Butt-Numb-A-Thon 6 was a raging mixture of trailers and exclusive previews of upcoming movies sprinkled amid an eclectic choice of 11 films. Due to security measures which included bag checks and taking cameras for safekeeping it took about an hour and a half to get seated, so the actual show started about 30 minutes late.
Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Trailers: Slumber Party Massacre, and Stunt Rock ("Death Wish at 120 Decibels")
Movie: Willy McBean and the Magic Machine (1965)
Commentary: This is the first stop motion animated feature film. It's from Rankin/Bass, the creators of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Mad Monster Party that I grew up watching on the Saturday Morning Film Festival with Tom Hatten (remember how he used to draw Popeye for the audience?).
Boy genius Willy learns of the Mad Professor Rasputin Von Rotten's plans to go back into time in order to take credit for different feats and inventions (such as the pyramids, discovery of America, and invention of fire) by beating the real heroes to the punch. With the help of Pablo, a sombrero-wearing, Spanish-accented monkey, Willy builds his own "Magic Machine" and travels through the ages to foil the mad professor's plans just in the nick of time.
It reminded me of a racist Calvin and Hobbes with the highly intelligent kid who will do anything to get out of doing homework, even working exponentially harder in doing so. The highlight was, of course, that monkey, taught to speak by the professor. Yet while he speaks English he inexplicably has an accent straight out of Treasure of the Sierra Madre when the monkey tells us, "I'm a beeg lateen luver." Other racist aspects that make this a classic include the professor disguised as a "Chinaman" and lines like
"If Columbus hadn't discovered America, all that would be here would be trees and a few teepees!" and "How do you like them tamales?" Racial sensitivity? I don't need no racial sensitivity.
Guests: There was a surprise appearance of Emily Browning and Liam Aiken who played the two older Baudelaire children. They looked a bit overwhelmed while standing on stage answering questions in front of a few hundred movie geeks but it was cool.
Movie: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Commentary: This is the first world-premiere of the festival. There will be so much written on this soon that I won't waste much time. While I enjoyed the movie as a whole I am a bit burned out on the whole fantasy world adaptation. Three Harry Potters and three LOTRs will do that to a guy.
Trailers: The Pirate Movie, Blackbeard's Ghost Yellowbeard and Ice Pirates
Clips: Two scenes from Dreamworks' Madagascar
Movie: The Black Swan (1942)
Commentary: Tyrone Power, playing Jamie "Jamie-Boy" Waring, is a cad's cad in this pirate flick. Dude doesn't take any lip from anybody, whether it's another pirate twice his size or a beautiful damsel who makes the mistake of attempting to ignore his charms. In this case the object in his roguish cannon sights is Maureen O'Hara. When he first meets her Jamie-Boy informs her, "I always sample a bottle of wine before I buy it. Let's have a sip, see if you're worth taking along." As he kisses her she bites his lip. His response? He knocks her out with a clean backhand! Stone cold booyaa! He later tells her he won't kiss again until she calls him Jamie-Boy three times and asks him to kiss her. Arrr! Methinks I like this knavish scalawag. After the typical pirate story she of course realizes the error of her ways and calls for him thrice, thus reminding us all that the hot chicks always go for the bad boys.
Trailers: Footprints on the Sands of Time
Slide Show of the new "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" movie 42. We were all geeking out big time over this. When we saw what the Vogons looked like it reminded me of when I saw The Lord of the Rings and saw for the first time the many characters that I had only been allowed to imagine in my head. Awesome. The producer introduced the slides and even pointed out that Douglas Adams was a huge Mac fan. Apple, baby!
Movie: Blonde Venus (1932)
Commentary: On paper the synopsis of the movie is a bit soap opera-ish. A woman's husband has to travel to Germany for six months to have life-saving treatment for an illness. In the meantime the woman takes up with another man who woos her and love ensues. Two problems: there is a six-year old son and the husband returns early. The two intangibles that make this movie a classic: Marlene Dietrich and Cary Grant. Ultimately she chooses her son over him, though my theory is that this only happens because Grant had yet to employ the accent Tony Curtis would so famously imitate in wooing Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot.
