Any Questions For Ben?

Discuss what Working Dog are up to now, and the rest of The Late Show cast - Mick, Jason and Judith

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Post by ShitScared » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:23 pm

can I quote some of you guys for the front page?
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menagers
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SPOILERS!!!! Hell, don't even look here..

Post by menagers » Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:38 pm

Yes, schoolyards, you gathered my secret point exactly. I was trying to stay upbeat this morning, because I still believe there is enough reason to like this film, and to at least go see it. But I actually feel quite earnest about this Oz rom-com issue. We can't make them. We haven't made them. Put that in whatever order you like. Specifically, we haven't made them without introducing an animal or a clever crime to create drama. I certainly can't think of a boy meets girl/they hate each other/they love each other (basically just rewrite Pride & Prejudice with humour for god's sake) film from this country. This film has had a red hot go at doing that, and has just gotten in over the line. In fact, if this was still a working print, I'd have a lot of hope for it. But it's a fait accompli, and I don't even get why they previewed it or why they wasted 5 mins of their night introducing this film in such non-typical fashion* and OH LOOK THE SNARK HAS BEGUN...

***WAHEY THE SPOILERS***

* There wasn't much point him intro-ing it, apart from letting us all check out his still spunky bod (what? come on, that's allowed), and laugh at Tommy G's rad one-liners. Rob described what we were all about to see :shock:. He was frustratingly self-deprecating about his own role "don't worry, it's really short!" - AAARRRRGGH! Pain to my ears, those words. Anyway, it was fine, it just wasn't anything like a meet the filmmakers session one is privy to at a film festival or special event. And ya know, it was kinda billed as "Any Questions For Rob?"

So, the things that shat me about this film.

Too long and choppy and change-y. (Bring back Jill Billcock!) Was he going to change his life and chase after this fantastic chick or was he going to lie about in bed and stare at the skyline? I swear, it felt like the film brought us back to this point an excessive number of times. And it was around this time that I felt it really flatlined, and that's when I noticed the music, like really noticed it, it was like the defibrillator to shock life back in. I started to get confused with things here. Who was Ben, he seemed like a nice guy, what exactly was wrong with his life again? What's this friend all about? Why is he in the film? There were too many friends, and why is he still asking them questions, didn't he do that already?

In between this, there was some of their classic humour in the script but I had difficulty hearing every word, the sound on the dialogue was really low. And the funny scenes were rushed through, I missed a joke completely because people were still laughing at something else - I never thought they would make that kind of mistake.

The other thing that unsettled me was the lifestyle depicted. I overheard a girl say "It was really relatable" as I was leaving. Now, while I'm glad that she's getting her vocab from a real bodacious dude like Guy Dobson, I couldn't fathom why she would say that. I will never in my life know anyone as wealthy or as well connected as this Ben. The lifestyle that he led was an utter mindfuck. Talk about a departure from Dale Kerrigan! Was I just given an education in Gen Y? Lordy, no wonder Rock died, what's anyone got to be fired up about?

Lastly, I thought that there was a really blatant lift from Love Actually in the final scene. Now, seeing as though I was calling for Aussie remakes of Pride n' Predj, I can hardly talk on this point, but oooh, I did think it was cheeky.

Anyway, enough snark, enough annoying spoilers. In the morning I'll probably wake up with 25 great things to say about Any Questions For Ben? It's just having that kind of affect on me.

EDIT: Ha! ShitScared if you still want to quote me after I spewed all that bile, be my guest :???:
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Post by baudrillard » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:01 pm

An attack on the intro menagers? I'm still in shock!

Quote for the front page?

Of the main character Ben, Menagers said:
menagers wrote: I will never in my life know anyone as wealthy or as well connected as this Ben. The lifestyle that he led was an utter mindfuck. Talk about a departure from Dale Kerrigan! Was I just given an education in Gen Y? Lordy, no wonder Rock died, what's anyone got to be fired up about?
Whoah lordy! Meet gen y menagers.
Whatever precautions you take so the photograph will look like this or that, there comes a moment when the photograph surprises you. It is the other's gaze that wins out and decides.
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menagers
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Post by menagers » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:08 pm

baudrillard wrote:An attack on the intro menagers? I'm still in shock!
Yeah, that is harsh of me. It was a thrill to see him of course, he's lovely and funny, it was just all too brief...:(
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Post by 13 schoolyards » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:10 pm

I'm not sure why, but this one really seems like a commercial decision by WD - if for no other reason than actors in their 30s and up won't work for nothing / minimum wage on a project just because it sounds cool and it's by their mates and will given them a big break. Not that they should ignore commercial considerations or anything, especially when Aussie film is continually struggling to turn a profit.

I mean, I don't know, the cast might have all been really well paid, but it just feels like a shoestring budget kind of project and that might have shaped the script. It's not really like WD have ever previously showed an interested in cashed-up 20-somethings as anything but something to be mocked. It's probably their kids' future though, that could make a difference.

