Fog City Mavericks is a fluff piece and a real waste of time. Admittedly, I watched this documentary with the hope that some screen time would be spent profiling John Korty. Perhaps, some discussion of his early independent films would have been nice, maybe a few clips from The Crazy Quilt, Riverrun, Funnyman. Korty really gets no screen time at all and like so many of the voices in this piece he is really only there via some connection to Lucas or Coppola.
After watching this film I suppose we are to think that maverick now means someone who evades the Hollywood system only to create a Hollywood-like system. Yes, Coppola, Lucas, the folks at Pixar, they have all contributed a lot to cinema, but even Fog City Mavericks stresses that they are Hollywood outside of Hollywood. The film also tries to create a cosmic bound between Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, and Eadweard Muybridge by highlighting that all three of them took a fateful turn towards filmmaking after a life threatening accident/illness. You hear that kids? Skip film school, get polio or wrap your car around a tree.
Their’s is a story that has been written numerous times in the trades, in fanzines, and in the mainstream press. It’s the unlikely story of the little man doing things his way and coming out on top. It’s an American tale dreamt by individuals and cities. If Fog City Mavericks has any real agenda it is to perpetuate that old myth and a similar one about how a town can become the new movie mecca. This week I just saw an article about Pittsburgh being the Hollywood of the East. Every city dreams of being that next big movie town. San Francisco comes close, because it has working filmmakers living there and producing films there, but do we need another Hollywood?
Why couldn’t more time have been spent on some of San Francisco’s real movie mavericks, other than the scant few seconds given up to John Korty and Bruce Conner? What of all the other mavericks hidden in the Fog City?