In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_as_above_so_below_xlg

As Above, So Below

It's that rare found-footage film with a strong premise, a memorably eccentric style, and plenty of energy to burn. It's also poorly conceived, and hard…

Thumb_last_of_robin_hood

The Last of Robin Hood

A title as good as "The Last of Robin Hood" deserves a better movie. In fact, it deserves a good movie.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives

My Cap'n, Dusty Cohl (1929 - 2008)

fff2002b.jpg">

Cap'n Dusty Cohl aboard his Floating Film Festival in 2002: Larger than life, then as now. (photo by jim emerson)

Dusty Cohl was a tall man and an even taller character. Larger than life? Absolutely. And he made my life feel larger just knowing him.

Ten years ago, in February of 1998, I first met Dusty aboard his Floating Film Festival. An invitation had been extended to me via Roger Ebert to join the FFF as one of its critic-programmers. (I had the honor of presenting the world premiere of my best friend Julia Sweeney's "God Said, 'Ha!'" (1999) that year, and will present her latest film monologue, "Letting Go of God," aboard the FFF next month.) I didn't quite know it at the time, but legend has it that Dusty and his wife Joan -- who met most of the programmers (Roger, Richard and Mary Corliss, Kathleen Carroll) at the Cannes Film Festival in the 1970s -- started the FFF after Cannes, and later the Toronto International Film Festival (which Dusty co-founded), got too big and too busy for them to see all their friends, including their fellow Torontonians George and Gail Anthony, Barry Avrich, Bill Ballard and so many others. The Floater was Dusty's way of bringing them all together. On a boat. With movies. And food. And sun. And booze. And cigars. It was and always will be known as Dusty's party.

dusthk.jpg 

Haskell Wexler photographs Dusty Cohl on the 2002 Floater. (photo by Jim Emerson)

My first year, I had just turned 40 and immediately became known to Dusty as "Kid." I called him "Cap'n" forever afterwards. But as welcome and accepted as he and Joan made me feel from the get-go, I guess I found his outsized persona somewhat overwhelming or intimidating: I always seemed to be doing something exceptionally awkward (even for me) around him, like walking into walls or getting lost or sticking my foot in my mouth. Many people thought of him as a big kid, but to me he would always be a Big Kid.

Everybody wanted to please Dusty. His approval could light you up inside. My fellow FFF programmers and I noticed that Dusty's smooth and potent blend (as in Crown Royal, the blended Canadian whiskey that was his favorite only drink) of brusqueness and warmth was perfectly expressed in the term he always used with us when signing off a communication -- whether an e-mail or a phone call: "Lovesya."

So long, Cap'n.

Lovesya.

(Please see Roger Ebert's personal memories of Dusty -- and more photos -- here.)

Popular Blog Posts

Different rules apply

White privilege, lived.

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Ferguson, Missouri: Third World America vs. Atlas Shrugged

An FFC looks at the horrible situation in Ferguson, MO and what it says about where we are and where we're going.

Interview: Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse on what Hollywood’s love of blockbusters means for the rest of us

An interview with Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse, author of “Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, ...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus