by Neil Drumming
I'm thinking about coining a new phrase to describe a particular film sub-genre. (I used to be an entertainment journalist, so I can do that.) I shall call the sub-genre the Paul Giamatti Movie. Perhaps, dear reader, you can help me refine the parameters of this new, filmic classification.
I watched a particularly good Paul Giamatti Movie on Saturday as part of the Sundance Film Festival program. It was called Win Win and it will be released by Fox Searchlight Pictures, proud makers of such quirky hits as Little Miss Sunshine and Juno. (Not all films at Sundance come to the festival with distribution in place, but if it's a genuine Paul Giamatti Movie, odds are you will probably—eventually—get to see it at the arthouse theater in your vicinity or on Netflix, the new arthouse theater in your vicinity.)
And so, our first indicator of our emergent genre: A Paul Giamatti Movie is a good movie—unless, of course, you haven't actually seen it or don't have any desire to see it, in which case it is okay, for example, to describe the film thus: "I haven't seen Cold Souls, but I bet Paul Giamatti was excellent in it." Or: "Barney's Version is getting lots of Oscar buzz." "Yes. Have you seen it?" "Um, well, I don't think it's playing near me..."