FINALLY! GOODNIGHT, CLEVELAND! screened last night. The first night of COWTOWN went well, as well as could be expected. The majority of our press will hit for next week’s screening, and the movie is probably the best in the series on week two, so I’m happy. We had about 55 people for the first night, and I expect over 100 for next week’s show. I just took a phone call from WBNS 10TV, our local CBS affiliate about details for the next screening and to get summaries of each film for their community events calendar. That combined with the other press all hitting next week on Wednesday and Thursday, right before the screening of THE COURIER. We’ll have the COLUMBUS ALIVE story and video, the Uweekly, and hopefully some more press. All for the glory of Ohio Filmmaking.
GOODNIGHT, CLEVELAND! is not a great film, nor will it win any awards, but it has an endearing heart at its core, which can make it quite watchable. Considering the fact that it took 12 years to be completed, the flaws actually got demagnified when played on the big screen, as opposed to how sometimes the opposite is true. It is not a good film, but it isn’t a bad film either. The audience was moved by producer/actor George Caleodis’ Q&A session where the self deprecating honesty and genuine passion for seeing this through to completion.
Now that it’s been played in the public, I can finally give some of my personal criticisms of the film. I think it suffers from many first time filmmaking mistakes. First off, one entire plotline, one dealing with drug dealing, never shows anything. They talk about everything and show nothing. It’s a common filmmaking mistake (one I’ve made several times). Movies are a “show me” medium, not a “tell me medium”. Unless you have a famous or incredibly charismatic actor, no one would prefer hearing them tell us a story as opposed to showing us through moving images.
Secondly, there are too many “lead” characters. In GOODNIGHT, CLEVELAND there are three lead characters when there should have been only too. It gets convoluted and difficult to invest yourself into any one of these characters when there’s so many lead, and even secondary characters distracting us, the viewers. There is a character named “Matt”, whose performance is good, but I do not like his character at all. So giving this character screen time just grates on me.
Lastly, there simply was not enough coverage to edit with. Sometimes scenes had NO coverage, just one to two takes of a master shot. That’s it. Even if you use up a few seconds of film to grab some cutaways; shots of hands, feet, or anything that doesn’t need synch sound, and you can add dynamics to a scene or remove unwanted dialogue or changing the rhythm to something more appealing.
I like the movie, but simultaneously, I don’t want people thinking I don’t recognize that GOODNIGHT, CLEVELAND is not a well made movie. It’s not. My mantra, as chronicled in these blogs – we can’t make it good, we can only make it better. We did make it better and it is FINISHED. That’s what really counts. I still find the film appealing on many levels, but it’s not exactly fine art. For whatever reason, I like the movie, warts and all.
I can’t believe I have 9 more weeks to go of these screenings…. Why did I do this to myself?