Exporting Raymond w/ Guest Appearance by Phil Rosenthal (Creator of Everybody Loves Raymond)

Friday, April 8, 2011

 Cinefest 2011 produced by Philadelphia Cinema Alliance under the Artistic Direction of Josh Goldbloom, opened last evening with two films, Exporting Raymond and The Catechism Cataclysm.  I had ever intention of seeing both films; I'd heard good things about Cataclysm and it also was to have a post Q & A with the filmmaker and the cast.

 However, I was on such a helium high from cackling uncontrollably throughout this comedic documentary chronicling Phil Rosenthal's misadventures while recreating his hit show Everybody Loves Raymond, with a Russian cast, for a Russian audience, in Moscow. Followed by a jocular Q & A with this quick-witted talent; that I decided to skip the second film and just head over to the opening night party.
One of the things that I, like many others, love about the show Everybody Loves Raymond, is the humor comes from the fact that people are funny just being people. And this fact translates universally throughout the world, but recreating this concept does not.  Phil Rosenthal is told by Sony Pictures Television, that studio executives in Russia are interested in having the rights to make their own version of the show, but require Rosenthal's expertise to get them started. So off he goes to Moscow, with very little idea of what's in store for him, other than having been advised to purchase K & R Insurance - kidnap and ransom.

Phil Rosenthal
To be fair, the Russian TV industry people he encounters are gracious, but the writers have never seen the original show, and even after Rosenthal has them watch an episode, they can't get their minds around a man being that weak; for Everybody Loves Kostya, the lead must be a dominating male. The costume designer on the show is a Czarina from Central Casting; honestly, look up glamorous, hoity toity, Russian princess in the dictionary and there would be a picture of this stubborn woman, who insists the Russian Debra dress like a high fashion model.

 An agreement is finally made with regard to casting Kostya the Russian Ray Romano. To do the show he must take a leave from his theater group. This shouldn't be a problem, right? Everyone in show biz agrees TV or film trumps theater, except in Russia when you are part of the Moscow Art Theater, the epicenter of theater, founded by Stanislavski himself. The Executive Director of M.A.T, adamantly refuses to release the actor, even temporarily to shoot the show, so it's back to the drawing board.

I realize none of this sounds particularly funny, but there is such honest humor in trying to explain what is funny from one culture to another. Plus Rosenthal is king of the one liners and reactions with facial expressions. His real-life parents are the epitome of Marie and Frank Barone, his parents on Skype will make you wet your pants. The film is also cut with great clips from the real Everybody Loves Raymond episodes. It's also really sadly funny that Studio Executives (clueless suits) are exactly the same in Russia as they are in the United States, and I would expect all over the world.

Did you know that the actress Monica Horan who plays Robert Barone's wife Amy on the show is Phil Rosenthal's real-life wife? Well, I didn't know until last night, she along with their teenage daughter were also in attendance at the screening. Moran is originally from the Philadelphia area and had many friends and relatives in the audience and at the opening night party held at Independence Visitor Center. 

Listen to post screening,  Phil Rosenthal Q & A 
(Hosted by, no downloading, just press play)

After 3 cocktails (let's give a shout out to the sponsors, Bluecoat Gin, Triumph Brewing Company, Barefoot Wines and Smirnoff Vodka) I was ready to dance! My new friend Sherna, (pictured with old friend Darren) was ready to be my partner and we truly got the party started. Many (I'm certain embarrassing) pictures were taken of me "shaking my groove thing", when they get posted on the Cinefest site, I'll post a link.
Liam, Kaitlyn & Ray at Cinefest Opening Party

I got up too late to see anything this afternoon, and my art opening is this evening, so check back for more Tinsel & Tine film coverage over the weekend from Cinefest 2011!

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About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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