John Sayles' Sunshine State

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Marc Colella, Jun 18, 2002.

  1. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    I'm looking forward to John Sayles' latest film Sunshine State. The trailer looks good.
    Early reviews on IMDB and RottenTomatoes seem positive.
    Anyone here get an early viewing before it's release on the 21st ?
     
  2. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    I'm anxious to see it. I'm a very big fan of Sayles' films. He creates real characters in real settings. He can fully develop a character with just a few lines in a way that most American films don't even bother with. Like Eric Rohmer, his characters are alive, people that you could meet every day.
     
  3. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

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    I saw this at the CineVegas Film Festival...in one word..AWFUL!!

    It got terrible word around the festival.
    Alot of people hated it
     
  4. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    John, to level-set - what's your take on previous Sayles films like Lone Star & Limbo??
    I'm a big fan of these films and am hoping against hope that Sunshine State is not a letdown. But this is not the first negative word I've heard on it. [​IMG]
     
  5. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

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    Craig,

    Sunshine State is 141min, it's way too long with a story that doesn't go anywhere.
    The characters seem okay, but don't really seem to progress.
    Alot of people said it was the worst film they have seen this year.
    And this is coming from whole hearted movie buffs like us.

    I haven't had the pleasure of seeing any other Sayles films, but coming from other fans, they said it's his worst film to date.
     
  6. Bill McA

    Bill McA Producer

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    Excerpts from Variety's Cannes review.
     
  7. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    Many, many reviewers and filmgoers (ok, not many, since probably 99% of moviegoers never saw it), absolutely hated Limbo. I loved it and I think it's Sayles' best film (though I've never seen "City of Hope" which is often described as his best).

    Apparently "naturalism" and "novel-on-film" are somehow derogatory. For me these are the things that sets his films apart and makes them special.

    I can't defend a film I haven't seen, but I'm not discouraged in the slightest by a lack of critical or viewer acceptance.
     
  8. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    I'm with you, Brook. I loved Limbo - it easily made my Top Ten in 1999 (as did the even better Lone Star in 1996).
    Unless the reviews from the major critics are pans, I'll be seeking Sunshine State out this weekend.
     
  9. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    I loved Lone Star, and really liked Limbo.
    I think most people disliked Limbo because of the ending, but I thought the ending was great.
    John Sayles really knows how to mesh multiple stories together and he often offers some very interesting characters.
    He's one of the better storytellers in film today.
    Craig, please give us your thoughts on the film.
     
  10. Steve Enemark

    Steve Enemark Second Unit

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    I saw it at the Seattle International Film Festival a few weeks ago and liked it very much. It definitely has a slow pace and "laid back" feeling to it. Very much in the same spirit as Lone Star, but not as good IMHO.
     
  11. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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  12. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    That excerpt from Variety above compares it to "City of hope" and "Lone Star", two excellent movies IMO. I haven't seen "Limbo", but if "Sunshine State" is anything like the other two movies, I don't understand how it can provoke a reaction like JohnS's above....?

    /Mike
     
  13. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Well, after several weeks of release here in Houston, I finally got up to the one art house theater that is showing Sunshine State.
    I loved it. Only Sayles seems to be able to make films like this. He examines a small Florida community during one of those low-rent festivals (complete with beauty pageant & parade) that every small town in America seems to have. The town is under assault from high-end developers who seem intent on squeezing out the locals, including the long-time residents of a proud black community. Sayles shows all sides of the issues even-handedly, never stooping to preaching or false Hollywood moralizing. And he keeps it entertaining to boot.
    Sayles fills the film with scores of interesting characters, all of them well-drawn. Films like this are an actor's paradise, and the talented cast responds. There are too many great performances to count - Edie Falco, Angela Bassett, Mary Alice, Mary Steenbergen, James McDaniel, Ralph Waite, Timothy Hutton, Bill Cobbs, and many more. It's a pleasure to spend two hours watching actors like this sink their teeth into such great material.
    Sunshine State is not quite up to the standards set by Sayles' masterpiece, Lone Star (which I think is one of the best films of the 90s). It doesn't have Lone Star's compelling mystery plot to tie all the characters & issues together, and does meander a bit at times. Nonetheless, it's a solid 9/10, and highly recommended.
     
  14. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    I totally agree Craig. Sayles is doing what he does best a story where decisions or events in the past continue
    to haunt the characters lives. The notion that you have to face these things
    and reach some sort of resolution to beable to move on with your life.
    He paints a very realistic
    portrait of development maybe taking sides, but he admirably takes the time to explain both positions accurately.

    Sayles is writing about the history of our country, one little pocket at a
    time, something no one else is doing in movies. He's writing about the
    struggle that small towns have in maintaining some identity with their past
    while McDonald's and Wal-Mart moves in and progress leaves the small
    businesses behind. The Mary Steenburgen stuff with the town trying to
    invent a historical festival to draw tourists is classic. There was a
    similar thing at Tybee Island when we were there a few months ago, complete
    with a rather bored looking guy in Colonial dress sitting by himself in a
    tent next to the lighthouse. He'd come out and demonstrate his musket and
    explain how this was an important battle site (though it took place 2 years
    after Yorktown and after all the major fighting was long finished).

    But of course Sayles best attribute is being able to create great, believably
    real characters; people you feel like you could actually meet and would want
    to know. One of the best of the year so far.
     
  15. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Craig and Brook, thanks! As a fan of Sayles, I'll be looking forward to The Sunshine State, though I'll probably have to wait for the home video release. [​IMG]
    On a side note, what did you guys think of Men With Guns? I think it's one of Sayles' best efforts but it seems to have fallen between the cracks.
     
  16. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I enjoyed Sunshine State. It's rambling, but in an interesting way, and Sayles continues to attract exceptional casts. Anyone who only knows Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano will be amazed by how different she is here (but every bit as convincing).

    M.
     
  17. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Steve, I never got to see Men With Guns. I think it may have played here a week or so. [​IMG] Is it out on DVD?
     
  18. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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  19. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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  20. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    You're right Vickie, it does have a number of big laughs.
    I thought Men With Guns was very good. Sayles lays out the cycle of poverty and how, by remaining willfully ignorant, most of us are accomplices in perpetuating the problem. Or at least that's what I remember it being about, it's been years since I've seen it. I think I rented it from Hollywood Video so I doubt it was OAR, though I was clueless about such things at the time.
    I'd definitely buy a DVD, though what I would really love to see on DVD is City of Hope
     

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