Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Guest of Disney

This week I noticed on Facebook that my friend from high school Tony Toscano, movie critic and all around bon vivant, was coming to Scottsdale, AZ to a promotional event for Disney's new movie, "John Carter". I wrote back jokingly that he should drive down to Tucson to visit. He asked instead if I could come there, meet the cast, director and producers and go to a screening. As it happened, I was taking the day off school to drive Pat to the Gateway airport in Gilbert so I told him that I would take him up on the offer!

I drove to the beautiful Boulders resort in WAY north Scottsdale and found Tony. We chatted by the pool a while and then went to The Spotted Donkey restaurant for a bite. Then we went down to a private reception area and hobnobbed with lots of other film critics and reviewers. Local channel 9 reviewer Jim Ferguson (whose son Jim I had worked with at Santa Rita High School was there with his wife and a very tall grandson. The boy was Shea who I had in Spanish class for just one week there when I changed schools to my current site. Shea remembered me and gave me a big hug. He is now a freshman at ASU studying, what else? Television and Movie production. it was a fun coincidence to see him.

The food was of course wonderful particularly bacon-wrapped shrimp! Tony was very gracious and introduced me to everyone including Andrew Stanton, the director of the current release "John Carter" as well as Wall-E and Finding Nemo. Mr. Stanton was very pleasant as I asked him questions as to shooting locations, possibility of a sequel, etc. I also met the two producers one of whom had produced "Die Hard" and "Hunt for Red October" both Bertoglio family favorites. Disney know how to throw a party!

We were loaded into vans and were driven to a Scottsdale theater where we checked our phones and cameras (they even wanded us before we went in) gave us our complimentary medium popcorn and soft drink and sat us in the press section. The movie itself was filled with action but personally, I didn't think too much of it.

We arrived back at the Boulders at about 10:30PM and I said a hasty goodbye to Tony as I had to drive back to Tucson but I had a marvelous time! The only disappointment was that Tony thought that the cast would be at the reception and/or screening. I was mostly looking forward to meeting Willem DaFoe and Bryan Cranston mostly and my wife and daughters looked forward to my meeting Taylor Kitsch! In any case it was a very fun evening thanks to my friend. As Uncle Max Detweiller says in "The Sound of Music": "I love rich people. I love how I live when I'm with them!"