Tucson Weekly

DIRECTED BY: Paul Schrader

REVIEWED: 02-20-97

A CONVERSATION WITH Jessica Glass, a projectionist in New York City and member of projectionist union Local 306, about the new Paul Schrader movie, Touch:

TW: How did you like Touch?

JG: I thought the leading characters were sexy, and I liked Christopher Walken a lot.

TW: But weren't you a little disappointed?

JG: I felt that the script was not up to the talent of the cast.

TW: There was something weird about it, wasn't there?

JG: It was uneven. I thought it was sloppy in some parts and unformed in others.

TW: It was kind of like the actors hadn't rehearsed or even thought about it beforehand....

JG: ...And there were too many shots of feet walking.

TW: Yeah, and all that groovy, upbeat music--I thought Schrader was trying to rip off Get Shorty a little, which is also based on an Elmore Leonard novel. As a projectionist, what did you think of the movie?

JG: It's not the kind of movie you'd want to watch many times a day. It wouldn't hold up. Some movies have a Zen of shelf life--they grow on you after repeated viewings. I really doubt this one would.

TW: Touch is supposed to be the hip new movie. Did you think it was hip?

JG: It's hip because of the sexy character Bridget Fonda plays and that other guy, the poor man's Johnny Depp guy (Skeet Ulrich).

TW: Did you find it strange that the main character, who was supposed to be this holy man who could heal people manually, was so "whatever" about everything? I mean, when his girlfriend asks him how it feels to heal people he just says "I don't know. It doesn't feel like anything." He's like a poor man's Kurt Cobain.

JG: I couldn't tell what was off--the acting or the direction or the writing. But I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt because they were so beautiful. I think Bridget Fonda could do a better job acting, and that other guy....

TW: He was so good-looking I really didn't care if he was a good actor or not.

JG: His buns were the best part of the movie, along with Christopher Walken's hair and suits.

TW: Can you explain what the movie was about?

JG: Okay. A really gorgeous young fox is shown to be able to do religious healing. So one shyster (Walken) and one Christian freak (Tom Arnold) get wind of him and want to exploit him for their own purposes. The whole movie's about the tension or lack of tension between the guys trying to cash in on him and his angel of a girlfriend trying to save him. And it's also about how you have to have faith in God and can't test God or you might lose your powerful stigmata.

TW: That's an important thing to learn from a movie! As a projectionist, how did you find theater conditions in Tucson?

JG: This theater was fine except for an annoying light that was washing out the whole lower quadrant of the screen. I think it was from an exit sign.

TW: What should a patron do if they're watching a movie and the sound is bad, or it's out of focus?

JG: In a multiplex the projectionist is not in the booth watching, they're running around trying to show 11 other movies. If you want it in focus you have to go find the manager and complain. Also, you should write to the local papers and send a carbon copy to the chain as well as to the union--IATSE (International Allied Theatrical and Stage Employees)--and start boycotting all non-union theaters so that the quality will improve.

TW: Is it worth paying more to see a movie at a union theater?

JG: That's a decision you have to make: If you want to be able to hear and see the movie in full color rather than having the screen washed out by a light, it might be worth it. Theater chains wouldn't necessarily have to increase their ticket prices much. Their profit margin is enormous and their revenues increase every year. I think they could afford to give a little bit of quality back to the people.

--Stacey Richter

Other Films by Paul Schrader
Blue Collar

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