Essay | My fun time hanging out with a “serious” Oscar-winning director

Hanging out with Oscar-winning director Errol Morris, I learn the “serious” filmmaker is actually a fun goofball. Morris has been my doc hero for many years and his latest film, TABLOID, is superb.

Errol Morris sure fooled me. If you’re familiar with this filmmaker’s serious-minded work, it’s logical to anticipate meeting a somber, reserved, deep thinking, perhaps even a somewhat humorless fellow. Nope. The guy I shook hands with is a combination of goofy Mel Brooks with a sprinkling of Steve Carrel silliness who’s powered by the hyper and mischievous energy of a quirky kid sputtering out of a hunkering six foot plus frame.

And I mean all that in a nice way. Because Morris is also quite a pleasant and down-to-earth guy who was a joy to hang out with. Although he was funny and playful, speaking with him, one could not help but also notice his grey head housed a keen, deep-thinking mind which was always percolating.

Roger Ebert has said, “After twenty years of reviewing films, I haven’t found another filmmaker who intrigues me more…Errol Morris is like a magician, and as great a filmmaker as Hitchcock or Fellini.” Ebert has placed Morris’s first feature GATES OF HEAVEN on his list of the 10 Best Films of All Time. Recently, the Guardian listed him as one of the ten most important film directors in the world.

So there you go, it ain’t just me. I’ve been a big fan of Morris going back 25 years, since the time I saw his first feature documentary GATES OF HEAVEN.

This night I was hired to shoot Morris at a screening of his latest film TABLOID. I was also paid to consume copious amounts of delicious food, champagne, hobnob with celebs, and relax in CAA’s most comfy and superb theater and watch a fine movie. Sometimes my jobs are such a hardship.

Tabloid movie trailer

First off, being the sophisticated film reviewer that I am, I have to tell you the rating I give TABLOID is my top “gotta-gotta-see”! Yes, that’s a rare, double-gotta rating. This true-story documentary was hilarious and made me laugh out loud more often than any Hollywood comedy concoction has in years. Continue reading »