Movie: Miss Sadie Thompson (1953)
Commentary: Wow! Rita Hayworth on picturesque American Samoa in mind-blowing 3D! This is by far the best 3D experience ever. We were quite fortunate that the Alamo Draft House is only the 6th theater in the country that has the technology to show 3D in the proper way. Two projectors are synched and the result is visually amazing.
Another security check sent us out into the near-midnight cold for almost an hour.
Clips: War of the Worlds Preceding the trailer was a birthday message for Harry from Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise, even wishing us fun at the Butt-Numb-A-Thon (though neither used the actual name).
Trailers: The Mutations, Welcome Home, Brother Charles, Voyage of Rock Aliens and Krakatoa
Movie: The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
Commentary: I must admit that I own the double-CD soundtrack (obviously before Napster) and have seen the musical -- and loved both. But seriously, this movie sucked. It turned into a running joke halfway though. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed making fun of it. The scenery was beautiful, the music was astounding, but the acting blew.
Sunday 2:15 a.m.
Trailers: Ring 2
Movie: The Mutations (1973)
Commentary: Another mad professor movie only this time the doctor is running a freak show within his traveling carnival. In order to keep things fresh he has his "freaks" kidnap people then mutates them with various plants. The result is, well, freaky. The last mutation looks like a walking artichoke. It was fun, plus we got to see three different sets of boobs. Cha-ching!
Trailers: Trog and The Muthers
Movie: Toys are Not For Children (1972)
Commentary: Fucking disturbing! The movie opens with a young girl named Jamie stroking a toy soldier on top of her in bed, all the while moaning, "Daddy, oh daddy." Damn. It turns out Jamie's father was kicked out by her mother after an extramarital affair and the only connection the child had with him was stuffed animals and toy soldiers he would send her on her birthdays. Thus, the traumatized girl fused her father and these toys together and came out a highly neurotic adult. Later Jamie refuses to consummate her marriage with her new husband, choosing instead to snuggle in bed with her toy soldier. She eventually befriends a hooker (who incidentally counts Jamie's father as one of her "johns"), loses her virginity to the hooker's pimp, and then must later resist the lesbian advances of the hooker. In anger the hooker tells Jamie where she can find her father and sends her off. The hooker then calls the guy and tells him she's sending him a new girl and instructs him to call her "baby." When Jamie shows up at her father's hotel room the dramatic irony is intense. They sleep together, he discovers her true identity thereafter, tries to kick her out and she pushes him out the 4th story window in anger over being abandoned a second time. Can I get a hell yeah! It's all about Butt-Numb-A-Thon.
Guests: One of the tough guys, Tamer Hassan, made an appearance and answered some questions.
Movie: Layer Cake (2004)
Commentary: Fans of Guy Ritchie's Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch will love this British gangster flick like I did. It was, much to its credit, not as goofy as those, choosing instead for the gritty approach. Also, it must be the accent because the Brits seem like such cooler gangsters than Americans. It had the usual twist at the end that only added to the enjoyment.
Breakfast 7:45 a.m.
There was a buffet of eggs, bacon, potatoes, rolls, Danish, and cereal (I chose the Cheerios which were passed over more often than not for the Lucky Charms and Coco Puffs).
Clip: Neo Sapiens (I think)
Movie: Ong Bak (2003)
Commentary: First, Tony Muthufuckin Jaa! This dude possesses the zen-like stoicism and pure tiger heart of Bruce Lee, the raw power of Jean Claude Van Damme, and the awe-inspiring acrobatic genius of Jackie Chan. Simply put, Tony Jaa is the martial artist for the 21st century.
Ong Bok is a hero and the quest story that would have made Joseph Campbell proud. Ting (Jaa) must travel to the city to retrieve the stolen head of his village's Buddhist Idol, Ong Bak. He then proceeds to use his Muay Thai kickboxing skills to beat the living crap out of any dumb sonuvabitch who steps to him. This is the only movie I immediately hit eBay for as soon as I got home.
Check out the Ong Bak trailer. Keep in mind that the actual movie is a thousand times better than the trailer.
First look at The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Movie: Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
Commentary: Let's see... this was a mix of Scorcese's Gangs of New York, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and any Jerry Lewis film. It's hard for me to rave about this one considering it followed my favorite of the day, Ong Bak. Plus two martial arts flicks in a row near the end of BNAT left me with Kung Fu overload. It was entertaining though.