In the paper version of Unfair Park that hits stands today, you'll find a review of Leaves of Grass, written and directed by Oklahoma native Tim Blake Nelson and starring, in dual roles, Edward Norton. I liked it much more than our Jim Hoberman, who reviewed the movie about an Ivy League prof (Norton) lured home to tend to his twin bro's pot-growing business while he deals with bidness in Tulsa. Me, I think it a clever cross between the Coen Brothers' Blood Simple and A Serious Man (or, in other words, A Seriously Bloody Man).
But, forget all that: Leaves of Grass -- which was scheduled to open this week only in Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Austin -- has just been shelved till later in the year, meaning it was too late to pull the review before the paper went to press. The reason for the delay: According to the film's local publicist, it's has been picked up by a so-far unnamed investor who wants to give it a bigger push than initially planned. More details are expected in a press release tomorrow.
So, then, why was Dallas among the sole cities getting such a significant release? When I interviewed the two men at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin two weeks ago, Nelson and Norton said that, well, as a matter of fact Blockbuster had picked up the film for exclusive home-video distribution. And when they came to Dallas earlier this month to promote the film, they even stopped by the downtown HQ to visit with CEO Jim Keyes. But, said the two men, Blockbuster wasn't the only reason for the Dallas release date ...
So, why's the movie only being released in New York and Dallas?
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Ed Norton: [First Look] was like, "Should we do New York and L.A.?" And we were like, "No, dude, New York, Austin and Dallas." I feel like that doesn't happen anymore. I feel like in the '70s they might have made sure the movie was taken in the places it was about, but especially places like Texas and Oklahoma, they don't get serviced by anything but the multiplex, so if you're not going to do a multiplex release, like, how are those people going to know this movie is really for them. Austin and hopefully Dallas, those are the places where there is enough genuine indie film appreciation and places where we can get the word out. It can really put it up here.
But there is a Blockbuster connection, right? I assume that has something to do with the Dallas release date.
Tim Blake Nelson: It is Blockbuster-related, but it's also just the flowering of the arts in Dallas and what's going on with the arts in Dallas. It's fantastic.
Norton: And the music and the movie scene.