my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Matewan
Director:   John Sayles
Year:   1987
Genre:   Drama
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   12.08.13

Other Movies Seen By This Director (1)
- Eight Men Out

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
12.08.13Marchesa For this thing that I've been writing on and off a fictional John Sayles plays a part in it. The idea was spawned from a 20-second clip I saw on a cheap CD-ROM in the early 2000s purporting to contain film school on a disc. Amidst all the usual bland and expected advice from Hollywood screenwriters and film school professors, Sayles appeared outside somewhere telling me to quit school and go live for a few decades then come back to film with something to say. For whatever reason that clip stuck with me and, even though I can't really call myself an expert on Sayles (hell, I haven't even seen half his movies), I've sort of created a mental portrait of the man as a paragon of authenticity and personal and worthwhile storytelling. So when this screening popped up I felt like it was some cosmic message for me to keep writing and to get my ass out on a cold Sunday night to see a movie.

I'm glad I did. The Marchesa really filled up and several AFS luminaries (like Lewis Black and Rick Linklater) showed up to see Sayles. He didn't disappoint... less than a minute after taking stage he mentioned how the story of Matewan came to him while he was hitch-hiking across West Virginia and Kentucky in the 70s. Of course. He also proved to be quite succinct and knowledgeable and open during the Q&A although the best answer of the evening came from his producing partner Maggie Renzi who said that too many filmmakers today are chickenshit and just make movies about themselves in their back yard. Pretty great.

So is the movie. It's kind of an American classic from the late 80s. Packed to the gills with character actors and starring Chris Cooper in his first film role, the movie tells the story of coal miners in West Virginia struggling to start a union and whatnot. It's probably not a movie I would've searched out... like it doesn't sound super exciting, but It's really great the same way that Lone Star and Eight Men Out are really great. It just feels real.