One of Gothamist's favorite movie columnists, Jeffrey Wells at Movie Poop Shoot, went to the Santa Barbara Film Festival and comes back with an interesting take on three of the discussion panels he attended (about screenwriting, directing, and producing). He notes an excellent exchange about the brilliant Reese Witherspoon-Matthew Broderick film, Election, during a panel about producing, which included producers of 21 Grams, Monster, Lord of the Rings, The Station Agent, and Cold Mountain, moderated by Variety's editor in chief, Peter Bart:

Bart knows just how to moderate these things. He jumps right in and sasses everything up and sort-of goads the panelists into talking straight and spilling the beans, mainly by setting an example.

When [Cold Mountain producer Albert] Berger referred to Paramount's distribution of ELECTION, which Berger and six others produced (or exec produced), Bart said ELECTION was one of the worst marketed films ever. "But Paramount did produce it," Berger said, to which Bart replied, "Accidents happen."

[Monster producer Clark] Peterson half-scored when he said "if you want to get into the movie business but you don't have any special talent or ability, become a producer."

Our votes for the worst marketed studio films in recent history go to L.A. Confidential, Rushmore, and The Good Thief. Gothamist, in pre-Gothamist days, once wrote to Jeffrey Wells (in his pre-Movie Poop Shoot days) about Andrew Sarris, our favorite film critic.