Fog City Mavericks



9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24

It's a bit of a stretch to lump together the artists talked about here -- Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Clint Eastwood, Chris Columbus, producer Saul Zaentz and writer-director-producer John Lasseter -- and call them San Francisco filmmakers, or as the title of this documentary has it, "Fog City Mavericks." But that's OK; the strangest of bedfellows often find themselves joined, and all in the name of looking for myth and an easier way to understand history. But Columbus a maverick? Hardly.

This docu is mesmerizing in its myth-making instincts and capabilities. But it also is good at stretching things. Yes, we know Coppola and Lucas as Northern California filmmakers, but Eastwood is harder to pin down. And that's just for starters.

According to this entertaining docu, San Francisco is symbolic of maverick tendencies in all the artists it has nurtured through the past two centuries. This is true. It also attempts to make a strong case for San Francisco being its own kind of filmmaking mecca. The argument-making process is ever fascinating -- as long as people don't question its finer points.