Hey folks, Harry here with the fearsome gargantuan known as Quint. He's chiming in with his take on the line up at BNAT this year, and ya know... Sounds like it was a lot of fun! We'll have to check it out and see some time. Here ya go.....
Ahoy once more, squirties. 'Tis I, the resident crusty seaman (with a butt that's just finally starting to get back its circulation), Quint, here with yet another view of this year's Butt-Numb-A-Thon. I wasn't going to write a wrap-up of the event as there were already a good amount finding their way onto the site, but Harry asked me to and how could I deny him after he gave me such an amazing festival?
FIEND WITHOUT A FACE- In the great tradition of Plan 9 from BNAT1 and Destination Mars from BNAT 2, we have the killer brain movie to kick off the fest. Not only had I seen the flick before, but I had seen that print as it belonged to Harry. Great, cheeseball fun with some really cool monster designs.
SHORTS- Two badass shorts played as the bridge between Fiend Without A Face and The Majestic. The first a weird CG short with cameo voices out the whazoo. It was about a young, fat boy whose only friend is a brain in a jar. I don't remember the title... Melvin's Brain or something similar. The second short was that great Mickey Mouse short that played before some Disney flick in the late '80s/early '90s (I'm thinking Roger Rabbit or one of the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids movies) called Runaway Brain. Add a bunch of great trailers and TV spots and you have a great lead in to...
THE MAJESTIC- Was introduced by Moriarty and then by Frank Darabont himself... via videotape. Frank was all over the place, walking around the studio, going off subject to geek out about "That door... That's the door Porky Pig used...." and various other tangents that showed us, the loyal Butt-Numb-A-Thon-ers, that Frank was one of us, Google-Goggle Google-Goggle, a geek of the highest order. A movie lover.
I loved The Majestic. Jim Carrey proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that he can shape a character without falling back on his natural slapstick talents. He's never really done that before. Both The Truman Show and Man on the Moon have undeniable "Carrey Moments" or gags or jokes or expressions. Man on the Moon is the closest he's come to this kind of role, but in the end he was playing a character that was safe. Andy Kaufman already existed. His character in Majestic, however, is completely his own.
Yes, the movie is very Frank Capra. Every review I've read and everybody I've talked to about the film bring up the fact that The Majestic feels like a Capra film. They're right. If you laugh at the end of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington then don't go see this movie. We don't want you there. If you appreciate the beauty, the goodness and strength of the human spirit showcased in those films, then The Majestic will melt your heart.
Before I move on, I have to bring up the color of the film. BEAUTIFUL! BRIGHT! Amazing use of color in the film. Way too vibrant. The print was brand new, right out of the lab, but that can't account for the brightness to the color, could it? I'm sure the film must have been printed in IB Technicolor. Those who deal with film know how great that is. You can't get any better color. It makes movies like The Majestic seem like a moving water color or painting. You can't beat that. If it's not an IB Tech print, then they faked it extremely well.
BUBBA HO-TEP CLIPS- I had been trying to get Don "Phantasm" Coscarelli's Bubba Ho-Tep for BNAT this year. It almost happened, but by the time BNAT rolled around it just wasn't ready. Don didn't want to leave us geeks out in the cold, so he went way out of his way to cut a special BNAT exclusive trailer of sorts that showcased Bruce Campbell as a geriatric Elvis, Ossie Davis as a senile old black man who thinks he's JFK and that soul sucking sonuvabitchin' mummy, Bubba Ho-Tep. The audience roared throughout the clip. Who wouldn't laugh at Bruce, in his Elvis southern' drawl, talking about having a growth on his pecker? I've got my eye on this project, squirts. I'll keep you folks updated on its adventures finding a distributor.
