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WisFilmFest2007: Schabow on "Fay Grim"

Post by Adam Schabow on 4/15/2007 11:40am

faygrim041307.jpgIn one of my previous blogs, I wrote about my love and attraction for funny women and named a few in the process. But shame on me - what was I thinking? How could I forget to mention Parker Posey? Well, after seeing Fay Grim Friday night, I will never make that mistake again. I was reminded how Posey is a true comic artist that has the ability to be completely zany, yet completely believable as a real person stuck in the middle of a shitstorm of devilment. This was the lead role I was waiting for her to do and she pulls it off splendidly.

Posey plays the title character, Fay Grim, who is a single mother that gets thrown into a world of international mayhem and espionage, and is at one point, actually deemed a terrorist. At first, when you are introduced to Fay, you think she's dumb or perhaps just simple-minded (based primarily on how she talks, looks, dresses and interacts with people). When the plot thickens, we learn that Fay is capable of handling just about any situation that comes her way, and even though she looks and acts like she is in way over her head, she is actually a few steps ahead of everyone. Fay Grim is kind of like the female Columbo, except Columbo was fully aware of how he acted and did so intentionally, where as Fay is clueless on how she is perceived and wouldn't even know how to change it if she could.

With Hal Hartley films, you always get top notch writing, but as for his directing, I am not a huge fan. He definitely makes some interesting choices, but I could have done with less camera tilted angles (my neck got stiff) and with the movie being trimmed down a bit more (I got tired). After all, Posey is the glue that holds the film together and when she is not on screen, there is a lull. About 3/4th of the way into the movie, I could feel the audience starting to get restless. I could see them fidgeting while thinking to themselves, "When is Parker Posey coming back?"

Of course, Jeff Goldblum, Chuck Montgomery and James Urbaniak do a fine job as the supporting cast and the movie is good, there is no doubt about that. But perhaps it was the hot theater, or perhaps it was the time, or perhaps I was jaded because I saw the best movie of the film fest (Wristcutters: A Love Story ) right after, that when looking back on Fay Grim, I just didn't find it as special as I thought it would be. After all, Parker Posey can't be in the movie the whole time…or could she have been?

Adam Schabow

Business Committee Member, Contributing Writer

Besides being on the Dane101 Business Committee and writing for Dane101, Adam Schabow is also a musician and frontman for two local pop groups, The Shabelles ( and The Kites. Currently, he the co-creator and co-host of the local Madison internet talk show "DrunkDial101" ( with fellow Dane101 contributor Joshua James.

Adam is also working on a musical called "Eat the Truth" and a documentary about dumpster diving called "Trashed". He was previously the local film critic for The Wisconsinite.