Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Love Letter to Rob Reiner (And Why You Should See Flipped)

Last year my son nailed his first-ever movie audition. According to the Casting Director (I was not allowed in for the meeting) he made Rob Reiner laugh and Rob (may I call you Rob?) said "You've got the part!" and our summer then revolved around one line in a flashback scene which was minuscule in the overall movie but huge for an 8-year old boy.

I got the opportunity to work as an extra as a teacher and spent eight days on the set surrounded by middle-school kids and got to watch Rob Reiner work. Not that I've spent a lot of time on movie sets, but it was obvious that he's an easy-going director. He knew exactly what he wanted. He was great with the kids. He was friendly. He was serious, but didn't take it too seriously (if that makes sense). And this is how nice he is: he picked me out of the teachers for a classroom scene and when we were walking back in after a costume change he asked me if I was on camera in the last shot. "I'm just here to do what I'm told," I said. (Yes, I'm completely eloquent under pressure). "You were. You were on camera," he said. When he walked away the Assistant Director came running over and asked me what Rob said to me. I told him and he said "No, you weren't on camera." Oh well. (But I was!)

When we heard the movie would be premiering at the Heartland Film Festival (after winning Truly Moving Picture of the Year) the kids and I headed to Indianapolis to attend. We weren't even sure my son didn't end up on the cutting room floor (he didn't!). When the movie was over my son said the only thing he wanted was to say hi to Rob and get a picture with him (he even turned down a brownie). We pushed our way through the crowd; of course everyone wanted to meet Rob Reiner. My son wiggled his way close to him and said "Excuse me. Do you remember me?" Now, I don't know if he really did or not but Rob looked at my son and said "Yes, I do. Did you enjoy yourself?" then grabbed him for a photo.

Thank you, Rob Reiner. First, for giving my son his first opportunity and second, for being such a great guy one year later. You've given my son the two best summers of his life.

Now, everybody, go see Flipped. And make your kids go see it. Know why? Because there's a story. No special effects, makeover montages, or unrealistic chase scenes, just a charming story (and some darn fine acting) about two kids actually thinking about things and becoming better people.

And watch for the Teasing Boy in the cafeteria.

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