DOUBLE FEATURE: ROCK ALL NIGHT- This is probably the movie of the fest for me. Rock All Night is a Roger Corman produced '60s rock and roll flick featuring music from The Blockbusters and The Platters. Now, as much as I like me my golden oldies, the musical numbers were my least favorite part of the film. The first five minutes was almost only footage of The Platters doing a few numbers to a roomful of dancing teens. It's not bad, mind you, just not an indicator of what was to come, not part of the story.
We are introduced to Dick Miller (aka the coolest fucking character actor ever!) in a role that showcased Miller in a way I've never seen before. You know Dick Miller whether you recognize the name or not. The original Little Shop of Horrors (he was the flower muncher), Bucket of Blood, Terminator (Miller was the owner of the gunshop... Miller: "Hey, you can't do that!" Arnold: "Wrong." BOOM), Gremlins ("Damn foreign cars.") and every other Joe Dante movie ever made. I've been a huge fan of Miller's forever, but I don't think I'd ever seen him in anything but a supporting character role before Rock All Night.
He's an angry little man with a sharp tongue and heavy, fast fists. He ends up in a smalltime bar with a few different characters: A wannabe singer, the cranky bartender, an up and coming boxer sitting at a table with his worried, loving wife on one side and his manager with bright, shiny dollar signs in his eyes on the other... then there's the big guy with an "I'm as tough as nails and I'll kill you if you look at me wrong" demeanor with his drunk wife with a big mouth who's always trying to get her husband into a fight and a low on the rung newspaper reporter looking for a story.
Take all those people, then force them all into a stressful situation. In this case, the Professor from Gilligan's Island comes in with his crone after a robbery went wrong. They take the whole place hostage and then the drama starts. Dick Miller shines in this film. He calls everything like he sees it. He might sound like a dick when insulting the other people, but you soon find out he sees beyond the surface act that everybody in the bar (including the Professor) has put up. If you can find this film, I urge you to watch it. It's worth the search.
After Rock All Night ended we jumped right into another totally different film. Why? Well, the end of Rock All Night sees Dick Miller taking a date to see a film. What film do they end up seeing? The second part of this double feature is that film:
KING KONG- Timeless. Classic. What is there to say about King Kong that hasn't already been said by people with a much better grasp on writing than myself? The only thing I'll bring up is the print... Beautiful 16mm master print from a Universal archive. I've seen King Kong quite a few times, but I was seeing things in this print I've never noticed before. Fay Wray's... dresses were amazing. You could see the ridges in the fabric and just about every curve and nuance of her body. Luscious. The print was amazing, crystal clear and with almost no scratches.
VANILLA SKY- I've never seen the original. I am going to watch it next month when it's playing at The Alamo Drafthouse, but as of the first viewing of this film the story was all new to me. I had no idea what to expect and wasn't really prepared for where the movie took me. As a result, I dug the hell out of the movie. I can understand those who aren't as thrilled with the flick as I am, but it worked completely for me.
I've never really found Penelope Cruz attractive... at least not until this film. She's still not tops in my spank-bank files, but she just radiates pure love to such a degree that I couldn't help falling for her a bit in this movie. Cameron Diaz is radiant and creepy. Kurt Russell rocks! I'm so glad he's back in a great role. I always smiled when he came on screen. Kurt! Get back with John Carpenter! You two need each other! Tom Cruise... is Tom Cruise. And it works perfectly for his character. The make-up is incredible, the mindfuck is pulled of terrifically and Cameron Crowe is still proving himself as one of the best directors working in Hollywood.
CABIN IN THE SKY- This film lost a lot of the audience. Screw 'em! This was a great film, one of the first all black cast films. It's about good and evil. The Devil's Son and a core group of angels fight over the soul of one man. He's got a good heart, but he doesn't go to church and can't resist gambling, which is ruining him and his wife. She loves him more than anything in the world and is trying to put him on the right path and he's trying with all his might to stay on that path for her. Cabin in the Sky is a musical and a very good one. It doesn't have the most memorable songs or tunes, but it has a great story and some amazing, unforgettable and complex characters.
