When I discovered that my membership with the
Idaho's Idaho Writer's Guild qualified me for a free ticket to the world premiere of Bad Writing at the Flicks last Saturday, I took advantage and went. I knew nothing about the film beyond a vague recollection that it had been done by some young Lewiston-based filmmakers. My expectations were low. How good could it be?
About 75 people were in the house when the lights went down. The star and director of the movie, Vernon Lott, and his wife--the film's co-writer and producer--Jennifer Anderson, were sitting in the last row. This was a premiere for them as well: it was the first time they would be seeing the film on the big screen. As the movie opened, I had no idea this was going to be the dawning of something incredible. Once things got rolling, I was immediately entranced. The title had softened my resistance, but this little film went off like a bomb and blew away all of my
resistance reservations. Anyone with any knowledge of film, the horrors of the writing life or the history of documentaries won't miss what is happening on the screen. The fact that I was in the first audience to ever see this film gave me a seeing-the-Beatles-at-The-Cavern sort of feeling in my gut.
Bad Writing is no patched together, film school freshman vanity production: Lott has interviews with David Sedaris and Margaret Atwood; he careens from New York City to Los Angeles. OK, so maybe you only see Sedaris' hands and not his actual face, but you know it's him from the distinctive voice and the way he fidgets. Lott plays a Michael Moore role in his own film, and handles the task brilliantly. He frequently refers to himself as "absolutely clueless," but the film he has surrounded himself with, his own creation, belies his humility.
Everything about Bad Writing works. It's smart, funny and has an attitude. Made for around a $100,000, and financed by the director's uncle and his sister, the movie looks as tight and clean as anything Michael Moore has come up with. There's no bad lighting, no bad sound, no bad anything and this movie has the potential to do Napoleon Dynamite numbers.
During an after-screening interview with Lott and Anderson, I learned that the film's editor (and co-writer), Christian Kinnard, worked on Bill Maher's Religulous. They said Kinnard agreed to edit Bad Writing after he was sent a short that appeared on YouTube.
This film has the mojo to kill at film festivals around the world. It's a crowd pleaser, and the story behind it is amazing.
And if you weren't one of the fortunate few who had the presence of mind to be at its unveiling, as of Tuesday, Sept. 7, Bad Writing will be available for viewing at Amazon Video on Demand.