Well, a couple of reviews are in for Cole. The two biggest so far come from the CBC and Variety. First, Eli Glasner's CBC review:

COLE ****

Cole is a big movie about a small town. Our eyes and ears are Cole, an aspiring writer struggling with multiple problems including a catatonic mother and his sister's useless drunk of a husband.

Then, life gets more complicated when Cole meets another aspiring writer played by Kandyse McClure (seen recently in Battlestar Galactica.)

The pedantic plot doesn't do justice to this extremely moving film.

Imagine a tone poem filled with summer skies, long drives and an absent mother's eyes. To quote Cole himself it's "definitely beautiful.

Not bad, right? We got a half a star more than the much anticipated movie The Road.

Now, a piece of John Anderson's Variety review:

Drama needs conflict, but what Bessai offers mostly is tension. One waits all through the movie for Cole to do something about Bobby (Willett is a convincingly nasty example of the Angry White Guy), whose behavior is beyond reprehensible, and it's significant that what pushes Cole over the edge isn't Bobby's treatment of his sister, but of her son. What Adam Zang's script is really about, although no one involved seems to know it, is domestic abuse: Just as the movie gives the issue secondary status, so do the people in the film.

Ehh... not so good. But! A brilliant movie fan posts this in the comments section of the review:

Dear Mr. Anderson,

I've never read a review by you until today. It's unfortunate you didn't see the true gem that "Cole" really is. It may not have "A" list actors. The story may be a simple one about a little family in a little town, but what makes "Cole" stand out from other films of this genre, is that you really care about EVERY CHARACTER in this film...good and bad. I haven't felt this compassionate about a simple little movie, since "The Good Girl", some seven years ago. In your opinion, the ending may not have ended like you so desired, but then, when does real life do that?
"Cole" deserves every accolade it will hopefully receive.

Thanks for coming to our defense, good sir.


TIFF Update

Back in Seattle from beautiful Toronto. We all survived the premiere, a Q&A, and an afterparty. Exhausting, cathartic, and sweaty... pretty much the only words I have to describe it right now.

The audience and those we heard talking in Toronto seemed to enjoy, if not love, the film. The new review in Variety isn't as kind. I'll make sure to get a post up this weekend with more details and a running journal of sorts about what transpired over the last four days in Ontario...


To Celebrate Ernie Harwell

There are thousands of reasons to love baseball, so many reasons that I find myself writing at least one baseball reference into pretty much anything I try to write (which always get edited out—because editors, in general, do not know baseball). And so it makes me extremely sad that Ernie Harwell is dying and not enough people know how great an impact he has had.

I’m not good with details, but I know Harwell was announcing baseball before I was born. I know that his was the first voice I heard describing the beauty of a Sweet Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammel double play. His was the voice I heard when I cried after Guillermo Hernandez blew the ’89 pennant for the Tigers. When my parents were fighting late into the night, his pipes filled my Walkman Sport headphones, assuring me that the Tigers were playing in Oakland and everything would be okay. I know I’m writing in the passive voice, but that’s how Harwell would like it… describing things slowly, announcing the score every couple of minutes just in case someone new tuned in.

Every time I see “a house by the side of the road” (google this phrase if you don’t know it, I implore you) I think of Harwell. Babe Ruth reminds me of Harwell (my father gave me Harwell’s book The Babe Signed My Shoe for Christmas in 1994). The Detroit Tigers remind me of Harwell, and I follow them every day…

Upon learning of his impending death, Harwell remarked that he was doing okay because he could eat ice cream again, like when he was a kid, and not gain weight. He still goes for walks with his wife, and holds her hand everywhere. There is something profoundly sad and uplifting about this. Ernie seems okay with where he is going, but I’m not. I wish he could still announce those games, that I could put them on my ipod and fall asleep to them—I don’t care if the Tigers lose every game like they used to—I just want Ernie to call them.

Ernie reminds me what it’s like to think hope springs eternal (listen to his first game of spring training broadcast and don’t tell me you won’t promise to be a better person), to love green grass and curveballs, and to never forget what kind of joy a ballgame can bring. I always thought that these things, like baseball, like Ernie Harwell, were immortal.

To be contrite and screenwriter-centric, Ernie has been my voiceover for these past 26 years. All I want to do is to not think about this, but I know that he would say differently: for you Mr. Harwell: I will not stand by the side of the road and watch this one go by.



Cole's website has a brand new look-- including a behind the scenes making of documentary and a link to a Reel West Richard de Klerk behind the scenes diary. All worth checking out. I suggest you follow this link here for a chance to see what I look like as background wallpaper.

Thank you, JLG, for the photo.