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Exit Through The Gift Shop and Ondine

With deepest apologies to Charles Dickens



I am a changed man. I was visited by a ghost last week.

I'd been pretty grumpy, rather Scrooge-like, harrumphing about how some of the latest crop of films are unwatchable (Iron Man 2, Prince of Persia), and how the movies I have enjoyed (No One Knows About Persian Cats, Vincere) couldn't find an audience.

So I was visited by a specter (just play along). I'll call him the Ghost of the Future. Not unlike his distant cousin, Jacob Marley, he was bound by chains, but in this case, the links were made of movie reels. When I looked closer, they were a montage of performances by Katherine Heigl. I was horrified. The Ghost beckoned, "Come with me to Seattle."

"How?" I asked, voice quivering.

"We'll fly," said the Ghost. So, I stepped to my bedroom window and prepared to jump.

"Are you nuts?" the Ghost screamed. "We're taking a super-saver fare on Horizon!"

Hours later, we were standing in a queue at the Seattle International Film Festival. I looked at the rundown of films and quickly chose Ondine.

"Good pick," the Ghost confirmed. "It's directed by Neil Jordan (who won an Oscar for The Crying Game), and it stars Colin Farrell. It's about an Irish fisherman who catches a young beauty in his nets. It turns out, she's a ..."

"Don't tell me!" I shouted at a specter only I could see. Several people in line stared apprehensively at me.

Two hours later, I was a new man. Ondine is a great, great film. It hints of fantasy, but with Neil Jordan at the helm, it boasts a boatful of unexpected turns. Without question, this is Farrell's finest performance to date. And he's supported by two luminous lasses, Alicja Bachleda as the mysterious Ondine, and the amazing Alison Barry as Farrell's daughter Annie.

When the Ghost returned from the restroom, I asked him if I would see Ondine again. "Indeed you shall. Ondine will be at Flicks in July."

"OK, then, I'm ready to go home," I said.

"Not yet," the Ghost moaned. A few hours later, we were in the dark of another theater.

"I'm heading to the snack bar," the Ghost said.

"Ssshhh!" I spurted, causing a few more movie-goers to look at me as if questioning my sanity. "Goobers or Raisinettes?" he whispered. I shot him a look of disgust.

The next two hours were thrilling. The documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, is one of the most entertaining movies of the year so far. The film, which explores the dangerous, hilarious, but always fascinating world of graffiti artists, goes on an uncharted journey with at least three scenes that caused my jaw to drop. When the lights came up, the Ghost was gone. I made my way to the lobby thinking I had lost him. I jumped when he snuck up behind me.

"Thanks for waiting," he said. "I have a pretty small bladder." I noticed the woman behind the snack bar watching me.

"Sorry," I said.

She laughed, "That's OK. You remind me of a guy who was here a long time ago. I think he said his friend's name was Harvey."

When we returned home, I asked the Ghost, "Do you think the people in Boise will embrace Exit Through the Gift Shop when it comes to Flicks later this month?"

The Ghost smiled. "Only if you tell them about it."

The next morning, I woke rejuvenated. And I sent a turkey to Katherine Heigl's house.


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