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
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
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
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.