Remember the dinner party sketches in TLS? I reckon they'll be playing through my head during the entire film.
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Post by baudrillard » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:12 pm

Ah menagers,
Ha, no I just never thought I'd see the day. I guess I didn't realise that it was out of bitter disappointment that you were saying that. I see what you mean more now. And sounding represented as something more of a perhaps Q and A session would have been that more frustrating on top of the brevity.

When you say shoestring budget are you talking in terms of how it's show stylistically or in terms of time in script development, 13? I was thinking the pitter-patter of tiny feet had been what had been keeping TGYH going so long. I'm sorry to be cynical but I had said it at the time.
Whatever precautions you take so the photograph will look like this or that, there comes a moment when the photograph surprises you. It is the other's gaze that wins out and decides.
- Jacques Derrida

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menagers
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Post by menagers » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:35 pm

13 schoolyards wrote:I'm not sure why, but this one really seems like a commercial decision by WD - if for no other reason than actors in their 30s and up won't work for nothing / minimum wage on a project just because it sounds cool and it's by their mates and will given them a big break. Not that they should ignore commercial considerations or anything, especially when Aussie film is continually struggling to turn a profit.

I mean, I don't know, the cast might have all been really well paid, but it just feels like a shoestring budget kind of project and that might have shaped the script. It's not really like WD have ever previously showed an interested in cashed-up 20-somethings as anything but something to be mocked. It's probably their kids' future though, that could make a difference.

Remember the dinner party sketches in TLS? I reckon they'll be playing through my head during the entire film.
Rob did say that in their work on TGYH where they met these young 'uns (Josh Lawson, Ed Kavalee, (maybe Angus Sampson although he seems old, like me) you know those guys) they all noticed their bond, like a family, and were inspired by it. And far out, that last all-in challenge in S4 with all those boys was amazing - it's easy to see where the inspiration came from. I honestly don't think they got to this subject matter by default.
The other thing is, this film does not look cheap. It looks pretty, luxe, glam, decadent, ostentatious and breath-taking. There's internationally shot scenes, and more helicopter aerials of Melbourne than you might be able to stomach. Who knows what they paid their actors, but one thing this show-bag-recieving-TGYH-audience-member and DVD-box-set-recieving-unlucky-standby-queue-for-Cup Fever-member knows for sure, this Working Dog lot ain't cheap. Anymore (she says, as Pissweak World sketches come to mind).
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Post by 13 schoolyards » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:50 pm

menagers wrote:Rob did say that in their work on TGYH where they met these young 'uns (Josh Lawson, Ed Kavalee, (maybe Angus Sampson although he seems old, like me) you know those guys) they all noticed their bond, like a family, and were inspired by it. And far out, that last all-in challenge in S4 with all those boys was amazing - it's easy to see where the inspiration came from. I honestly don't think they got to this subject matter by default.
The other thing is, this film does not look cheap. It looks pretty, luxe, glam, decadent, ostentatious and breath-taking. There's internationally shot scenes, and more helicopter aerials of Melbourne than you might be able to stomach. Who knows what they paid their actors, but one thing this show-bag-recieving-TGYH-audience-member and DVD-box-set-recieving-unlucky-standby-queue-for-Cup Fever-member knows for sure, this Working Dog lot ain't cheap.
Oh, I don't doubt for a second that they can make a little look like a lot and a lot look like everything - they've had 20 years making their own stuff to give them that level of expertise. It sounds like a big selling point is the way it makes Melbourne look great, so I'm not surprised to hear it looks $20 million bucks.

(I also don't doubt we'll never find out the budget, or even an accurate guesstimate - even open film-makers keep that close to their chest and WD keep everything under wraps from what I hear)

The little I heard beforehand seemed to suggest they were doing this one on a shoestring as something of an experiment though - films have to make three times their budget to turn a profit and with most Australian films not making that much the pressure's really on to make it for cheap (especially if you don't have government funding). So it's not surprising they were inspired by a bunch of young actors who were all mates, especially as young actors in Australia seem to have a creed of helping films get made by working for cheaps (the ones who don't, go to the US).

I mean, I'm 100% sure you're right on all points. I just think that doesn't automatically mean Ben cost a fortune to make in movie money terms - especially as it seems even two people talking in a loungeroom can cost $8mil.
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Post by menagers » Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:08 am

Mmm, budgets are an illusive figure. And you're right, they would have made a little look like a lot.
As for experimental, it did seem like an indie film at times, and at other times it seemed very Hollywood. Which is not a crime, but there is no question that the trailer has polarised those who have seen it. I guess the main concern now is getting bums on seats. And I think they might have pissed off 50% of those who have always loved them, just to reel in those that have posters of Christian Clark. If anything, the experiment is with their loyal following.

Whooa, I'm not going to kick off again am I? To bed! Gentlemen, to bed, for tomorrow we leave at 9.30.... yep, I'm done here
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Post by Big Props » Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:17 am

Is it on Mega-Up*load yet? ;-)

Looking forward to a Dublin release!
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