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December 17, 2013 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Robert Redford's Restless Solitude
Redford started Sundance because the movies he wanted to see – ones with story and characters – weren't being made in Hollywood. The only problem is he was so successful that Hollywood decided to devour his Xanadu, with premium vodka parties and assistants scouring the Park City Albertsons for Fiji water. "It makes me fucking nuts," says Redford. He has physically distanced himself from the film festival, making only occasional cameos. "It has moved out of what I had as a comfort zone. It's moved beyond, to where I'm uneasy about it." Redford talks with sadness about his wayward film child, ticking off the rise of ambush marketers and swag bags, as if it is all out of his control, a stance that Redford's skeptics claim is evidence he sees himself as a reluctant, tragic hero – not only in his movies but also in the story of his life.

J.C. Chandor wrote and directed and Redford stars in All Is Lost (trailer)

All Is Lost: The Formidable Robert Redford Takes on the Ocean
At 77, Robert Redford Goes Back To His Roots
posted by the man of twists and turns (29 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
I can see where he's coming from, but holding it in what was even then turning into a playground for people of means made it inevitable. You want to try again, Bob? Hold the next one in a shithole that could really use the money.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:29 PM on December 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Robert Redford has been a great actor and, arguably, an even better director. He has a real knack for character and story. It always bums me out that The Milagro Beanfield War never gets mentioned in these articles, though. The cinematography in that flick is spectacular.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:32 PM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love his Paul Newman anecdote:

"All Paul talked about was cars – cars, cars," Redford tells me with a laugh. "I told him to stop with the cars. It's boring. I would come up to Connecticut on weekends, and one time I called a towing service. I said, ‘Look, you guys have a wrecked car? Preferably a Porsche.' "


A couple of days later, the guys found a flattened Porsche that fell off a railcar. Redford had them wrap it up in newspaper and put a ribbon around it. He then had them drop it on Newman's back porch.

Two weeks passed, and Redford heard nothing. One day he came home and opened the door, and in the foyer was a large wooden box. He got a crowbar and a hammer to open it. It was just a big block of metal.

"He put it in a block," says Redford. "I didn't say anything. So I called a friend of mine, a sculptor in Westport and said, ‘If I give you some material, could you sculpt it?' "

She said yes. The towing guys took the block to the sculptor. About three weeks later, she finished, and – according to Redford – it was an abomination. The guys put it in Newman's garden. "Neither one of us ever mentioned it," says Redford. "That's the kind of relationship we had. It was just fun."

posted by Sebmojo at 2:58 PM on December 17, 2013 [51 favorites]


It's a riveting film.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:03 PM on December 17, 2013


...but holding it in what was even then turning into a playground for people of means made it inevitable. You want to try again, Bob? Hold the next one in a shithole that could really use the money.

I dunno. They hold Burning Man out in the middle of a fucking desert and it's still a trust-funders' party.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:29 PM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Uh.... no, not really it isn't.
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:43 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


That first article is remarkably blunt for a piece covering an actor with a movie coming out (normally those types of pieces are positively fluffy, but this one is rather clear about Redford's flaws as seen by the author). Definitely worth reading, even though I occasionally disagreed with the author.
posted by librarylis at 3:45 PM on December 17, 2013


"See it, Bradley. I want to see what you think."
Somehow it hadn't occurred to me that Brad was short for Bradley even in Pitt's case. Now imagining an alternate universe where he goes by Bradley Pitt.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:55 PM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I dunno, I think he kinda looks like a Bradley.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:58 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


He'd spent his entire career rebelling against just being another good-looking guy ... In 'All Is Lost,' Redford doesn't play a hero; just an old man trying to survive.

It really could be a whole new exciting chapter in his acting career. No matter the role, and no matter how much you could see the darkness underneath, that beautiful face was hard to ignore. How much more will we be able to see past it now?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:28 PM on December 17, 2013


I can see where he's coming from, but holding it in what was even then turning into a playground for people of means made it inevitable.

Surely it was always going to be for (and guests of) arts-minded people who had a few bucks. I think he just didn't want to see the soulless hookers-and-blow guys show up in limos with entourages.
posted by codswallop at 4:45 PM on December 17, 2013


It was a veritable Xanadu until it became a playground for the rich and powerful. Now if only there was some sort of poetic name for a playground of the rich and powerful I could use as a metaphor.
posted by ckape at 4:47 PM on December 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


I haven't read the article yet but will say that All Is Lost is one of the worst two films I saw this year (the other being Only God Forgives) and among the worst films I've seen in my life. It was so, so boring. The character was, frankly, an idiot. I could not have cared less about him.

When I saw it, people burst out laughing at the end of it. I almost walked out about a half dozen times and wish that I had.

It's a snoozefest. If you're compelled to see it, bring a good book.
posted by dobbs at 4:48 PM on December 17, 2013


Redford reminds of Peyton Manning, in a way. You can't accuse him of not having a sense of humor, really, yet somehow you get the feeling that there's a pretty strict limit to the stuff he has a sense of humor about.
posted by Diablevert at 5:19 PM on December 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


I haven't read the article yet but will say that All Is Lost is one of the worst two films I saw this year (the other being Only God Forgives) and among the worst films I've seen in my life. It was so, so boring. The character was, frankly, an idiot. I could not have cared less about him.