Unfortunately, this film is deemed racist by quite a few. Obviously they didn't really watch the film. There is no reference to fried chicken, watermelon, big jugs labeled XXX, lazy blacks... But the film's leads are poor and don't have electricity. Nevermind that the film was made in the '30s and set in the poor south. Also it shows black men gambling! How racist! The film deals with good, evil and temptation. Some people seem to focus only on the bad characters and the temptation, completely forgetting about the characters who show the ideal human kindness and goodness.
BLOOD FEAST 2- Good God... the gore... the comedy (both intentional and not)... the boobies... H. G. Lewis's first film in 30 years turns out to be my favorite film he's done. The man behind Wizard of Gore and the original gore film Blood Feast returns with this sequel about the grandson of villain of the first film who falls under the same spell of the goddess Ishtar that his grandfather did and starts building up a feast for the goddess WITH HUMAN FLESH. Goofy, gory... it's what's good in life. You know if you like this kind of film or not. No one who doesn't like fun gore flicks is gonna like this film. If you're one of those people, don't bother... Not like you needed to be told by me. Apparently HG Lewis has signed a 5 picture deal, so we gorehounds have something to celebrate.
REVENGE OF THE JEDI TRAILER- My other contribution to this year's BNAT. As a 35mm and 16mm collector, I was delighted when I got this trailer a mere 2 days before BNAT. In it's 35mm scope glory it played for the audience and everybody roared. Not only did we get the title Revenge of the Jedi, but we also get a glimpse of the sandstorm scene which was cut out of the movie. Lotsa fun. I'm glad people liked it.
TERROR IN TINY TOWN- Midgets... Old West. Penguin in the barbershop. Brilliant!
SALOME- Peter Jackson's BNAT exclusive intro to his recreation of the lost masterpiece, Salome, really set the tone. From what I have gathered after the screening, Jackson filmed Salome simultaneously with LOTR and plans to premiere it at Cannes next year. The print he showed needs a little work to dirty it up a bit, but in terms of performance and editing he captured the feel of silent film. It was also fun to spot some of the lesser LOTR cast members in small roles. Orlando Bloom's cameo is going to knock you folks for a loop when you see it. Overall, I was very disappointed he couldn't talk New Line into giving us Fellowship, but I can't really complain. I got to see Salome almost a year before most... and who could forget that tracking shot!
That's about it from me, squirts. There's BNAT in a nutshell. Overall, I think Harry outdid himself in programming a terrific film festival, balancing new films with classics and forgotten classics with masterful touch. I for one, can't wait for next December!
email: Click here to mail me how badly I suck in comparison to the lovely lass below!!!!!
Now I turn you over to the Heave in Quint's Ho, the tail that he hooks, the jaws that he parts, that's right, I'm talking about Auntie Meat, that lovely lass with more than just a fine ass. Here ya go....
Hola all! Quint's mermaid hussy, Auntie Meat here chiming in on the wonder and joy that was Butt-Numb-A-Thon 3. I came in not knowing what to expect. I was leaving my full trust in Harry's hands, which is a frightening thing to do, especially if you know that man's love for total control over people in general, not to mention nubile young women.
As opposed to last year, I got a decent amount of sleep the night prior, so I had hope for keeping fully awake and sane during the 24-hour onslaught to come. It was time for the party to begin.
FIEND WITHOUT A FACE was the first film shown, in the grand tradition of BNATs' first films past being 50s sci-fi thrillers. Made in 1958, it's the typical teenage-frightening, brain-eating invisible monsters produced in conjunction with a wacky scientist and the evil American military 's atomic testing which are unleashed upon unsuspecting, simple-minded, rural Canuck country yokels-type of movie. Yeah, I dug the hell out of it. Classic fun and suspense. I can never hate, much less dislike movies like this one. Old-school Twilight Zone addictions during childhood gave me an affinity for the ancient art of sci-fi fright. This movie is definitely an awesome example of the genre, and Harry got the fest off to a great start with it.
