Wednesday, August 23, 2006
update - on the wexler documentary

I got my copy of "Tell Them Who You Are" in the mail today. For those who didn't see my post about this film, (posted on 8/17/06) it is a wonderful documentary about the great cinematographer, Haskell Wexler, made by his son, Mark S. Wexler. I had seen the movie on The Sundance Channel, and was very moved and taken with it. And when I looked up the film on Netflix, I discovered there were these special extra features. I had to get this DVD. And as I was resting today, I watched the extras. One of the "extras" on this DVD are the extended interviews with about 9 or 10 of the people who spoke on the documentary....Martin Sheen, Michael Douglas, Jane Fonda, Billy Crystal, Ron Howard, Sidney Poitier, Conrad L. Hall & Conrad W. Hall, among others....all of these people were incredibly eloguent, particularly because they were all speaking about the Parent and Child experience...about their fathers and about their children....everything that was said was thoughtful and sensitive.

Billy Crystal spoke about his daughters and the fact that they are both in show business---one of them, an actress, and the difficulty of having that last name. A famous name. And what that means and how it affects her. He said something so profound, when speaking about the daughter who is an actress, going on an interview for a job. He said: "When they say something like 'If we could just get your father to do this picture....' he said, 'it moves her, (his daughter) right out of the room'. (I understand that. I relate to that.) And if and when that happens, you know that they are no longer really interested in you, if indeed, they ever were really interested in you, in the first place. And he went on to say that this makes the whole process harder for his daughter.... Much much harder for her than if no one knew her last name. I get it. Believe me.

Jane Fonda spoke of similar problems. Someone actually said to her once, "So what else have you done besides being Henry Fonda's daughter?" That would have completely destroyed me. Completely Destroyed Me, I tell you. Fonda said some other very meaningful things and among them was the importance of not waiting until it is too late to truly connect with ones parents or put aside those things of the past that keep you from having that close meaningful relationship, and that it needs to come from you to your parent.

These interviews were really wonderful in so very many ways....Poitier spoke of being a father to 6 girls and that he was very hard on all of his daughters. Too hard, he said. And he explained why, as well as alluding to the fact that he came from the economic "depression" mentality of the '30's and lived with this all his life even after he was successful.
Martin Sheen shared much about his kids and how large he loomed over them without even understanding that THAT was the case, as well as how he was given the opportunity to get closer to his children once he was no longer working so hard to establish himself in his career....
I don't think that these things apply only to children of famous fathers, but the "fame" thing, can certainly complicate the experience for the child of a famous parent with a famous name, in a way that can possibly truly destroy one. I think about Bing Crosby's children and how damaged they were....

But, the most moving and profound piece of film that I saw today was the footage of Haskell Wexler watching this film his son had made for the very first wasn't completely finished, but it was edited and finished enough that his father, Haskell, could watch it on a small monitor in Mark Wexlers office. We see Haskell begin to watch it and Mark is sitting behind him. Then Mark moves out of the frame going, one assumes, out of the room. Then we see Mark getting his camera ready so he can film his fathers response to this very personal film.

The film is over. And Haskell Wexler just sits staring at the now black monitor---the film being over. The camera comes into the room---Mark running it though we don't see him because
we just see what the camera sees as it moves in on his father just sitting there. He moves over towards him with the camera and we see that Haskell Wexler is terribly terribly moved. We see Marks hand go to his father's shoulder....and indeed, Haskell Wexler is so emotional he can barely speak. And then he says through his tears: "If I can just get past all this emotion...I want to say to you that this is a great film, Mark." We hear Mark Wexler immediately begin to sob off camera....I tell want to talk about "Reality TV"? These moments are truly 'Reality TV'. I burst into tears...into sobs, myself. Finally, Mark Wexler was given the acknowledgement by his father that he has always needed and has always wanted to hear.

And Haskell Wexler continued to cry. Both men, so terribly moved by this moment of deep closeness that was now passing between them....Haskell is the the only one we can actually see because Mark is still off camera, but, we can hear Mark and his deeply emotional response of tears....both these men in tears, as they are probably closer in that moment than they have ever ever been.

Much much more was said....and all of it so incredibly moving and satisfying....because we as an audience are witness to this truly profound thing that has just spontaneously happened between father and son.
All the pain; all the hard work; all the hope that went into Mark S. Wexlers making of this film about his famous father....the careful thoughtful editing that he did....all of it came full circle in the most moving, satisfying and rewarding way....And by making this film he has now connected in the most real way to his Dad, before it is too late for both of them. The son, reaching out to his very difficult critical father.....Magnificent!

