I’m now at the Maui Film Festival in Hawaii.

Before you envy me too much, you need to know a little history…

About a year and a half ago, my best friend and I were turning… uh… old… and neither of us had been to Hawaii, so we decided to throw a party for ourselves and go with a bunch of friends to Maui for the Christmas holiday.

The day we arrived, “the biggest storm in a decade” hit Maui and it rained every single day that we were there. I don’t mean fifteen-minute afternoon tropical showers. I mean torrential downpour from morning until night. Every day. As a result, we were stuck in our rental house with nothing to do but drink and get into arguments with each other. In fact, some of the friendships didn’t really survive the trip.

So, you see, I may be the only person who has ever uttered the words; “Hawaii sucks.”

What a difference a year and a half makes.

This is what I spent the day looking at from my hotel:


Last night was the opening night of the Festival. The main venue is amazing. It’s an open-air theatre that they’ve constructed on a golf course. The sound system is incredible and there’s nothing quite like watching a movie in the balmy tropical air beneath the stars.

The opening night film, on the other hand…

I can’t for the life of me figure out why a festival would choose a formulaic, predictable, unfunny studio film starring a certain “tween” actress to open the event. I might understand it if the stars or filmmakers were actually at in attendance… but they weren’t (Normally, I would link the title of the film… but I don’t want to give them any advertising.). Until last night, I had never walked out of a movie before… and I’ve already raved about the venue… so that has to give you some idea about just how bad it was.

The parties were fun. The food (and, yes, the drinks) were amazing and I got to hang out with some of the filmmakers I met at Waterfront, including Randall Miller and Jody Savin, the writer/director and writer/producer of Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School (which is a great example of a really good “studio” film… and would have been a much better opening night choice, in my opinion) and dolly grip-turned short filmmaker Otis Mannick.

Today I’ve been recovering on the beach and trying to learn to speak Hawaiian. Did you know there are only thirteen letters in the Hawaiian alphabet… and one of them is a glottal stop? I still can’t figure out what "Kapu lolo haole!" means…

I hope the weather holds and the movies get better… but all in all I’d say that Hawaii has been redeemed for me.1070784_img_1

Still, it’s no Oklahoma City…

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