The next film up is Darabont's latest, and one of my tops of the day, THE MAJESTIC. First off, I love Jim Carrey. I remember being in elementary school and laughing my ass off at him in episodes of In Living Color, and my elation at age 12 when I discovered he was in a movie coming out in a theater near me called ACE VENTURA. Hell, what 12-year old didn't dig that movie? Since then, I've watched his roles pleasantly evolve and have seldom been let down from what I expect of him. He is fantastic in this film. He leaves behind all his comedy, and is the straight, passionate, tragic hero of the film. He very well could be the new Jimmy Stuart, though no one can surpass the original. Now, Darabont - I love the man. SHAWSHANK gave me a shot of brightness a few years after it was released, when I finally got around to seeing it in the midst of living in a deep, deep depression. When I started seeing the trailers for this movie, I knew he had done it again. It's his love letter to film and the experience of watching it in a social environment. Sure, people complain that it's emotionally manipulative, but fuck it. I don't mind. I personally believe you should let yourself get engulfed in the film, live that person's life for a few short hours, and run the gambit the protagonist does. Sitting on the sidelines watching is not how I like to do it... I like to get into the action myself, and just let the film take me where it will. With this movie, I laughed, I cried, I loved, I lost.... I felt hope. And that seems to be the underlying current in all of Darabont's films, and that's probably why I love them so much. Never underestimate the power of holding onto hope. I personally can't wait for the man to take on one of my top 3 books of all time with his next project. If there is one man that I'd trust to make the Guy Montag of my imagination come to life properly onscreen, it is he.
Next up was ROCK ALL NIGHT, a Corman film starring the awesome (yet underused in most films) Dick Miller. He's been a badass in my book since I was a wee child watching him get mowed down by heavy machinery in GREMLINS. But it was amazing to witness his earlier work, to see that he was a bit more appreciated back in the day. ROCK ALL NIGHT also features Russell Johnson, better known as a certain Professor on a TV island back in the 60s, as well as heavy doses of music from The Blockbusters and The Platters. It was great to see the Professor as a killer holed up in a bar in a standoff with police, as well as Dick Miller being the one man in there with enough gall to stand up to him. Great film from Harry's collection.
After that came the grandaddy of them all, an absolutely gorgeous print of KING KONG. Now, if I have to explain KING KONG to anyone, I'll personally come to your house and smack you around with a large trout. This is one of those films that no-one can be a complete movie-geek without seeing at least once in a lifetime. Can't wait for the DVD... ahhh...
Vanilla Sky was shown afterward, and screw the hippies that it didn't quite gel for... I dug the hell out of it. I like a nice mindfuck every once in a while. Now, I've never seen the original, but I fully plan on hunting it down now. As far as this version's performances go, Tom Cruise puts in an always-reliable Tom Cruise performance, Diaz is dead on (no pun intended) as the jealous homicidal casual sexmate, and I actually could see some of the attraction people have for Penelope Cruz. She didn't come off as a bitch or primadonna who looked like a starving 12-year old little kid. She seemed more a healthy, happy, bubbly, energetic, cute lil' lady. Jason Lee is as awesome as he always is and always will be, especially in his Brodie getup. And KURT FUCKING RUSSELL!!! AH-HAA!! Finally! Someone big is giving him a little help in resurrecting his career after SOLDIER wiped it from the face of the earth. He's great as the middle-aged father-figure trying to help out Cruise through the ordeals he's facing, and damn... ohhh... so great to see him again in a good role, no matter how small. Go Kurt! One of many fading childhood film heros who seems to be on the road to recovery! Woohoo!!
