Poor Mr. Brotato Head. Harry had a ton of fun tormenting this poor guy for a week or so before BNAT, but he got in and from the looks of things had a truly amazing time. Sharing BNAT with new blood is a whole lot of fun - contrary to popular belief BNAT has a ton of new people who come every year. Sure, there are the regulars, but they prove their devotion to the whole thing by jumping through all the hoops, and even then they don't come every year. Sometimes life gets in the way. But for the people willing to try and who end up going, BNAT becomes a truly transformative experience and I'm very happy that Mr. Brotato Head got in. Here's his report:
How I Spent My Butt-Numb-A-Thon Vacation
By: Wesley Dodd
You don’t know what ya got ‘till it’s gone. This is a familiar saying that was all too true for me for the entire month of November of 2011. You see, as October of this year came to an end, I was in an interesting position. It was one year after I had been accepted into my very first Butt-Numb-A-Thon, and my spirits were high. I was ready for a second go around. Feeling like a pro, I filled out the application, pouring my heart and soul into each and every response. I donned a pink, spotted bathrobe and unleashed an ode to the heavens as I belted out the lyrics to an old Enjoli perfume advertisement. “I’m a woman!” I shouted, posting the comical results to the wide audience only available on Youtube. I slapped a cheap pair of fangs to my teeth, and re-enacted Michael J. Fox’s “legendary” transformation into his hairy alter-ego, having several glamour shots taken of me in this compromising position. Was I ashamed? Not in the slightest. This was for a good cause… the best cause. These hoops I was jumping through were my qualifiers for that one day a year when film geeks travel from all over the world, congregating at the Mecca of geekdom known as Butt-Numb-A-Thon.
For the uninitiated, Butt-Numb-A-Thon (BNAT for short) is an annual film festival that shakes the foundations of cinematic culture, assaulting its audience with twenty-four (or more…) straight hours of film. The lineup always consists of a mix of unreleased and vintage films, programmed by the enthusiastic, brilliant, slightly sinister master of ceremonies himself, one Harry Knowles. Harry has 100% creative control over the event, because… well… it is his birthday. The man celebrates his special day every year by inviting a very select few to spend an entire day inside the walls of the glorious Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas, submitting them to a barrage of film that often defies description. A mix of art, controversy and fun, the BNAT lineups are a mystery to all but the man in charge before the lights go down, as the audience blindly settles in for the ride.
For years, I read about these epic events on the very website before your eyes, taking in all of the emotion that the spectacle seemed to draw from those who were fortunate enough to attend. (For the full details of my personal history with the event, feel free to dig up my article from last year, where I take you through every meticulous detail of my relationship with BNAT. Fair warning… it is long.) Last year, I was fortunate enough to make the cut as one of THE DIRTY DOZENTH, enlisted in the ranks of Mandom at Butt-Numb-A-Thon 12. This all brings us back to the end of October, when I submitted my application for the thirteenth iteration of the event, known as BNAT13WOLF (Pronounced B-Gnat Thir TEEN WOLF. Get it?). I was confident. I was proud. I was sure that I would once again walk the halls of the Drafthouse with the geek-elite, drinking in a night of escapism unlike any other.
As it turns out, I was wrong. (Kind of.)
I did not make the cut. When the first week of November rolled around, my name was not anywhere to be found on the list. At first, I was crushed. Last year’s event had reinvigorated my love of the majesty of cinema. My eyes had been opened to the possibilities of a genuine cinematic EVENT, and now I was finding out that I would not be able to attend. Then a few weeks passed, and I was no longer crushed. I was now completely, and totally, devastated. The phrase that I used at the beginning of this article raced through my mind. I had no idea what I had had until I lost it. I had taken my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at BNAT for granted, arrogantly assuming that I would get another chance. I had not dived completely into the BNAT experience, thinking that I would make time for that during later visits. As it turns out, no second visit is ever a guarantee, and I was living proof. As the event raced toward me, I wondered if I should take a gamble and travel to Austin for the stand-by line, taking my chances with the rest of the hopefuls. I wondered if I should launch a petition… a letter-writing campaign… or simply weep at the door of Casa de Knowles until I was either given a spot or arrested. I did not know what I was going to do. All I knew was that not attending this year’s BNAT was not an option. I had to be there.
