Film Flam

It's time once again for me to ignore the Santa Barbara Film Festival. It's not like I have an attitude about it -- like, ooh, it's so Hollywood. No, it's just that every year the second week of March rolls around and I think, oops, forgot to go to the film festival again. Forgot to even pick up a schedule. It's hard to tell anything special is even going on downtown -- there's still plenty of parking and you can get a dinner reservation for Saturday night -- except that every couple of blocks you see a small group of middle-aged L.A. types with laminated badges strung around their necks. (Badges for unlimited screenings cost $750.) It's certainly not all film-school shorts and other rinky-dink stuff. Last night they were honoring Angelica Huston, and tonight Kevin Spacey is giving an award to Sean Penn -- all people I'd pay to see. Except that we've hired a babysitter tonight so we can go out to dinner with friends. This will be the second time we've gone out in eight months. Yes, I'm nervous about it.