Me + Orson Welles = TLA

Sometimes, long after you’ve assumed that you’re just going to have to wait for DVD, a much-anticipated movie will eventually trickle its way down through the cracks of real civilization into the clogged drainage ditch that is Pittsburgh.

Such was the case with Me & Orson Welles, a pic that was released on Thanksgiving bloody week but just appeared here last weekend.

You know I worship Orson, and as a tangent to that, I am always fascinated about the representation of Orson Welles as a character in other people’s films.  If I was a Film Studies grad student, that would be my thesis topic.  I make a point to see every film I can find where Orson is a character, so I was dying to see Me & O.W. especially since I’d heard all good things about it.

This movie will cheerfully stoke all of your young-Orson-Welles-time-travel-sex-fantasies.  What?  Um….you’re telling me you don’t have those??  Really?  Ummm…… *studies shoelaces*  Let’s just say that if I got access to a magic time machine and could only go to one place, it wouldn’t be to stop the Kennedy assassination.  I’d take it straight to NYC, fall of 1937, as the Mercury Theater was prepping to open 22 year-old Orson’s visionary modern/fascist  dress, minimalist, ground-breaking production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.  My ass would be camped outside that backstage door day and night.

And that is just where this movie takes us.

It’s told through the eyes of a stage-struck teen (Played completely inoffensively by Zac Efron.  Yeah, I know, but really he’s not bad at all.) who lucks out and lands a small part in Caesar that fateful fall of ’37.   But the movie, like the play, is all Orson’s show, thanks to the damn-near miraculous talents of Mr. Christian McKay who doesn’t play Orson, but inhabits him.  I’ve seen many actors’ attempts to portray Orsie on screen….some good, some meh, but McKay is the best hands-down.  I’d never heard of him before this movie, but I’m going to start stalking him based on this one performance.

The rest of the movie is fun, uplifting, charming, all of that.  For me, it was like spending good times with old and dear friends.  Besides Orson, there was his acting troupe that I know of love from Orson’s films; Joe Cotton, John Houseman, the whole gang.  I’ve no doubt that I’m gonna buy Me & Orson Welles, and I have a feeling that it’s destined to become a “comfort movie” favorite in my house.  But even the non-obsessed can and should enjoy it…please support this movie if it comes to your town.

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