You will have to rent or buy this DVD to see this part of the whole....because it isn't in the actual film....But, Thank You God, it is on the 'extras' of this DVD. I couldn't help but feel as I watched this, how wonderful for Mark S. Wexler to have had these precious moments with his have cemented in a really deeply emotional way, their connection to one another, of love and respect and closeness.

Lord, how I wish I could have had something like that with my own father.

Update On The Emmy's: On this past Sunday night the Creative Arts Awards Emmy Ceremony took place at The Shrine Auditorium, and Emmy's were given out, among the categories covered was one of the panels that I voted on. "Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Special"...the Emmy went to The Opening Ceremonies of The Winter Olympics, and for the record that was my first choice....this is such a terrible category as mentioned before, because it is such a "catch-all" category....impossible to pit George Carlin against The Opening Ceremonies to my way of thinking....but there it was and here it is.

Further Update: 11:41pm-

Here is where our dear Wendy and her husband are sleeping tonight...

More to come.....

Links to this post:


had this to say:

Came to check "the hills" :) and i am betting that the spanish flag that is currently showing online is none other than... the fab Mar! Hehe.
Heard Billy Crystal give an interview on Oprah once, she had a topic about fathers as they were celebrating Fathers' day. So Crystal shared some parenting stories and i fell in love with the man right there and then. Eloquent indeed. Funny without a doubt. A little clip introduced us to the wife and daughters - i was impressed. It is a Hollywood family that actually seems to come across as "normal". Might have to check that commentary out.
thanks for visiting btw!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 1:14:00 AM PDT 

Blogger mar
had this to say:

Your description is so vivid I am very moved about this close moment between father and beautiful they could connect...before it was too late, like you said it! I haven't met any person with a famous last name but I have had friends whose parents never thought they were good enough and I know how it hurts, how devastating it is no matter how hard you try and how that worthless feeling can be a shadow during a lifetime... I think about this when talking to my son when I am upset about something he has done/ hasn't done as expected ( I have learned not to be upset many times, it is just unhealthy and it causes wrinkles), I try not to forget he is not done yet, he is still in the process to be a fine young man...
Hugs, dear, have a wonderful day.
Hugs, dear, have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 1:17:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Very nice story. It does pose a problem to children of these popular people since other people tend to expect more from them being the sons and daughters of famous people.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 3:05:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Certainly I will rent the DVD when it is out in São Paulo. "Tell Them Who You Are" looks and sounds absolutely splendid. Thanks for sharing this!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 6:08:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Just reading about this choked me up. That is a very moving account. Parent child relationships are very complex and I think he was very brave making this and showing it to his father.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I always enjoy your comments. I am much better now and actually have been out and about (weather permitting her in the soggy UK) and when I get time I will share them. I hope you are continuing to feel better too.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 6:23:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Okay, you won me over. I'm going to pop on Netflix and put this movie on my list. Thanks for a wonderful review.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 6:27:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

That does sound like a very moving experience, Naomi. It's fortunate that DVDs include the bonus features like that. In years past we'd not have seen these "fillers" that bring so much more to the film experience.

Here's a tissue, dear.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 7:15:00 AM PDT 

Blogger srp
had this to say:

The relationships between parent and child are so complicated. This sounds like a very lovely film.

Oh, loved, loved the opening ceremony at the Olympics.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 9:03:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Thanks for a great tip to a movie I definitely will want to see but might never have heard of otherwise. It reminds me to some degree of 'Searching for Debra Winger' which I very much enjoyed a few years back.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 9:06:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

i loved reading this post, naomi. i felt as though i could actually see, hear and feel what you were describing. have a great day! ;)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 10:16:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Dear Naomi,
I've enjoyed the Wexler posts so very much. I could comment on many things but the kicker for me was: "I wish I'd had that with my father..." I'm sooo with you on that one. And more's the pity. We deserved better!
Take care, sweet, sweet friend.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 11:11:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

You've described it so well that I want to go out and see the DVD myself! It sounds very intimate and emotional.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 12:36:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Thank you for more information on the film. I am still trying to get it.
As for the house on the hill. That is unbelievable!
Have a wonderful day!
(=':'=) hugs
(")_ (")Š from da Raggedy one

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 1:15:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I like that, Naomi.

I like that a LOT.......

