Waiting (in private) for Ishtar- Paul Bellini - MyGaytoronto
Waiting (in private) for Ishtar 19 December 2017.
A few years ago, filmmaker John Mitchell (Portrait of a Serial Monogamist) was at a party. Someone asked him what his favorite movie was and he said Ishtar. The party stopped cold. No one could believe him. Wasn't Ishtar that 1987 legendary flop starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman that cost billions and almost ruined Hollywood?
Mitchell decided to watch it again, but it was 2006 and no DVD of the movie existed at the time. Indeed, the only thing Mitchell could locate was a VHS copy at the Toronto Public Library. But when he went to get it, he was told he would be #47 on a list.
At first, he and his partner, actor Jonathan Crombie, set out to make a documentary about the movie, but most of those involved were not available. So they decided to try to track down the other 46 people on the waiting list. This is the quest of Waiting for Ishtar, Mitchell's new documentary.
Mitchell hosted a screening recently at CineCycle. I was invited and despite a nagging cough and freezing cold weather I decided to attend. Mitchell prefaced the screening by talking about Crombie, who has since died, and how they were eventually able to track down interviews with Carol Kane, Charles Grodin, Paul Williams, and many others.
The screening began and I settled into my seat. Not five minutes into it, I had a brief coughing fit. No big deal, I thought, but the arsehole sitting behind me, one of those typical Queen Street failed artist types, leaned over and said "If you are going to continue to cough, can you go outside? I'm serious." I ignored him, but that was it. He had managed to completely ruin the screening for me, as I spent the rest of the time fantasizing about projectile vomiting in his face.
Ah, but here's the good news. I no longer have to put up with cunts like this guy, because as of December 15, Waiting for Ishtar will finally be available on Vimeo On Demand. This means I can order a copy and watch it, and cough to my heart's content, in the privacy of my own home.
Like so many others, I had always avoided Ishtar, a comedy about two songwriters stranded in the desert, because I read that it was a bomb. Like Mitchell, I suspect that the movie needs to be rescued from its unfair assessment. After all, writer/director Elaine May was a genius whose previous comedies, A New Leaf and The Heartbreak Kid, are among my favorites. How could Ishtar be as bad as they say it is?
Why take my word for it, or the word of any stupid movie critic or anti-coughing facist? See Waiting for Ishtar for yourself.It's one of the most entertaining little documentaries to come out this year.