Wednesday, October 26, 2005

An Evening with Steve Buscemi

A view from the top of the post-LONESOME JIM Q&A with Steve Buscemi (Mark Pfeiffer/October 26, 2005)

The Drexel Gateway Theater opened its doors to VIPs and the paying public for the first time tonight. (Proceeds from the event will go to ABATE--American Bikers Aimed Toward Education--and their Firefighters for Kids 18th Annual Toy Run.) The attraction was a screening of LONESOME JIM, the third feature film directed by Steve Buscemi. The noted character actor was also in attendance, a visit aided by the fact that Buscemi's wife hails from Hilliard.

Casey Affleck plays the weary and depressed title character, an aspiring writer in his late twenties who returns to his parents' Indiana home after his time in Manhattan produced nothing more than walking dogs for a living. Buscemi's direction proves him adept at capturing the details of rural midwestern life and finding a dry sense of humor amid the dissatisfaction and disappointment dragging Jim down. LONESOME JIM has a surprisingly light touch despite the heavier emotional tone. Although the film is full of sadness and despair, it still holds out hope that people are decent and all will turn out well in the end. It's a good film and worth looking for when it is released next spring.

The moderator asked a couple questions to kick off the post-film Q&A, but audience members had ample opportunities to ask Buscemi what their hearts desired. He humored the inevitable (and impolite) "why did you do that" question--there's one in every crowd--when asked if he regretted making CON AIR. Buscemi explained that he had fun, got to work with other interesting actors, and could help fund smaller, more personal projects with the payday he gets from appearing in bigger movies. It's worth remembering that very few actors are raking in $20 million a picture, so it's understandable why Buscemi or any other performer below the title would make some films less artistically minded than the indies that garner acclaim but pay squat. If being in CON AIR lets him direct small films he feels passionately about, where's the harm in it?

The new Drexel Gateway Theater (Mark Pfeiffer/October 26, 2005)

My first impression of the new Drexel Gateway is very positive. The seats are very comfortable, and there's plenty of leg room in the aisles. The auditoriums are plusher than I expected. This should be an excellent place to see movies. Parking around the Ohio State campus can be problematic, but a garage directly behind the theater is convenient and cheaper than anywhere else in the area unless you can snag a spot along the street somewhere in the neighborhood and are willing to hoof it.


  1. Thanks for the report, Mark. I figured you were probably going to be at this event. Amazingly I only found out about it yesterday and by then it was too late to pick up tickets.

    I'm really looking forward to checking out the new theater and his film.

    Also, good point about Steve B. doing bigger projects. Besides, Con Air is FAR from the worst film he has done...Spy Kids 2 & 3, anyone?

  2. Apparently the event came together more or less at the last minute. (It was announced only a week prior.) Buscemi had an opening in his schedule for last night, so they went ahead and put it on with little advance warning. The main auditorium was almost completely full. I have no idea how many people were in the second one, but apparently there were enough to justify showing the film on two screens. (A video feed showed the unlucky auditorium 2 crowd the Q&A.)

    I'll go to the mat for the second Spy Kids film and, if pressed, will put up a feeble defense of the third. I'd take issue with him being in some Adam Sandler films before Rodriguez's family film sequels.