A lovely film called CABIN IN THE SKY followed. I loved it. I know a lot of people are turned off by musicals, or morality tales, or ones that project what they see as a racial stereotype in this modern, politically-correct, educated country, but I saw it as a piece of history. It was only the second all-black cast to make a motion picture, and it portrayed life as it truly was. People were poor and struggled often between their faith which they fully believed in and the evils of the world like gambling and prostitutes. Both cost money which they didn't have in the first place, and they knew they shouldn't be spreading it around like that, but habits are hard to break, no matter race or creed one is. This film showed the struggle of the common man to do right by the woman he loved, and who loved him, and the obstacles that often appeared on their road to happiness. Now, the music. Oh, the music! Ah! I loved it so! Old soul and my beloved jazz, performed by Louis Armstrong himself, who also played played a bit part. Utter heaven!
Now for the movie you've all been waiting for! BLOODFEAST 2: ALL YOU CAN EAT! I am a whore for many types of film, and many actors as well, but one of the biggest genres I love is Exploitation. After a year or so of being a regular at the Drafthouse, I've developed a deep love for the nastiness of it all. This is one of the best I've seen in a long time. From the over-the-top acting, to the massive gore, to the sexual and homosexual overtones, and the cannibalism! So great! Almost as great as Shaolin kung fu! H. G. Lewis is a god of gore, and from what I've heard from people who have seen the original, this tops it all. Come on... "Cum Broulee"! It's brilliant! If this doesn't get distribution of some sort, I'll have to hurt some people very badly... then sacrifice them to appease the wrath of the great goddess Ishtar! All hail Ishtar!!
I believe around this time was breakfast, and that was my cue to suck down about 3 Red Bulls, stuff my face, and take about a 15 minute snooze in order to prepare myself for... TERROR IN TINY TOWN! A midget western. With random penguins thrown in here and there. Honestly, can it get any better? Bad midget causes trouble he wants to cover up, kills midget that could tell the whole story, tries to frame good midget who also knows of his evil deeds, tries to steal good midget's gal, and it all climaxes with a fist fight between the good and the bad. Perfect movie to show after 22 hours of consciousness. The topper was bringing out on of the men that acted in the movie. Old enough to be my grandpa, the man was, and in damn fine shape. A great character too. Coolest guest ever, Harry. It really gave me the extra boost of energy I would need to get through the next epic.
To my elation, what appears before my eyes on the screen? None other than Peter Jackson, the man, the myth, the genius, speaking to us live at BNAT via a satellite uplink and Harry's cell phone. He informed us that we were supposed to at least see the Cannes footage of LORD OF THE RINGS, but shipping difficulties arose at the last minute. So what he sent instead was a lost silent film he had discovered entitled SOLOME, which he has made a documentary on. Some people claim it's a mocumentary, but Peter let us know that the joke he was pulling was on those poor fools who believed it was fake. (And because of some strange desire to keep the joke a secret still, some people writing up reviews are claiming to have seen STUNT ROCK instead... when we only saw the trailer for what must be a fantastic stunt and rock spectacular). SOLOME is a piece of film history. 3 hours into it is the first known use of the tracking shot, and I tell you, it was amazing to witness that snippet of legend! I myself adore Roman history, and it surprised me to see a movie from the 20s (or perhaps earlier) which contained such accuracy to the true history of the Empire. And as far as the actors went, I knew none of them, though I think I caught a glimpse of Orlando Bloom's great-grandfather in the film. I know there was a Bloom in the credits, anyway. And they sure looked similar. Peter, you rock the monkey's ass!
I feel very special to have attended this event for the past 2 years, seeing all these screen gems that are almost lost to society in general, not to mention getting to watch it with this type of crowd. Thank you for throwing such a great bash, Harry, and Happy Birthday. Thank you Quint for being awesome like you are and giving me the extra ticket you had. Thank you everyone from in and out of town that attended and made the experience as memorable and great as it could ever had been. And thank you to the filmmakers, without whom this event could never be possible. Can't wait to see what's cooked up for next year.
I'll catch all you crazy kids later. Adios!