Awards Season 07: No Country For Old Men Premiere

There are parties and there are parties. There are premieres and there are premieres. The key to a fun evening is the adroit combination of both and Miramax had them in spades last Sunday night in Hollywood for the LA premiere of Joel and Ethan Coen’s masterpiece No Country For Old Men. (Dammit. That’s the 2nd masterpiece of the year.) The screening was a low-key affair at the El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard and I was all the more thankful for it. Absent was the usual clusterfuck of paparazzi, autograph seekers and rude security. Don’t get me wrong, the shutterbugs were there, as were the fans, but it just all seemed more sedate and manageable than usual and the security and Miramax staff couldn’t have been nicer and in better moods.
Here’s where I confess to being an inveterate starfucker. While I’m not a stalker and almost never ask for autographs or pictures, when there’s an actor, writer or director who I am a fan of I have been known to babble to myself and those around me. When you put together a film as accomplished as No Country, you hope that the people that come to your premiere and party are people who would appreciate the film and yet add some star power to the event and the Miramax folks pulled that off with a deft hand.
When my indieWIRE co-founder and I Eugene Hernandez made our way into the El Capitan, Eug pointed out Casey Affleck, 2007’s actor “most likely to get shafted by a major studio” for his astonishing performance in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. On occasion I am a huge pussy, so I didn’t talk to him and I am an idiot for that. Not just because I loved Jesse James, but because I went to and worked at the same summer camp (Camp Thoreau in Vermont) that his brother Ben went to. Ben is a nice guy, but was kind of a prick as a 14 year-old, a fact I am sure Casey (then 11) would have agreed to. Not that I would have opened with: “Your brother was a dick when he was 14,” but you get the point. Shortly before sitting down, John Sloss introduced Eugene and I to Jake Kasdan and I forgot to mention how much I loved his vastly underrated Zero Effect. Love that movie. Didn’t run into him (or John) at the party. So John, if you’re reading this, thanks for your concern! (He’ll know what it means.)

Sitting in the theater I almost had a conniption fit when I spotted Hugh Laurie. You know, Dr. Gregory House. While I love House M.D., Blackadder is one of the funniest shows in the history of TV and to be honest, IMHO, everything pales compared to his deliciously malevolent turn as Jools Siviter on MI-5/Spooks. I mean who can forget the following exchange:
[Jules’ phone rings while at the opera, starts texting]
Woman: Do you mind awfully not doing that?
Jools: Are you a Nazi, Madam?
Woman: I beg your pardon?
Jools: I mean, we Wagner fans are a rum lot. I myself bugger skinheads so kindly don’t tell me what I can and cannot do.
You ain’t heard a line like this delivered until you’ve heard it delivered by Laurie.
The party at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (where I just happened to be staying) was nice and low key, with some great food. How can you beat mac n’ cheese and short ribs? However, lest you think this is a complete puff piece, the drinking of red wine out of plastic glasses was a real downer. I mean, I can deal with eating off plastic if I must, but drinking out of it really bites.
As for the cool celeb factor? I mean, how can you beat this combo: Ronny Cox (Beverly Hills Cop), Thandie Newton (I didn’t see her and that will haunt me ’till the end of my days!) and Pamela Adlon (Californication and the voice of Bobby Hill)? Julie Delpy was there, looking stunning in black and then there was Juno producer “Malovich, Malkovich, Malkovich!” Penelope Cruz was in the house, continuing to fuel the rumor of the day… Of course the cast from the film were there, including Tommy Lee Jones (he intimidates me) Joel and Ethan Coen (they don’t), Javier Bardem, Kelly Macdonald, Tess Harper, Josh Brolin (apparently a nice guy and a very fun guy to hang out with and target=”link”Garret Dillahunt, who is in the two best films of the year (so far). Accompanying Brolin was his wife Diane Lane who both intimidates me and doesn’t. I mean, I’ve had a crush on her since A Little Romance but on the other hand, I’ve met her and she’s a sweetheart. So I guess it’s a 50-50 on that one.
All in all it was a nice night for an exemplary film, one that is certain to pick up its share of end-of-the-year honors. There was even that white-haired, older man guy who’s always the bad guy in movies and on TV. Wish I could remember his name….
Photos: Tommy Lee and Dawn Jones enter the No Country For Old Men premiere; No Country Star Javier Bardem and John Malkovich; Miramax president Daniel Battsek, No Country co-director Joel Coen and director Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz) Images courtesy BEImages

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