November 12, 2010

Yay Mom!

Somehow I ended up having only one class today, so after that and 2 hours of practicing, I decided to treat myself to a movie. These days, going to a movie is an extra-special indulgence for me as I'm trying to live within a pretty tight budget and I don't usually have much spare time, but this was the opening weekend of 127 hours, (the new Danny Boyle--Slumdog Millionaire director--film based on the true story of a climber who gets caught beneath a boulder and cuts his arm off in order to survive) and because my mom WORKED HER BUTT OFF for a good bit of the summer keeping the cast and crew of this film alive in the desert (she, along with my cousin Alice were the craft service people) I could not resist checking out the finished product.

This movie is not for the faint of heart. The climactic scene where Aaron Ralston (played by James Franco) intentionally breaks the bone in his arm and cuts his way to freedom through the rest of his nerves and muscle is extremely graphic. There are rumors floating around that audience members have occasionally fainted while watching, and I'll personally admit to a substantial amount of sympathetic wincing--the sound in this scene is particularly jarring and, together with the horrific visuals, affected me like hearing nails on a chalkboard while being sliced by a cold blunt piece of dirty metal. Everyone knows that this scene is coming from the moment the action begins, and as we're swept along into Ralston's reckless and exuberant adventure, we can't help but wish we could somehow warn him to turn back. All grimacing aside, this was a thoroughly satisfying film and I HIGHLY recommend you check it out. While you watch, just remember that my mom was out there in that utterly remote and overwhelmingly dusty location working 16+ hour days and sleeping precious little in a freezing wind-buffetted tent making sure everyone on set was well fed and watered. Without such excellent service, Mr. Franco would never have been able to so convincingly play a character who is starving and almost entirely dehydrated.

During the last little bit of shooting that was done in SLC, I had the pleasure of visiting my mom on set during some down time I had between a matinee and evening show of Pioneer Theater's "42nd Street". There had been a completely lifelike full-scale model of Bluejohn Canyon constructed in an old Granite Furniture warehouse in Sugarhouse, and the day I was there they were filming the flash flood scene. My mom took me around and introduced me to Mr. Boyle (who asked as he shook my hand, "We seem to be missing an arm somewhere...have you seen it?) and the crew, (who ALL said some version of "your mom rocks!") and I puttered around in her food truck for a bit stirring what she told me to stir and chopping veggies when needed. I even cut up some tomatoes to fill a sandwich specifically requested by Mr. Boyle (don't I feel special!). While the filming was paused I was allowed to walk up inside the "canyon" and imagine what it would have been like to be stuck there. The boulder looked so small...and the canyon was so narrow...what a nightmare! I took this shot with my cell phone on my way out relieved I didn't have to be confronted with the remains of a severed arm hanging grotesquely from the canyon it had been in the movie.

When the movie ended today I hung around to see if my mom got a credit, and indeed, there she is: Craft Service: Jennifer "Iffer" Mitchell (I nearly let out a cheer in the middle of the theater!). And Alice is listed right after as "Assistant Craft Service."

During the filming, one of Danny Boyle's drivers mentioned to my mom that Mr. Boyle had seen her working one day while being driven away from the set and had commented to the driver, "That woman is extraordinary!"

I couldn't agree more. WAY TO GO MOM!!!!!!


  1. YOU rock! Thanks for that nifty review!!!

  2. That woman is extraordinary.

  3. how much more emphatically can a person add... you done good iffer!!
    Love you, Amy