OPENING NIGHT FILM — THE GOOD HALF
Lily Wheeland, mom, free spirit, amateur klepto was joy personified. Mother to tightly wound daughter Leigh and writer son Renn on self-imposed exile from hometown of Cleveland. Lily was independent and unpredictable. Now, on the sad occasion of her passing, Renn returns home filled with angst over the people he will encounter. It’s been years since he was back, giving friends and family their own space to wonder why.
Renn makes an acquaintance, Zoey, on the flight home and despite the turbulence that separates them by a seat, you can tell there is something, nearly instant between them. His dad, well-intentioned, yet a bit of a bumbler, Darren has been divorced from Lily for a while. She left Darren for Rick, a bit of a narcissist loon, 180 degrees from Darren.
Here comes the clusterf*ck of trying to get all these characters not to kill each other before Lily is six feet under.
As dreary as I made the above seem, director Robert Schwartzman gets a ton of comedy out of his talented cast. Nick Jonas is absolutely phenomenal as Renn, able to hopscotch from laughs to pathos with ease. Brittany Snow (PITCH PERFECT, HAIRSPRAY) sheds her sweet, sexy for the Midwest middle of the road Leigh, Renn’s sister, and is perfect in this difficult role. Matt Walsh’s Darren (TED, THE HANGOVER, VEEP) is the befuddled ex and he’s hysterical. David Arquette (SCREAM, NEVER BEEN KISSED) is FLIFF’s 1998 Star-On-The-Horizon recipient. We have been big fans of David and his comic ability. In THE GOOD HALF he gives Rick an edge to that loony comedy and it works brilliantly. Alexandra Shipp (BARBIE, X-MEN) brings her outsider perspective to this dysfunctional gathering. Oscar nominee (LEAVING LAS VEGAS) Elisabeth Shue was last here in 1993 in our Opening Night Film, TWENTY BUCKS. Shue sets the scene beautifully. But it is Schwartzman that puts together all the elements of Brett Ryland’s sensitive and funny script. Schwartzman also wrote much of the score and his band Rooney, performs it.
Director: Robert Schwartzman was born on 24th December 1982 to parents, actress Talia Shire and producer Jack Schwartzman, in Los Angeles California. He was born into one of the film industry’s most famous families, including uncle Francis Ford Coppola, cousin Nicolas Cage, cousin Sofia Coppola, (former) cousin-in-law Spike Jonze and brother Jason Schwartzman. His father was of Polish Jewish descent and his mother is of Italian ancestry.
Robert was featured in his cousin Sofia’s first short film Lick the Star, and played Paul Baldino in the directorial debut The Virgin Suicides. His breakthrough performance, however, came from playing the role of Michael Moscovitz in Disney’s The Princess Diaries, winning the role due to his musical ability. The movie also featured a scene with a section from the song “Blueside” that Robert wrote and is a real song for his band Rooney. Since 2002, Robert has taken time out from acting, and has focused on his music with his band Rooney, where he is the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist.
OPENING NIGHT PARTY follows the film screening with open bar, great food and music provided by NEON NIGHTS!
Opening Night Film & Party Sponsored by:
Additional Sponsors: The Estate of John B. Mager, Sr / Bonnie Barnett & Robert Kagan, M.D. / Christine & Austin Forman
Opening Night Beverage Sponsors: