The Marley & Me Premiere
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The Marley & Me film premiere was last week, Thursday, Dec. 11, at the Mann Village Theater in Los Angeles, and the whole Grogan family was on hand. Even though my rational side kept telling myself all the glitz and glamor were manufactured for the purpose of creating buzz about the new movie, I couldn't help getting swept up in the moment. The huge expanse of red carpet, the bright lights, the banks of photographers, the crowds, the VIPs, the arriving stars... it was pretty damn cool. Even my blase teenage sons thought so.
We hung around on the red carpet for the better part of an hour where I had a sloppy slobbering reunion with my favorite new actor, Clyde the crazy Labrador retriever who plays Marley at his wildest. He was on hand (paw?) with his trainers and didn't hesitate to give me a big wet face kiss.
Then Owen Wilson arrived and the crowd went wild. A few minutes later Jennifer Aniston pulled up, looking dazzling as ever, and the crowd went *really* wild. Co-stars Eric Dane and Alan Arkin, and the child actors from the movie were also on hand, as were some other highly recognizable faces, including Courteney Cox, John Mayer, and Katherine Heigl.
My family and I saw the movie a few weeks ago in a private screening in New York. But watching it with 1,400 people Thursday night was a whole other experience. It was fascinating to watch which scenes brought bursts of spontaneous laughter -- there were a lot of them -- and to hear the weeps and sniffles at parts, too. For the record, let me say that Aniston and Wilson did an incredible job portraying Jenny and me. We all know how funny they can be -- and they are definitely funny here -- but both delivered tender, poignant performances, too. Owen especially showed a side of himself I had not seen in earlier work of his. There's deep and real emotion here.
The post-movie party was a riot -- even if the jet-lagged Grogans were dragging a little, our bodies telling us that L.A. midnight feels a whole lot like Philadelphia 3 a.m. We hung around Los Angeles for a couple more days to relax, thaw out, and see some attractions. A highlight for our kids was the boardwalk scene at Venice Beach -- despite howling winds and nippy temps.
My one disappointment at the premiere was that I did not get the chance to meet Alan Arkin and to tell him how much I loved his performance. He plays my (fictional) curmudgeonly editor at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and he nailed it in a hysterically understated way. A total hoot. But on our last day at our hotel, Jenny and I stepped into the elevator and there stood Arkin on his way to check out. So we got to say hi and exchange notes on the movie and the book and all things Marley. He's a very nice man.
When we arrived home to Pennsylvania, the weather was cold and grey and a heavy rainstorm had washed out our gravel driveway. Ah, sweet reality. The film premiere was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and one I won't soon forget, but it was good to be back home, reality and all.
posted by John Grogan at 6:57 PM