So, what happened? Well… long story short, I got in. The details of how this came to be can be found over the course of a month’s worth of Twitter interactions between myself and various folks, specifically the man in charge. Truth be told, I am still not really sure what I did to deserve the spot. Whether I was a recipient of a genuine Geek Christmas Miracle ™ or simply extremely lucky, I found out a mere five days prior to the big show that I was in the door, and was ecstatic beyond belief. Though the road was filled with unexpected pitfalls and obstacles, I was once again racing toward my objective.
I am sure the majority of those reading are beginning to wonder if any actual descriptions of the films are forthcoming in this article, and I promise you that they are. However, I felt the need to tell this personal tale for one particular reason. If at any point during the description of these mythical twenty-four hours of bliss I come across as ecstatic, giddy, enthusiastic, excited, elated and/or a bit crazy, the previous few paragraphs tell you why. I was happy, honored, and privileged to be a part of the BNAT13WOLF audience this year, and still am. As I write about the films that we saw within the walls of the Drafthouse, I may gush a bit. I may gush a lot! I am still wrapping my head around the fact that I was there. It does not even feel real. I know that some will say that my opinions are not valid because of the way in which I viewed the films. And, you know what? If you feel that way, then that is just fine! I am not a professional film critic. Take my opinions for what they are. I am merely a lucky, enthusiastic fan who wandered into Austin, Texas to watch some pretty great movies, and now I want to tell you about them. Take this for what it is, my friends. This is a peek behind the curtain. This is a descent into madness. This… is BNAT13WOLF.
Prelude- Before the first film ran, the audience was treated to a video from Ain’t It Cool News writer Quint, who was unable to attend this year’s event due to his obligations in Middle Eart… er, I mean, New Zealand. He took Harry and the rest of the BNATers on a tour of the set of THE HOBBIT, checking in with such fine folks as Peter Jackson (!!!), Orlando Bloom, and Andy Serkis. All wished Harry a happy birthday, while us geeks a look at one of the most anticipated films… well… ever. During Quint’s sign off, Peter Jackson brought Gandalf the Grey to Quint’s side, as the three of them discussed Quint’s predicament. He was in New Zealand. Harry and BNAT were in Austin. There was just no way for Quint to get to the Drafthouse in time for Harry’s birthday bash. Well, as it turns out, no one was factoring magic into the equation. With a wave of his staff, Gandalf caused Quint to disappear, and in a PUFF OF SMOKE… Quint walked into theater #1 of the Alamo Drafthouse. Peter Jackson and Gandalf observed the results of the wizard’s magic. Satisfied, Peter wandered off, leaving Gandalf to deliver a very special message to those in attendance. You see, Gandalf did not send Quint back to Austin empty-handed. In Quint’s bag was a hard drive, a pretty advanced form of equipment for Middle-Earth. And on that hard drive?
THE HOBBIT teaser trailer. Yes. That.
In possibly my favorite moment of the entire event, Quint looked to the audience, and asked if there were any among us who would carry the burden of this trailer deep into the heart of the projection booth. BNATer Elijah Wood leapt to his feet, and, channeling Frodo Baggins, shouted “I Will Take It!” As he joyfully bounded down the steps to retrieve his precious, I could not contain my excitement. BNAT was officially underway.
So, how was that trailer? Well, technical difficulties prevented it from being played right away. Apparently, ancient magic and modern technology do not mix. Do not fear, though. It will show up later.
Film #1- HUGO – Hugo may very well be the best film of 2011. I actually saw HUGO a week prior to Butt-Numb-A-Thon, and was completely blown away. This is a film that is simply magical! I challenge anyone to watch Hugo and not have to fight back a smile at some point during the process. I actually attempted to write up a review for this film after my first viewing, and I just could not find the words. To me, it would be like trying to describe that warm fuzzy feeling that you get on Christmas morning. The magic that Scorsese captures in each and every frame of this film defies description. In a sense, it defies criticism. The sense of wonder on display here is without parallel. This is an optimistic film in a pessimistic time, hearkening back to a time when movies were fun, innocent, and mysterious. There is a mythical factor involved in moviemaking that is sometimes lost in today’s world of cookie-cutter award grabbers and over the top summer blockbusters, and those involved in the making of Hugo seem intent on bottling that up in this one masterful feature. I love HUGO. I know I have spent absolutely zero time discussing any of the plot points, mechanics, or performances on display throughout the film, and that is by design. My dream is that everyone will stumble into this blind, and let the filmmakers carry them through a fantastic journey. (To give you an idea of how little I knew of this film prior to my first viewing, I will tell a short tale. I intentionally avoided trailers, descriptions, and even one-sheets for this film, knowing ahead of time that I planned on seeing it and not wanting anything spoiled. The only thing I had seen was a standee in my local theater, with a picture of a heart-shaped key. Based on that image alone, my wacky mind somehow came to the conclusion that the film was animated. I did not know any differently until the film began. Imagine my surprise… Oh, and uh, SPOILER… it is a live action film. )
As a side-note, I know that a lot of people are upset, confused or otherwise that Harry included a film that is currently in the midst of its initial theatrical run in BNAT. To that I say… well… get over it. This film set the perfect tone for the rest of the event, establishing a sense of fun and adventure that was a recurring theme throughout the next eleven films. Actually, prior to the event starting, I was having a discussion with one of the wonderful members of the BNAT audience (SHOUT OUT TO BEN THE DRUMMER!!!!), and we each expressed our desire that HUGO had been a Christmas release just so that we could have seen the film at Butt-Numb-A-Thon. Well, it appears that wishes are granted, even outside of the wondrous world of HUGO. Sometimes, the films that are seen within the walls of the Drafthouse during BNAT are seen many months in advance, and those of us lucky enough to attend have to try to keep a secret until they receive a wide release. Such is not the case with this film. The secret is out. If you have not seen HUGO, stop reading this and go see it. I have a hard time imagining that you will be disappointed.
Film #2- LE VOYAGE DANS LA LUNE (A TRIP TO THE MOON) – This is a classic film coming straight from the days of silent filmmaking, and was programmed as part of a double feature with HUGO. In the interest of keeping that previous film unspoiled, I cannot say how the two are linked. But, know this… watching this film directly after HUGO is a necessary experience for everyone who loves movies. I am hopeful that whoever is in charge of putting together the extras on the eventual Hugo bluray includes this as an extra, so that everyone can know that joy. However, there is no way that they will include the extra special gift that the BNAT 13 audience received, which was an original composition performed by Graham Reynolds… LIVE IN THE DRAFTHOUSE! The added score matched the events of this classic short film perfectly, providing a whole new layer for those who had somehow already seen the film. I feel that many reading who do not recognize the name of the film probably have some passing knowledge of LE VOYAGE DANS LA LUNE, whether they realize it or not. The predominant imagery that stuck out to me was a rocket crashing into the eye of the man on the moon, a picture I have come across several times in my life. This was certainly a fun bonus for the audience, and a special treat to those who wanted more HUGO as soon as the ending credits rolled. And, to Graham Reynolds… you are a gentleman and a scholar. Fantastic job, sir!
Film #3- JUST IMAGINE – This is the best comedy that I have seen in years. Perhaps unintentionally, but the best nonetheless. This bizarre little film is a science fiction musical made in the 1930s, about the far-off future world of the 1980s. Better yet, this is not the 1980s that most of those reading grew up in, but a version of the 80s imagined by those living in the 30s! Are you still following me? Great! So, in this version of the 1980s, the world was ideologically… well… a lot like the 1930s! In short, the 1980s were apparently destined to be a white man’s world. There is very little evidence in the film that the civil rights movement ever happened, as I do not think I saw anyone who was not white at any point in the film. Women’s rights are also nowhere to be found, as women in the film are merely told who to marry by some sort of omnipotent council… or… something. Also, gone are names, replaced by serial codes and numbers. Hilariously, I swear that one character’s “name” was MP3. If it was not, please do not correct me, as I found this endlessly entertaining. Also present are familiar science fiction elements, such as meals in pill form, video phones (THE FUTURE!) and flying cars.
(A note on the flying cars- These are not typical, Jetson-esque flying cars that just hover in the air. Instead, everyone travels in mini-airplanes, complete with propellers. I cannot explain how funny this was, especially when two lovers meet in the air to exchange a chat while sitting on the wings of their plane-car-thingies. Awesome.)
Anyway, let’s get to the important part of this film, which is the EPIC PLOT. So, two men (R2D2 and 3PO, I think they were called…) both fall in love with the same woman (Apple 2), and are sent to the courts to decide who can have her hand in marriage. The bad one is chosen, and so the good one decides that the only way to overturn the court’s decision is to TRAVEL TO MARS to show what a manly man he is. Seriously. And then people sing about it, in some of the weirdest musical pieces that I have ever experienced. Apparently, in the 1980s conceived in the 1930s, all singers are crooning away like Sinatra knockoffs, while also planning miraculous space voyages to MARS to convince the courts to let them marry the woman of their dreams! Still with me? Because, there is MORE! So, when R2, MP3 and Double O (Did I mention Double O? He is a drunkard from the 30s who died via lightening strike and is brought back to life at the start of the film to provide comedic relief. Because, apparently this film needed comedic relief.) travel to Mars, they discover that the planet is ruled by crazy women and guards who may or may not have been a part of the tag team Demolition in the WWF. Anyway, all the guys bathe together, the guard falls in love with Double O, people sing, and then they all travel back to Earth. Somehow, this convinces the courts that R2 and Apple 2 are meant to be together, and everyone lives happily ever after. Especially me, because this film was AMAZING! Correction- the film was HORRID, but the experience was amazing. I laughed until I cried, cried because it was still playing, and then laughed some more. This is the kind of film that BNAT exists for, as I would have never seen this without it. The crowd ate it up, and made this a memorable component of the BNAT13WOLF lineup.
Film #4- TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY – If I had to summarize this film in one word, it would be this; DENSE. There is A LOT going on in this movie. If complicated, realistic spy movies are your bag, you are going to have a blast with this. On first viewing, I found myself following the broad strokes, but missing many of the finer points of the film. Personally, I love that. This is a movie that DEMANDS to be watched over and over, if only to truly understand what happens! I love films that are built to be taken in over and over again, while giving you something new to chew on each and every time. Though I cannot give a great description as to what happened (more appropriately, what I THINK happened), I can say that this is a film built on the backs of its performers. Gary Oldman, an actor who oftentimes steals the show from the sidelines, is front and center this time around and is simply masterful in this movie. He had me hooked, even when the dialogue he was speaking sounded like another language because I was playing catch-up on the plot. I enjoyed this film, but do not put it anywhere near the top of my list, simply because I think it went over my head. I fully expect to enjoy it more and more each time I watch it, and find that to be an endearing quality for this particular piece.
After the film, the Drafthouse staff handed out a little brochure that listed many of the characters in the film, their relationships to each other, and provided definitions of some of the lingo and jargon spoken by the characters throughout. I think this should be a mandatory handout at every screening of the film. Seriously. I would have loved to have had a few minutes to look over this before the film began!
Film #5- SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS – Apparently, there is a lot of controversy surrounding Guy Ritchie and his direction for this franchise. Well, then let me say this- if you hated the first film, do yourself a favor and stay far, far away from this one. However, if you are like me, and enjoyed your Sherlock Holmes with a side of witty Robert Downey Jr., then step right up! This is the film for you! Sherlock II does not reinvent the wheel. In fact, this is a film that does very little new. But what it does, it does very well! The polar opposite of the previous film, this is a mystery film that is coated in sugar, sliding right down the proverbial throats of the audience. The pieces are all right there on the screen, and it is very simple to follow this tale to its conclusion without missing any of the beats. The action is intense. The humor is spot-on. The villain is GENIUS, played to perfection by series newcomer Jared Harris, who brings Moriarity to a new generation of filmgoers. In writing about it, I find that I have very little to say, which may speak to the nature of the film. It is a blockbuster. There is not a whole lot here to analyze and critique. Apparently, this is a problem for some, who desire a more traditional mind-bender out of the Sherlock Holmes franchise. And hey, that is cool, but this is not that film. If you are able to put aside any expectations and come into the film simply looking for a FUN adventure, I do not see too many folks walking away disappointed. I fully intend to see this film again upon its official release, and thus consider this to be a success!
Film #6- THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS – I was way more excited to see this film than I probably had any right to be, and was thus a bit disappointed with the results. But, that title… THAT TITLE… brings to mind images that promise to thrill and chill! As it turned out, this was pretty generic fare, highlighted by an absolutely stellar performance by Peter Lorre as a crazed astronomer who, if I was to guess, knows nothing about the planets and their relationship with one another, and knows a heck of a lot more about being creepy, drooling on himself, and staring through other people’s bedroom windows. This reminded me of a film that I would discover on a lazy Saturday afternoon, while channel surfing for something to nap to. There is nothing wrong with it, but it was just kind of there for me. Maybe it is because I prefer terrifying old man Vincent Price to young, dashing Vincent Price. I really cannot put my finger on exactly why this did not click for me, but alas, this particular entry falls into the “forgettable” category.
Film #7- THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN- Now, this… THIS… THIS is what I am talking about. I absolutely adored this movie. I feel that Steven Spielberg is at his very best when he is telling adventure stories, and this is an adventure to rival them all. Now, as a sheltered American, I am completely unfamiliar with the history of this character and his antics within his native medium. I went into this film a blank slate, and allowed the filmmakers to tell their tale in the way they saw fit, and came away all the better for it. The action in this film is sweeping, vast, and gorgeous. There is a chase sequence… Oh my goodness, is there ever a chase sequence… that blew the audience’s collective mind. In fact, it caused a spontaneous round of applause. It was breathtaking and beautiful. And that is just a tiny chunk of the film. The dialogue is sharp. The animation is stunning. From the moment I heard that Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson were collaborating, I knew that I needed to see the final product. When Harry asked what three unreleased films we hoped to see at BNAT13WOLF, TINTIN was the very first film that came to mind. I am actually quite shocked that there was not more geek love for this film afterward. I hope I am not in the minority on this one, but I am genuinely excited to experience this film again, and greatly anticipate whatever Mr. Jackson has planned for his follow-up.
I should also note that it was prior to this film that we FINALLY laid eyes on the first official trailer for THE HOBBIT. I am not really allowed to discuss the contents of the trailer but I can say that it was REDACTED. In fact, it was so REDACTED that we watched it three times in a row. I would have literally watched this trailer for the rest of BNAT and been nearly as happy, which should go a long way towards telling exactly how REDACTED it was. This will be attached to TINTIN upon its release, which should make for a nice little visit to the theater, if I do say so myself.
Film #8- PORCO ROSSO- There comes a time in every BNAT where it seems that the human body and mind can take no more awesome. No matter how many coffees, teas, sodas, or chocolate covered espresso beans (Yeah, that happened…) that one consumes, it always seems that there is a single point in the evening where it is a struggle to stay alert. Alas, that time came during the animated classic, PORCO ROSSO. While I never actually fell asleep, I expended most of my energy fighting off the dreaded slumber, while ordering a steady stream of caffeinated products to help me through the rest of the event. What I can tell you is that the classic, hand-drawn animation that was displayed in 35mm was absolutely breathtaking, and the air-battles were amongst the finest animated scenes I have ever witnessed on the silver screen. I wish that I had a more detailed, refined write-up for this film, as it most certainly deserves one, but I was betrayed by heavy eyelids and the late hour. As the ending credits rolled, I wondered if there was anything that could shake me out of the sleepy funk I was in…
Film #9- CABIN IN THE WOODS- And then this movie came along, rabbit-punched me in the brain, and made sure I was wide awake for the next ten hours! Now, I am forbidden to discuss anything about this movie until closer to its release, and in all honesty… I would not dream of telling you anything even if I could. In fact, I bet if I transcribed the events that transpire in this film, not a one of you would believe that I was telling the truth. You are not prepared for this movie. You’re not. When this thing reveals itself in April, I hope that everyone avoids spoilers, reviews, trailers, etc… and just goes. Let this movie knock you FLAT on your back, and drink in the bliss that hit the BNAT13WOLF audience at right around two o’ clock in the morning. I mentioned before that HUGO may be the best movie I saw in 2011, including all of the films of this particular event. But, if I had to pick a movie that was the most fun… the most surprising… and the most unpredictable? The award goes to CABIN IN THE WOODS.
Film #10- GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE- So, the first GHOST RIDER is one of the worst superhero movies ever made. Atrocious. Terrible. I hated it. I was lucky enough to see the movie at a free screening, and I still wanted a refund. Needless to say, this sequel was fighting an uphill battle with me right from the get go. And I’ll be honest… it did not totally win me over. Is it better than the first? Um, yeah. Is it a good movie? Well… Hm. I will say that the effects and stunts are very cool in this movie. Also, the look of the hero is infinitely better in this iteration, as he is sporting a really cool burnt skull look, as opposed to the squeaky-clean white skull that he had in the first film. I still enjoy Nicholas Cage’s portrayal of Johnny Blaze, as he cranks the insanity up to an unreal level. As a balls to the wall action flick, there are certainly worse ways for you to blow an hour and a half. For diehard fans of the character, this film may even be a dream come true. Because whether it is good or bad, it is pretty darn cool, and has enough jaw-dropping moments to merit at least one viewing. If I were to give any advice, I wish the filmmakers would have taken it even more over the top. I know that there would be those who would cry foul if the character diverted too much from the source material, but I am really beginning to wonder how many truly inspirational, deep scripts screenwriters are going to be able to get out of this character without making some slight adjustments. Normally, I am kind of a stickler for established elements of existing characters when they are moved to a different medium. In the case of the Ghost Rider character, I might be willing to make an exception. Or, they should do one in the old west where he is back on horseback. That would get my butt in a seat for a third film. Overall, this was an ok film, with some pretty cool action sequences peppered throughout. Also, film geeks will dig the cameo at about the midpoint. That is all I will say about that.
Film #11- THE GREY- Primal. Emotional. Gut-wrenching. This was a totally unexpected treasure that blindsided me. THE GREY is simply an amazing film. I consider myself something of a horror movie enthusiast, seemingly always on the hunt for a film that will terrify me. Unfortunately, the state of horror these days is making such a film harder and harder to find. That being said, THE GREY, a film that is not even a horror film in the traditional sense, scared me senseless. The film follows a group of men who are stranded in a frozen wilderness following a plane-wreck. After only a short time in the wild, they discover that they are being hunted by a local pack of wolves. And these wolves are TERRIFYING! They say that JAWS kept an entire generation of filmgoers out of the water. Well, this movie nearly kept me from catching my return flight home, just on the off-chance that we may crash anywhere that may contain EVIL, DEMON WOLVES such as these. These wolves are ferocious, persistent, calculating, and seemingly unstoppable. The speed in which an emotional, heart-felt conversation between two of the survivors can become a bloodbath is unsettling. No one in the film is safe. Everyone is a target.
All of that aside, there is much more to this movie than just the wolves. The performances and direction are uncanny. Liam Neeson is carving out a niche for himself as a man not to be messed with, whether by other humans or blood thirsty wolves. I really loved this movie, and hope that it finds the audience that it deserves when it receives a wide release.
Film #12- MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL- Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES! This movie is awesome. Is it a movie of the year candidate? Of course not. Will it win any awards come the end of February? C’mon now. But is a great action movie, filled to the brim with exciting action sequences, daring technical feats, and some of the most impressive, heart-stopping stunt sequences I have ever seen on the big screen? YES! I absolutely adored this film. I was not sure what to expect from this one, as the series has kind of been up and down for me in the past. However, I have always enjoyed Tom Cruise, I am borderline obsessed with the work of Simon Pegg, and Brad Bird is one of the finest animation directors of our time. As it turns out, we may be scratching the “animation” qualifier off of his title once he gets a few more live-action pieces under his belt. This is just a non-stop thrill ride of a movie that just keeps jamming down on the gas pedal while the audience tries to catch its breath. Do yourself a favor and see this one in IMAX. There is one sequence in particular, involving Cruise scaling a giant glass tower, that will have you holding onto your armrests for dear life, afraid that you might plummet right into the screen. I cannot wait to see this again on opening weekend with a packed house. It is one of THOSE movies. An over-the-top action film that knows exactly what it is trying to do, and does it better than most of the rest. A perfect end to Butt-Numb-A-Thon 13.
Some other house cleaning notes- Scattered between all of the aforementioned films were the vintage trailers that are a staple of BNATs in the past. I did not take any kind of notes during the show, so it would be impossible to run them all down for you. However, some trailer highlights for me would be the amazing teaser for AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, the absurdly hilarious DUNGEONMASTER, the Jason Bateman infused TEEN WOLF, TOO, and the BNAT staple that is STUNT ROCK (The greatest trailer for the worst movie ever cut together)! I wish I had kept a running tally of all of the trailer, because in some ways they are as important to the BNAT-vibe as the features themselves.
Also, I have heard that people would like a run-down of the swag bags. Again, I am not in a position to list each and every item, but I will say that I was particularly fond of the following: a Hunger Games pin, a voucher for a DVD from the Warner Bros. archive, a special edition DVD of Tobe Hooper’s EATEN ALIVE, a TRUE BLOOD graphic novel, an AVENGERS one-sheet, a CABIN IN THE WOODS one-sheet, the BNAT poster (hunt this down… it is GORGEOUS), and the official BNAT T-shirt complete with a wolfed-out Michael J. Fox rocking his basketball gear. It is quite the haul if you ask me.
A final note- No BNAT write-up would be complete without mentioning the latest chapter in the Jeff Mahler saga. The poor bastard has been trying to get TEEN WOLF played at a BNAT seemingly since the beginning, and it seemed like this was his best shot to actually get it done. After all, it was the theme film of the event. Surely this would be his time, right? Right?! RIGHT! (Kind of.) You see, apparently Tim League took a little bit too long with his initial introduction, and had to cut the pristine print of BNAT from the lineup due to time constraints. But, in an effort to make everything right for the plagued Mr. Mahler, the wizards of the Drafthouse cut the print up into thousands of little pieces, splicing in clips of TEEN WOLF throughout the entire events. At random moments, the audience would catch a second (at most) of Mahler’s beloved film, drawing a laugh from the audience each and every time. Classic. Better luck next year, Jeff…
In closing, I would like to offer a big shout out and thank you to the man in charge of this crazy affair, Mr. Harry Knowles. He put me through my paces this year, officially inducting me into the “Tortured by Harry Club,” but it was worth every second, making for an even more memorable and special event. Each and every person who has ever attended a Butt-Numb-A-Thon is in your debt due to the incredible amount of passion and effort that is poured into the planning, organization, and preparation for this daunting cinematic feast. You are one of the rare individuals who celebrates your birthday by giving a theater full of people a present that will provide memories to last a lifetime. You truly are the head geek, sir, and we would have it no other way. Big thank yous must also be extended to the staff of the Alamo Drafthouse, who provide nourishment and caffeine throughout the entirety of the event in a non-disruptive and speedy manner, Tim League and Kristen Bell. Without your support, I’m sure that Harry would have a much harder time enjoying the festivities, as he would probably be pulling his hair our from frustration and stress.
And finally, I end with a plea. If you are reading this, and thinking about how cool all of this sounds… do not let another year go by without filling out the application. Check your inhibitions at the door, pack your dignity away, and throw yourself headlong into the application process next year. Do not be intimidated. Embrace your chance to be a part of the growing BNAT family. I spent years being scared to even try to fill out the app, thinking that there was no chance that I would ever be considered. Here I am two years later, having attended two of these epic events, and I am already looking ahead to next year and the potential films that could play at the Drafthouse come the second weekend of December. My hope is that everyone at least tries out the application, if only to get a brief peek into Harry’s deranged mind. That is an experience in and of itself. But, there is also that chance… that small, teeny-tiny, iddy-bitty chance… that you will get a golden ticket and find yourself sitting in the Alamo Drafthouse amongst the finest audience assembled each and every year. And that is the greatest miracle that any of us geeks could ever hope for.
And, Harry… if I may toss a suggestion into the hat?
Think about it…
Wesley “Mr. Brotato Head” Dodd
Really nice to meet you, Wesley, and thanks for the report. Nordling, out.