written and directed by Matt Ross
Captain Fantastic definitely lived up to the adjective in its title, but I’ll get to that in a second. Let’s talk a little about Q&A’s for a second, shall we? Beer.Movies.Music was present at the Arclight Hollywood on Friday, July 8th to not only watch this gem of an indie film starring Viggo Mortenson, but to also catch actor Chris Messina interview writer/director Matt Ross following the screening. The only thing better than seeing a new film on the big screen is to hear the filmmakers’ insight immediately following said film. And if you have a lingering question sitting on the tip of your tongue as the credits role, you just might get a chance to get your answer if you are one of the lucky few folks who get called on. Or you could use that opportunity to try and promote yourself and say fuck everyone else.
Here's a shitty picture from that night.
And that’s exactly what one woman did on Friday. She sat right there in the front row, and when Messina called on her, her response—directed to Ross—was, “Um, you’re also an actor, right?” Which first of all, if you’re gonna pull this shit, you should at the very least know who the person is before trying to get them to hire you. She then announced that she was, in fact, an actor in the most melodramatically way possible, even taking a beat for applause that never came. She then said, “As an actor, I’ve been really disappointed in the quality of roles I get… [blah, blah, fucking blah] and I’m looking to start writing and directing. What advice do you have for me?”
Ross was much more patient and friendlier than I would’ve been, telling her more or less to just get out there and do it. You want to write, start writing hundreds of scripts to hone your craft. You want to direct, make some short films and again, make hundreds and hundreds honing your craft, etc. In other words, you want to start into a new line of work, start fucking working, and maybe you’ll get there one day in the future. Had I gotten the chance (after insulting the woman for a good 15 minutes), I would’ve asked her a question like, “So, you’re a failed actor who wants to quit acting and just fall-ass backwards into writing and directing? Do you think those who have spent their whole lives writing and/or directing could now just grab all those roles you failed to grasp simply by now calling themselves actors?”
And here's a shittier one to distract you from how goddamn long this review is
Matt Ross did actually get to talk things other than this woman’s acting career for a little bit though, and that’s where we learned the inspiration for Captain Fantastic came from discussions he’s had with his own wife about raising their children. “Child rearing” is not only a weird phrase to say out loud, it’s also the central theme for the film, and how everyone seems to have their own “right” way to raise not only their children, but yours as well. What is the right way? Is there a right way? Is there a wrong way? Fuck it, I’m never having kids. But as for the film itself, Captain Fantastic is one of those movies for everyone… well, except for those who are offended by the F word and aren’t comfortable with full frontal nudity, of course. It hits every emotion, but does so without coming off as forced and/or cheesy, all while maintaining a pretty damn good sense of humor with some pretty dark material. This isn’t Ross’ first venture on the other side of the camera, and it certainly will not be his last. As great as the character of Gavin Belson is, I think Ross can do much bigger and better things for the film world writing and directing.
Viggo Mortenson is the only person in the world who could have played this role and it is, in fact, the role he was born to play. The child actors are great, too, and the score is by Sigur Ros’ Jonsi Birgisson. Everything is great. Go see it. This is an easy recommendation to pretty much everyone. Well, except for that former actor turned budding writer/director in the front row. I would’ve recommended her to have been anywhere else that night, and I think everyone in attendance aside from her would’ve agreed with me.