We forget that 'celebs' have lives, families and children, and most of them make the same mistakes we do - just 'bigger'....


Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 1:18:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Great post, Naomi and thank you so much for sharing it with us. It certainly did sound like a pivotal moment for father and son...and before it was too late.
Thanks for the update on the Emmy Awards you voted on.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 2:51:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow what a very special site you have here. Loved the quality of your review. Will check out the movie. I'm calling over from `The Queer Chef'. Have decided to add your link to my site for the moment, best wishes, The Artist

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 3:42:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, you have made it imperative for me to see this DVD and view the extras as well. One of the most profound moments I ever witnessed was watching the Fondas talk about making On Golden Pond. I have to see this one too! Thanks for informing us about it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 4:19:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow I learned so much about these people from your post! Great post!

I told Wendy to give you a hug from me!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 5:12:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

How wonderful to know that they had those moments together! That is very touching. Thanks for the follow up Naomi!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 5:39:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I'm sure it really is difficult to be the the shadow of a "great" parent who is either famous or renowned in some field, especially if you are trying to make it is that same field of work.
It sounds as if the father-son connection and emotion was powerful.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 7:42:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Even though I saw the movie, I want to rent the DVD just for the extras. Here's something that I think you'll enjoy:
It's on the movie's website and it's the interview that was on nightline so if you didn't see that interview, you can see it here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 8:48:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Hi Naomi :)
O boy I got teary just reading that.. It is wonderful that Mark Wexler got such a great acknowledgment from his father, a priceless reward for all his hard work no doubt..

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 10:16:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I was very moved by your review of "Tell Them Who You Are." I never really thought about how hard it is to break into showbiz when you have a famous parent. I actually thought it would be easier, but apparently not.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 11:09:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

having the last name of a famous parent is never easy. Many children of actors didn't "just make it", they had to work hard to become their own person (as far as studios were concerned) I bet some like Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland, or the Bridges boys could tell you alot about the same subject.

I was born Patty McCormick (actress/ McCormick spices!) when I married I became Patricia Neal (actress).. none of these names helped me at all! lol lol

Thursday, August 24, 2006 at 5:13:00 AM PDT 

Blogger mar
had this to say:

Did you talk to Wendy yet??? can't wait to read all about it!!

Thursday, August 24, 2006 at 8:44:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

As someone who has had (and still has) a difficult relationship with my father, this was a really beautiful post. Thank you.

Thursday, August 24, 2006 at 9:49:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Sounds fascinating.
I didn't really relate well to my father. Might be interesting to view in that context.

I agree... how can you pit George against pageantry? Makes no sense.


Thursday, August 24, 2006 at 10:13:00 AM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Note for Wendy: Hope the ankle is a-ok. If not, telephone your Dr. and ask if support stockings would help. The silver grey ones would look fab with THE DRESS! Phone Capezio, Danskin and Bloomingdale's to locate them, ask OOL the best way to get them delivered. Also ask her if she knows any ballerinas who might have advice on aching ankles. I hope you don't need this unsolicited advice! It's going to be a wonderful experience, so enjoy!!!

Thursday, August 24, 2006 at 1:35:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Well you cried watching it and I choked up reading this! It reminded me of writing the essay for my dad that I read on the radio and that he got to read it 4 months before he died.

Sometimes I like the back stories to movies more than the actual movie!

Thanks for sharing this. I enjoyed it very much!

Did I miss the Emmys? I thought it was this weekend.

Thursday, August 24, 2006 at 3:52:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow just wow. I've been close to my mom through the years and am able to tell her pretty much anything on my mind including how much I love her but the scene between Mark and his father that you described has floored me.

Thursday, August 24, 2006 at 4:37:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Touching post. (blinks back tears)
My father and I once were so close I never thought it would change...but it did and I won't blog about that. Suffice it to say that your post is as moving and so VERY interesting as ever!

I've missed reading you. Had a busy summer. Please note that I consolidated both of my blogs into one new place (with categories for my "organizational needs.") so the link for Green-Eyed Lady is moved and that blog (Good VIbrations is gone). You'll see it if you click on my name on this comment where I also consolidated both of my blog names to avoid confusion so I go by
**SilvermOOn** GEL now and my blog "Shadows in the Moonlight" is located here:
P.S. Billy Crystal is one of my faves.

Thursday, August 24, 2006 at 4:45:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I am definitely putting this one in my queue!! Thanks, Naomi!

Saturday, August 26, 2006 at 9:59:00 AM PDT 

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