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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The TV Guide: At A Loss

There are some moments when I realize what an extremely lucky person I am, moments that remind me to be thankful for all of my good fortune ... being able to hob nob with the likes of Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of those moments. As I mentioned previously, I've had my eye on Stop-Loss for some time now and I literally jumped at the chance to attend the premiere which was held at the Director's Guild of America building last night here in LA. Absent the fact that I've been a huge admirer of Ryan, Channing and JGL separately, I really wanted to see what sort of movie Kimberly Peirce (director of Boys Don't Cry) had up her sleeve. I try to do my best to share the wealth with as many friends as I can, so even tho I can usually only bring one person with me to events like these, I try to bring out different folks to share the experience. Any casual reader of Oh La La knows that Steph and Alek are huge fans of Ryan and Channing so it was a no brainer to have Steph come along with me. Before I write out some of my thoughts on the movie, let's get the OMG stuff out of the way first. After the premiere screening was over, the entire audience was led into the lobby for an after movie reception where we could mix and mingle with the stars of the film ... here are a few pics of me standing next to (and trying not to freak the eff out) Ryan, Channing and Joseph:

Each of the guys were incredibly sweet and friendly. Ryan and I got to talk a bit about the movie itself, Joseph was super nice to everyone who approached him for a quick hello or picture and I actually got a "bro" hug from Channing himself. I cannot even tell you how big that guy is ... even tho he's imposing, his friendly demeanor is really disarming (I can see how it may be easy for some folks to actually swoon around him). The last pic of Steph and me was taken by Channing with my camera ... he thought it was a cool camera, asked if he could check it out and took the pic of the two of us. AND to top all of this off -- both Ryan and Channing complimented me on my star tattoo! I'm telling you right now, I'm sure I blushed .. hahahaha! Breckin Meyer, Missi Pyle, Jesse Bradford and Rumer Willis were also at the premiere and afterparty but, honestly, Steph and I were too finely focused on the Stop-Loss trifecta. It was really a very fun night.

And so ... the movie ... to be honest, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from this film. See, with films like this, you think you know what you're going to experience but, if handled properly, the filmmaker can put you in the mindset of a character who experiences things that you couldn't fathom enduring in real life. As she introduced the film, Kimberly Peirce explained that it was the events from 9/11 that inspired her to make this film in the first place. Her baby brother joined the military and went over to Iraq and she decided to make a film from the point of view of the soldiers ... and that is what she did with Stop-Loss:

Peirce used the theme of solider-made videos in this film, explaining that soldiers today have the affordable technology to film things that are happening in Iraq and send them around for sharing with friends and family. These films can be funny, heartbreaking, violent or just regular old home movie type films. Stop-Loss uses this convention as the movie begins to draw the audience in. Before the story gets too heavy and too serious, there is a scene where Channing Tatum is rolling around in the dirt, sweaty and crazed wearing only a pair of bikini briefs and army boots. People, for this scene alone you need to see this film. But seriously, with all kidding aside ... there is more to this movie than just eye candy. I contend that the film takes no position on the war itself, it only expresses the individual positions of the solider characters (and their families) in the film. It would be very short-sighted to say that the film is anti anything ... it merely tries to put the audience behind the eyes of soldiers returning home from a horrible ordeal who are then put into a no-win situation and makes you ask within yourself, what would I do in that same situation? For me, it is one of those movies that requires discussion with other people after the film is over. Steph and I were talking at length about what we had just seen ... the story is very powerful. The only fault I could find is that it runs a bit long. Ryan's character's journey is a long one in this film ... but other than the length, I really enjoyed everything else. I was very impressed with Joseph Gordon-Levitt's performance ... and found newcomer Victor Rasuk very engaging. His scenes were difficult to watch, mainly because his character was so positive in light of the the misfortune he suffered. In short, I loved this movie ... I'm so glad that it surprised me because it made for a more enjoyable experience. Head on over to to see all of my pics from last night's fun.

I have to send out MUCH MUCH love to Charlie Pinto for taking such amazing care of us last night. Steph and I were able to have an extraordinary experience because of her ... so thank you so much again.

Woot! What a night ... today will be much calmer. I'm doing more tax stuff this afternoon and then perhaps there might be a trip to Redondo Beach for some yummy Chick-Fil-Ain'.



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