The Queen Of Versailles: My First Day At The San Francisco International Film Festival
Well, I certainly kicked off my SFIFF week with gusto. I had tickets to see Yorgos Lanthimos’ new film, ‘Alps‘ (he previously directed the brilliant Dogtooth) yesterday at 2:30 but my ass across the bay didn’t leave the house until 1:30. This may not have been a problem except for the fact that some genius over at the city of San Francisco thought it would be a good idea to have the Cherry Blossom Festival at the same time as the Film Festival and close down half of the streets in the area. This of course meant that the streets were filled with cars and chaos. The great thing about it, however, is that it provides me with a convenient opportunity to blame my poor planning on the city of San Francisco. We all win.
The bad news is that since parking took me 30 minutes, I missed Alps. I abandoned my friend Mark, who sat solo in the theater while I made my way over to Bun Mee for a Bàhn Mí. It was delicious on a hot day, paired with a strawberry-lychee agua fresca of sorts, done Vietnamese style. When I was done, I walked directly across the street to The Grove, ordered an iced tea, a chocolate chip cookie and sat down next to two Marina looking boys wearing cargo shorts and flip-flops and complaining that they had to move away from Orlando and L.A. respectively because they became “overrun with tourists.” I rolled my eyes, took out my notebook and decided I would mock them later on my blog. Catty I know, but you simply cannot get away with wearing cargo shorts and flip-flops in San Francisco (I don’t care how hot it is). Rivieras make a perfectly suitable alternative. I like the green ones. Full net.
I texted Mark to meet me after the movie and he did. Of course he comes in raving about how much I would’ve liked the movie, slapped me across the face, and called me an asshole for missing it. The Marina boys were so offended, they got up and left. Good move, Mark.
On the next stop on my ‘I’m-a-pig-give-me-more-food-tour’, I met my delightful friend Megan White (whom I’ll refer to as Amber to protect her identity) at a cute, newish little neighborhood place, Roostertail. We shared two things, had some drinks and made our way over to the theater to see another film, the documentary, ‘The Queen of Versailles’. We went straight up to the balcony, chose our seats, and I then went right to the bathroom. I felt like I was going to either shit my pants, vomit all over my ‘Paris’ screen tee, or both. How glamorous! I was not feeling well. I couldn’t tell if it was because I ate so much in a relatively short period of time, or that the Marina boys had gotten to me more than I realized. I’m sure it was the latter as I have quite the iron stomach, known to take in all sorts of gutter slop.
When I returned to my seat, Amber went over to get a glass of wine and when she returned I told her that I may not make it through the film. “If I get up and leave during the middle of it, you’ll know why.” The movie started and we were introduced to a lovely orange-colored, bleach blond goddess named Jackie. She has EE implants pulled so tight, you could see the ‘Dow Corning’ company watermark through her leather skin. She sat with her troll billionaire husband on a big, gold, faux rococo chair that looked like they bought it half-off at the Michael Jackson Estate auction. They talked about building their 90,000 square feet house in Orlando which they modeled after The Palace of Versailles and the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. A copy of a copy! This is brilliant. Immediately I was feeling better. These two are the real shit. No phoney attempt at tacky with cargo shorts and flip-flops. These two have played with the best: Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Donatella Versace. All the oranges.
Troll made his money in timeshares and as we all know, they’re a bit of a scam. No one (except me, I have a trip to Kauai coming up!) is suckered into them anymore. Since everyone is fleeing their part-time vacation properties, Troll is losing money and big time. He’s actually no longer a billionaire and their unfinished faux Versailles sits—basically abandoned—in foreclosure. They have to cut back. We get to see scenes like the family flying commercial for the first time and the kids asking, “mommy, why are there all these people on our plane?”. Or, the time when she goes to the Hertz counter to rent a car, she asks the stunned man behind the counter, “what’s our driver’s name?” At this point, I was feeling fantastic.
[Queen of Versailles image by Lauren Greenfield; Alps image is a still from the film]