When I saw it, people burst out laughing at the end of it. I almost walked out about a half dozen times and wish that I had.

It's a snoozefest. If you're compelled to see it, bring a good book.


For some reason this comment makes me want to see the movie.
posted by nowhere man at 5:21 PM on December 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


I've come to realize that whenever I hear someone critique a movie with the words "boring" or "slow", it'll likely be a movie I love.
posted by davebush at 5:25 PM on December 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


davebush, have you ever seen Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev? It's like the granddaddy of boring and slow, by which I mean that it's fantastic.
posted by scody at 5:51 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


davebush, scody, let me hook you up
posted by theodolite at 8:01 PM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


I saw All Is Lost a few weeks ago. It was riveting, it kept me at the edge of my seat. What would go wrong next? What small mistakes would Our Man make, furthering his fate?

I had seen Gravity some weeks prior, and thought of All Is Lost as a counterpart of sorts to the space movie.

A friend who is an experienced sailor liked All Is Lost a lot less than I did. For me the movie was about wisdom, experience, craftiness then resilience and finally just handing yourself over in the face of disaster. Robert Redford's performance is Oscar nomination-worthy.
posted by seawallrunner at 9:44 PM on December 17, 2013


I enjoyed the article, he seems to keep moving forward for fear of staying still, even if forward isn't what he needs.
posted by arcticseal at 10:49 PM on December 17, 2013


There are a number of movies where the protagonist seems a lot less competent to people who actually injure something about what the protagonist is doing. I call it the "Flashdance Welding Effect".
posted by happyroach at 1:09 AM on December 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I haven't read the article yet but will say that All Is Lost is one of the worst two films I saw this year (the other being Only God Forgives) and among the worst films I've seen in my life. It was so, so boring. The character was, frankly, an idiot. I could not have cared less about him.

It's amusing, because I was practically towed into the cinema to see this to indulge a couple of sailor buddies. I was expecting to be horribly bored, plus the sailing nerds had already informed me of their technical objections.

It is fucking great, and Redford deserves to win something for it. Great cinema, and a great performance.
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:49 AM on December 18, 2013


I call it the "Flashdance Welding Effect".

"THEM JOINTS'LL HOLD FUCK ALL!"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:27 AM on December 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


It is interesting to see the cross effect the interview has in generating a discussion of the movie.

It is almost as if the interview is really just to generate publicity for the movie.

Glad to see that ploy is not working here at Metafilter, though.
posted by Colonel Panic at 5:55 AM on December 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anne Helen Petersen just devoted a Scandals of Classic Hollywood column to Redford.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:25 AM on December 18, 2013


Xanadu, interrupted by the person from Porlock.
posted by dhartung at 12:54 PM on December 18, 2013


davebush, I'd be delighted to know what you think of it.

I love good movies where nothing happens. I've seen The Turin Horse six times in two years--a movie where people eat potatoes for a 145 minutes. All is Lost is not slow. It's boring. Those aren't the same thing.

SPOILERS

For me the movie was about wisdom, experience, craftiness then resilience and finally just handing yourself over in the face of disaster.

What?! This is the opposite of what this film is about. He is not wise, experienced, crafty, or resilient! The only thing he is is lucky.

I haven't read anything about the film and I don't know shit about sailing, but on my viewing, it seemed obvious to me that this was a rich, vain man who bought a boat to escape his miserable, selfish, in-denial life. This is communicated in the film's only good segment: when he doesn't read the card that comes with his gift--the gift that someone would give to an inexperienced sailor; the gift that a wise person would have opened before the trip; the gift that a crafty person would have learned to use before embarking. Resilient?! The fucker gave up!

Ugh.
posted by dobbs at 12:06 AM on December 23, 2013


This is communicated in the film's only good segment: when he doesn't read the card that comes with his gift--the gift that someone would give to an inexperienced sailor; the gift that a wise person would have opened before the trip; the gift that a crafty person would have learned to use before embarking.

I think you are reading this entirely wrong: the gift is a piece of baroque, obsolete equipment. Nobody in their right mind would rely on it on this day an age, definitely not an inexperienced sailor: it would be like trying to fly across the Atlantic using a paper map and magnetic compass.

The fact that he has the presence of mind to figure out how to use it in the mess he's in shows he's a serious, old-school sailor.

There are other, actual sailing errors but they don't really interfere with the drama if, like me, you are not aware of the right way to do things.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:48 AM on December 23, 2013


SPOILERS

You may be right, Dr. I may be misreading the presence of that equipment (as I say, I know nothing of sailing). But there seemed to be many, many things Redford's character did that communicate not just a lack of experience but of common sense. (Who goes to sleep in a life raft tethered to a sinking ship?!)

I love slow, interesting movies. I just didn't find this to be one of them.
posted by dobbs at 8:00 AM on December 23, 2013


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