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Filmmaker Letter

Filmmaker Letter

Good Time

by co-director/co-writer Joshua Safdie

Allow me to indulge in a story. After, we’ll map out why seeing Good Time in theaters this summer is the best thing you can do to spice up your life.

There was this moment while we were shooting Good Time—I remember it distinctly—where I realized that the screen and my life blended perfectly. I realized that the genre film that we were making was bleeding into our own lives and that our film was bleeding into life.

It was 2am and I was detained at the 21st precinct in Manhattan, but I had to be on set at 8am. It really wasn’t a huge deal, just a massive inconvenience. They had me booked under driving with a suspended license and were holding me on suspicion of many things I wasn’t guilty of. When they pulled me over earlier they accused me of selling drugs—haha! I told them movies were the only drug I was selling.

At the precinct, two officers were trying to trick me into giving them the passcode to my phone so that they could rummage through my contacts and correspondences. I didn’t fall for it. I tried to explain the irony of the situation: that earlier that day we were shooting at Queens Detention Center, an active jail in the city, and that I was the one opening and closing the gates. I mentioned that Jason Harvey, the head of NYPD’s artist’s unit who sketches the most effective wanted posters, had been acting in our film just the week prior. The officers were not entertained and chalked it up to cell-talk bullshit and told me to shut up, which prompted a long, cold silence.

But then something really weird happened: one cop grew curious. I started talking him up and we got along! I was alone in the cell, so I didn’t feel bad talking to the cops. By the end of our conversation, I was trying to cast him in an upcoming "police-montage" we were filming. He quietly agreed, but wouldn’t give me his contact information. He told me to reach out through the precinct before the shoot. That particular cop didn’t end up in the montage, but other cops were! Though I wish he did make it into the movie! That would’ve made for a much better story.

Good Time is much like this story. It’s pulpy, it’s dangerous, and it’s uniquely fun! This is the way we make movies—we get involved and we can’t help it but become entirely infused with the film. What you end up seeing can often feel MORE real than reality, which is what I think makes Good Time such a FUN ride. Because it’s a thriller that actually thrills. It also stars a guy we’ve all known for better parts of a decade, but in a role that you have never seen him in before.

We wanted to make a movie that we grew up loving. An action-packed thriller that has you yelling at the screen and peeling at your eyes wondering what’s gonna happen next. And we wanted to make a popcorn film because we know that it’s the best way into the mind. Just like Connie, the lead character, we believe that you can make a difference once you get inside. This is Termite Art. This is entertainment that rockets you to another world and sends you back home with a postcard. Seeing it in a dark room with loudspeakers (our score is incredible by the way, we have no shame in boasting—projectionists, play it loud!) and with as many people as possible is the best way to be thrilled. See it to believe it.

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