Aidan Bloom is a 35 year old struggling actor trying to find his purpose in life. His dad gets cancer and cannot pay for Aidan’s kids yeshiva school tuition anymore. This leads to Aidan attempting to homeschool his children. Throughout the film, Aidan reflects on the unpredictable and hard circumstances that come with raising a family. He wants to provide for his family yet follow his dream of being an actor. He wants him and his wife, who supports the family, to be happy. Throughout the film he tries to find meaning in life’s nature. Aidan Bloom is a 35 year old struggling actor trying to find his purpose in life. His dad gets cancer and cannot pay for Aidan’s kids yeshiva school tuition anymore. This leads to Aidan attempting to homeschool his children. Throughout the film, Aidan reflects on the unpredictable and hard circumstances that come with raising a family. He wants to provide for his family yet follow his dream of being an actor. He wants him and his wife, who supports the family, to be happy. Throughout the film he tries to find meaning in life’s nature. Although Braff has good intentions with Wish I Was Here, the film falls flat. The film has nice cinematography, pacing and acting yet it seems like something is missing. With Garden State, Braff explored a lost twenty-something. In Wish I Was Here, he explores a lost thirty-something. The film doesn’t seem to deliver any insightful nature because it’s caught up in Braff’s mind fantasies. It seems as though he wrote down all the challenges of raising a family, trying to be happy, making sense of life’s hardships, and so forth…but the film doesn’t ever go past depicting these things to provide any insightful nature. The film ends, basically saying “Hey, raising a family and trying to be happy is hard.” It never really has a full solution to Aidan’s endless doubts about life. B-
On Monday, June 2nd, Zach Braff hosted an advanced film screening in Austin, Texas for his film Wish I Was Here. I was a bit (a lot) excited to go since it’s been a long time coming. I backed the film in April 2013, happy to see Braff making a new film after 2004’s Garden State. Braff was making a film chronicling a thirty-something father struggling to come to terms with the unexpected circumstances of life.
Braff directed the film, co-wrote it with his older brother, Adam Braff, and starred as the lead character, Aidan Bloom. In the film, Aidan is a struggling actor hoping to find something that will explain his purpose and life’s unpredictable ways. His wife, Sarah (Kate Hudson), holds a steady but boring job as a data cruncher at a water company. She provides for the family. Aidan and Sarah’s kids, 12-year-old Grace and six-year-old Tucker attend an expensive yeshiva school paid for by Aidan’s dad. An unexpected blow hits the family when Aidan finds out his dad has cancer. Needing the money to pay for treatments, Aidan’s dad can no longer afford to pay the school tuition for Aidan’s kids.
Below is a slideshow of the event
Zach Braff brought his film Wish I Was Here to Austin, Texas on June 2nd for a special advanced screening for Kickstarter backers that helped fund the film. After the film was screened, Zach came out and answered questions about the film with fellow co-star and friend, Donald Faison. He answered questions about the motivation to do the film, challenges of making a movie, soundtrack selection, and so forth. Check out this exclusive video to hear Zach answering some of the questions during the Q&A.
It’s easy to think that more people would be in the Veronica Mars fandom if the show had aired during the current binge-encouraging TV community. The show ran from 2004-2007 on UPN/CW. It was low-rated but beloved for its writing, format and acting.
Despite (very persistent) fan attempts for a movie to be made, Warner Brothers (the studio that financed/distributed the show) opted not to fund the possible film. Fast foward six years to 2013 and a Kickstarter campaign was launched, raising $5.7 million in 30 days. The movie was officially happening
The prowling teen detective, covering the seedy happenings at Neptune High School and its town, is back.
Veronica Mars was last seen at the end of season three, her freshman year of college, getting recruited by the FBI (Great career planning!). Nine years later she is living in New York City with her college boyfriend “Piz” and pursuing jobs at a few law firms. In the midst of landing a pretty sweet gig at a law firm, she gets contacted by her ex-boyfriend Logan Echolls. He’s in trouble, having been accused of the murder of his girlfriend Carrie Bishop who was a fellow student at Neptune High.
Bishop, who went on to become a successful popstar under the stagename Bonnie DeVille, was found dead in her bathroom. Echolls, a lieutenant in the US Navy and son of movie star Aaron Echolls, is the prime suspect. Lawyer offers being thrown in his face, Veronica treks down to Neptune to help him clear his name.
During her 10-year high school reunion, she realizes that Bishop’s murder is connected to the death of her best friend, Susan Knight. Knight mysteriously disappeared during a boating trip nine years prior.
The ensuing plot involves Veronica working to clear Logan’s name while dealing with the seedy and corrupt nature of small town Neptune.
The film was well-paced and had a steady plot and resolution. A quick two minute introduction at the start gives non-viewers of the TV series a brief history of Veronica Mars and company and allows the film to be enjoyed without ever watching the series.
The only qualms a non-viewer of the TV series would experience is the pop ups of various characters from the TV show. The instances aren’t too distracting to keep the viewer from enjoying the movie as a whole.
While the film was good, I noted a few disruptions to it
- Interaction among characters was big in the TV series. In the film it isn’t, all the side characters from the series have few scenes and aren’t really engaging to the plot of the film.
- Movie feels a little weird. It plays like some TV movie. Veronica Mars isn’t meant for film. It’s writing serves best when restricted to hour-long TV formatting.
Will the Veronica Mars film be counted as a success? Many already consider it so (it was finally made into a movie after seven years after all).
Box office and movie insiders are looking closely to see whether actually will be a success or not. The film cost a reported $6 million to make. To be classified as a success it would have to make double its budget back, $12 million. A figure that doesn’t seem likely to be happening.
- Opening weekend: $2 million from 291 theaters for its opening weekend.
- Second week: dropped 76.5%, obtaining around $470,000 from 347 theaters.
Making back its budget from theater box office doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Video on Demand sales may be its saving grace. No report has been released on the exact state of its VOD viewing numbers (distributors have a frequent history of not releasing on demand numbers).
A long time ago, we used to be friends…and we still are. Veronica Mars, despite its few quirks, works well for a night of movie watching outside of the typical slapstick comedy genre. A-
Veronica Mars debuted on the now defunct network UPN in 2004. Despite middling ratings, it had good critical praise and a dedicated following. Maybe if it had been in the days of high DVR viewership and Netflix it would have survived. In 2007, the CW cancelled it after three seasons.
Marshmallows, the nickname for Veronica Mars fans, did a series of intense things to revive the series. A plane was hired to fly over a city, marshmallows were sent in to CW studios, and an endless string of (strongly worded) letters were written to TV executives. It was still a no go. CW and Warner Brothers Studios were ready to move on and had no interest in reviving the series and producing a much anticipated movie.
Things changed when a Kickstarter campaign launched on March 13, 2013. It was the first time a network show attempted to return as a feature film via crowdfunding. Short story? It worked. Less than 24 hours into the run, the campaign had surpassed it’s $2 million goal. It went on to raise $5.7 million from over 91,000 backers by the end of the month long campaign.
The Veronica Mars film is shifting up things once again. It will become the first film to be released simultaneously in theaters and video on demand by a major Hollywood studio (Warner Brothers).
A long time ago we used to be friends…and we still are. (Theme song tweak).
Veronica Mars premieres at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas on Saturday, March 8th and will hit AMC theaters and VOD platforms (iTunes, Amazon Instant) on March 14th.
Wish I Was Here, the movie Zach Braff co-wrote/directed, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival two weeks ago. I was a little excited about the movie premiering due to the fact that I pitched in via Kickstarter to fund it back in April 2013 (I can call myself a movie producer!). While my excitement was somewhat high, it quickly went down. Zach Braff and the rest of the staff working on Wish I Was Here haven’t done a really good job of making their Kickstarter backers (which funded $3.1 million of the $6 million budget) feel very appreciated.
Being a public relations major I felt the need to point out some of the missteps that Braff and the rest of the Wish I Was Here team have done. Discontent among the backers for the project has become more evident since its premiere at Sundance. Flavorwire pointed out about how the film and its production is becoming a public relations nightmare. Read the article here.
The first thing wrong with the Wish I Was Here Kickstarter production is the delay of the rewards. Kickstarter backers were promised to receive rewards based on the varying levels of money they pledged to the project. Yet since the finish of the project campaign in May 2013, backers have gotten nothing except a few behind the scenes videos. They have basically gotten nothing more than the average user would get when purchasing the home media DVD.
To make matters worse, in November 2013 Braff decided to open the wishiwasheremovie.com site to everyone. Everyone had access to the videos. Backers who pledged their money were receiving nothing more than what the typical internet surfer could find.
Zach Braff should have thought twice before reaching out to crowdfund his film. He said the reasoning for the kickstarter campaign was so he could remain creative control over the film and not have to cut things. His rational doesn’t hold much clout given the fact than nearly all filmmakers have to be willing to sacrifice some things to get their movie made.
Veronica Mars, the other big film financed through kickstarter, differs from the public relations nightmare of Wish I Was Here. Veronica Mars was backed by fans before the campaign even started. Rob Thomas (creator of series) kept constantly communication with the backers. Rewards were put out not too long after the film finished shooting. Veronica Mars was not co-financed with the help of a major hollywood studio like Wish I Was Here.
Main Point: Communicate more with your backers Braff. Give them the rewards they were promised, sooner rather than later. Make them feel part of the production rather than just providing the stock behind the scenes videos.