As if by divine right the star have aligned. Hot off the heals of my Omega 13 article about the 1987 Dustin Hoffman/Warren Beatty film Ishtar a miraculous thing has occurred: Someone is working to create an Ishtar documentary of the rise and fall of this badly misunderstood film.
Two Canadians (I like them already) out of Toronto have set up an IndieGoGo to crowd fund their, as they call it, “labour of love”. It would appear that their observation was damn close to mine: Most people talk about how bad Ishtar is, but hardly anyone has actually seen. One of the Producers of the doc explains that, in hunting down a copy of the film to show to friends, he found an old VHS copy at his local library… with 47 other people waiting in the queue to see it before him.
It would appear that more than a few someones were interested in the box office flop. What gives, he said (he never said that, I assume he did- artistic flavouring if you will), and then wondered who else out there would wait the approximately 8 months for a ratty old copy of what Time Magazine called one of the worst ideas of the 20th Century. What happened next developed in to an obsession.
Now, I can relate to the Producers, Jonathan Mithell & Jonathan Crombie. When I popped in Ishtar I was ready for a clunker and I came out as some kind of born again Christian… except replace “Christian” with “Fan”. It would seem I could slip a reference or anecdote to Ishtar in every conversation I had from that day forward. If I wasn’t so lazy every Saturday morning I would go door to door, two-by-two with a copy of the film in hand and smile, saying, “Have you heard the word?” then I would pause for affect, and say, “The word is Ishtar.”
And just look at the lineup of talking heads in the Ishtar documentary: George Anthony form the Huffington Post, Ex-New York Time editor David Blum, The Charles Grodin, The Carol Kane, and Ishtar composer Paul Williams; and my personal favourite, The Red Violin’s Don McKeller. What more do you want? Okay, maybe Elaine May.
Seriously, next time you are out at a party full of movie nerds, or you head on down to one of them artsy-fartsy movie houses that only shows German Black and White films and everyone has a hand along their face, holding that arm up at the elbow with their other, saying, “Frou-frou this” & “Isn’t that darling.” ask around if they seen Ishtar and most will balk at the film and after much pushing you will find they have not.
So now here is where I ask you to do me a favour. Yeah, I know we only just met, but do it for me. Go find Ishtar. It’s out there, DVD or even on your favourite torrent site- go watch it and then head on over to the Ishtar documentary IndieGoGo site. The money is all in Canadian so all you Americans are getting a deal. You can take the money you save in the conversion and buy yourself a nice bucket of KFC… which I hear isn’t even chicken anymore so invite along your favourite Vegan and share a leg.
As one of the directors I can only agree that people should indeed check out Ishtar, and then consider our project. Ishtar truly was/is an under-appreciated movie! http://igg.me/at/waitingforishtar/x/6580255
If you haven't seen it, here is James' defense of the movie he wrote last week – https://renegadecinema.com//24252/omega-13-episode-02-ishtar-1987
Well, as a recent convert I am only too willing to push the film. Thanks for coming by John.