dubious distinction in this flick to open a long hidden birth certificate and, upon reading what she must have known all along, actually spills a glass of milk. No use crying, you say? But she does. Throughout the movie her pained expression as the troubled mother rarely changes. Except maybe once when she wears an orange pumpkin colored suit and hideous hat. No doubt she used that costume as motivation for her range of depressed expression.

Who got Martin Scorsese interested? Did he see the final cut?

I’d love to know the answers to those questions. The man’s an icon. His efforts to restore and preserve films are world-renowned. Was he so conscious of letting a new filmmaker tell a story that he wasn’t available to offer guidance? Was he available and his advice ignored? Does he lend his name to other projects? Would he lend it to my film if I had one? ‘Cause I’ll get one if he would sign on as Executive Producer. Why am I asking the questions? Aren’t I supposed to be answering them?

Ah, we’ve come full circle. See RAIN if you want to, or not. It will probably be available on video if you don’t want to plop down the eight bucks or if it comes and goes so quickly at the local Cineplex you miss your chance.