Saturday Night

SXSW Review

Saturday Night

Director: James Franco
World Premiere
Spotlight Premieres
94 minutes

Complete Coverage of SXSW 2010

Synopsis
Have you ever wondered how a sketch was chosen for Saturday Night Live? Or why some actors are in more sketches than others? With John Malcovich hosting the episode and unprecedented access to the behind the scenes action, watch as Franco takes an observational approach in documenting what it takes to create one full episode.

Director Bio
James Francos short film Herbert White premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and then went on to screen at the Berlin Film Festival in February. SATURDAY NIGHT is his first foray into documentary filmmaking and is proud to have its world premiere at South By Southwest. Later this year James will direct Ham on Rye based on the novel by Charles Bukowski.

WHO’S IT FOR? Anyone who considered themselves a fan of “Saturday Night Live,” John Malcovich or Bill Hader should watch this documentary.

OVERALL

I had high-hopes for this documentary. After-all, I don’t remember the last time I missed “Saturday Night Live.” I think it has to be more than a decade ago. I started watching when Eddie Murphy was on, and my parents were out late on a Saturday night. So, I think I have now proved I’m a fan of the show, right?

Saturday Night is good. James Franco started this documentary as a student project, and realized it could be bigger. He’s in it a little bit, asking questions on occasion, otherwise we just see the world of “Saturday Night Live” for one week.

Certain cast members are focused on more than others. Bill Hader takes center stage, and you can tell Franco is a huge fan. He even insists Hader does some rapid-fire impressions for him, including Seth Rogen. Will Forte talks about the pitch meeting and how you can really come up with just about anything. His big sketch is a spoof on 588-2300 EMPIRE. Where’s Wiig? She’s barely present. But you know who’s surprisingly front and center? Lorne Michaels. I can’t believe how much control he has over the show. From the pitch meeting, where everyone sits on the floor around his desk, to the final call where he decides what sketches are moving on to air … Michaels is still the man. Besides Wiig’s near absence, the quality of the video isn’t great, but it’s just good enough to not ruin anything.

I could easily sit through three of these documentaries a year. What would be great is also seeing a new host going through this as well. Though, for the first time they really couldn’t have picked anyone better than Malcovich.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

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