The Hamptons International Film Festival just concluded on Monday. Once again, Executive Director Karen Arikian, Program Director David Nugent and Board Chair Stuart Suna are to be commended for a truly fantastic program of fascinating films and related programs. The cinematography of Black Swan, Michelle Williams' indelible performance in Blue Valentine, Danny Boyle and James Franco's work in 127 Hours all made vivid impressions on audiences.
Although it's difficult to name a "best film" or favorite from the long list that screened there, one truly does stand out. Davis Guggenheim's Waiting for "Superman" is unforgettable.
Guggenheim directed An Inconvenient Truth and It Might Get Loud. However, even more so than the issue of global warming (somehow), the questions and concerns raised by Waiting for "Superman" are deep and effect us all. Public education in America is collapsing. Students are not being served, and neither are tax payers. Whether or not teachers' unions are partly to blame is open to discussion, but Guggenheim's film casts a light on that perspective. And once you get a peek at New York City's "Rubber Room" for outcast teachers, you may never view the NEA and the AFT the same way again.
This is a monumentally important film. My father was a public school teacher for 28 years and I can think of few other areas in our society that deserve this type of urgent scrutiny right now. See Guggenheim's film, which opens in theaters this weekend.
PS: A quick story. AOL offered me $100,000 to be photographed by famed photographer Chuck Close, as I have been an AOL subscriber for many years. The photos would be used in AOL advertising and the money would go to charity.
Today, on AOL's homepage, I am accused of insulting actor Jim Parsons for sending him a congratulatory gift basket, inside of which I added a card that read "Congratulations you talented, charming bastard."
I thought that was a joke. I think Parsons knew that. I think anyone on Earth could see that. Except the eighth degree, black belt idiots that compose the AOL homepage.
I'm still a loyal AOL user. In spite of the fact that its homepage content is written by the dumbest bastards in the world.