Drag Me to The Rio Grande
Instead of the typical hungover zombies that sleep the dawn away in the PajiCabin, the boys were up and ready for action. Dustin, the Boozehound, and myself rolled to The Drafthouse for a screening of ExTerminators. It looked like it was going to be a dark comedy about women in anger management classes killing unfaithful and abusive men. It went a little fluffier and Shopoholic than I expected, but when Heather Graham is your lead and she's not nude on roller skates, you're in for some trouble. The supporting class made up for it, particularly Jennifer Coolidge and Amber Heard, as well as the actor who played the creepy IRS Agent ("Scrubs'" Ted). It had some funny moments, but Dustin and Boozehound wished it a cold hard death. I dug it, but I still think I was buzzing off my filmic high.
I was planning on squatting at my second home, the Drafthouse, so Dustin and El Boynton met up with The TV Whore to check out American Violet, a Texan tale about drug prosecution and the true story of the ACLU battles against wrongful prosecution. Send a bunch of lawyers to Oscar bait, and you know you'll get some positive commentary. It stars Alfre Woodard, Tim Blake Nelson, and the always spectacular Will Patton. Those boys go for the serious drama, whereas I'd rather see a bunch of weird ass foreign toons about papier-mache foul-mouthed puppetry, homicidal grossmutters, and produce-based sex. It was a mixed bag full of some lame poetic arthouse dreck, beautiful painted insanity, and some glorious musicals. My favorite was definitely The Godfather Musical Part 3: Luca Brasi Sleeps With The Fishes. It involved a fish playing a trumpet, and a song similar to Prom Night Dumpster Baby. I immediately thought fondly of Agent Bedhead.
After the animated shorts wrapped up, it was 4 PM, and I went outside to queue up for Adventureland, which was due to play at 7 PM. Because I'm with pass not badge, I usually have to hit films cah-razy early in order to get seating. So I was first in line, and immediately sat down on the Kindle to zoom ahead in the Cannonball Read. (For being on vacation for six days, I'm getting fuckall read. Here's your chance to pass me, kiddos.) Slowly but surely, the line began to swell for badgeholders, wrapping around the building and almost into the street. One of the managers was kind enough to take pity on me, and when they started to seat the badgeholders, he snuck me in. I was the only non-passholder allowed to catch the screening. Even some of the smarmy bastards with badges were turned away.
Adventureland is a coming of age story by Greg Mottola, the director of Superbad and The Daytrippers. It's about James (Jesse Eisenberg), a college grad with ambitions of Columbia grad work, forced to return to Pittsburgh for the summer to work at an amusement park. He falls in love with Em (Kristen Stewart), sort of a complicated girl. For people expecting Superbad, they will be sorely disappointed. Instead, it's like most of the Hughes/Ringwald cannon, with the gender roles swapped. I loved this movie so much I wanted to take it behind the middle school and turn it into a sparkly vampire. But then again, that's the kind of film I fucking adore. The supporting cast is brilliant: Ryan Reynolds doing a wise McConaghyesque role, Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig as the park owners, Matt Bush as Frigo -- an immature Italian douche liable to sackpunch you as a joke, and Martin Starr who motherfucking KILLS. The soundtrack is pure 80's glory, including a particularly kickass usage of Judas Priest's "Breaking The Law." It makes me really want to get my ass up on Netflix and check out Daytrippers. (Ed.: Daytrippers is a great, micro-budget 90s indie with the following loaded cast: Liev Schreiber, Parker Posey, Campbell Scott, Anne Meara, Stanley Tucci, and Hope Davis. It fucking rocks. Carry on.) While stealing Dan Carlson's sister Sarah to whisk her away to The Rio Grande to drink up with the rest of the merry men, I managed to spot Mottola and shake his hand and tell him I loved his movie. I don't stick around to exchange awkward gushing, I just tell them "Spot on, chap" and move on.
We caught up at the bar to swap war stories over margaritas. The boys caught Humpday, a low-budget flick about two straight male friends who decide to make a gay erotic film starring the both of them. It got a multitude of thumbs up from the group, especially the performance of Mark Duplass of Puffy Chair and Baghead fame. We quickly pounded our beverages because five of us were due to shoot over to the Paramount for the midnight screening of a work-in-progress cut of Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell. TK, TV Whore, Dustin, and Smokin -- back for more PajiBacon action -- got into the badge line while I stood in the meager pass line and chatted up some of the local folks. Again, that's been the best part of the festival for me, getting to hear about movies people dug the hell out of. I need to check out Lake Mongo (an Australian horror flick about the capturing of spirits on camera), Pulling John (a documentary about competitive arm wrestling), and I learned I really did miss out on Black, the French blaxploitation flick. Nerves were frayed, because the badge line was ever-so-swelling, but we eventually made it in for the gore.
Holy. Fuck. Me. Sideways. Raimi kicked it through the uprights and into the fucking river. This was the most enjoyable film -- let alone horror -- that I've seen in maybe five or ten years. It was simultaneously horrifying and hilarious in equal measure. Allison Lohman plays a bank loan officer who gets cursed by a gypsy, which gives her three days to appease the dark spirits before she gets dragged screaming into the depths of hell. That's it. That's the whole film. And it is fucking AMAZING. Raimi has you cackling with laughter one minute and jumping out of your damn skin in the next. TK scared the fuck out of everyone with his high pitched girlie scream at one point. Everyone but me of course, because I couldn't hear him with my fingers plugged in my ears while I shuddered with terror. It is a magnificent film, and Lohman pulls off her Bruce Campbellish heroine to a fucking T. It was universally adored by the crowd, who ate it with a fucking spoon. This movie will DESTROY at the box office.
Alright, bedtime for bonzo. So you know, I type most of these at 4 AM when we've returned from our adventures, so you can be informed of the films. It's not just bragging to make you feel bad. Alright, well, it's not ALL that. Tomorrow looks to be a quiet day, with the exception of the morning offering us a "Super Secret Screening" of some film at 11 AM and possibly some Observe and Report action going on in the night. I'm interested in seeing Dan interview Seth Rogen to see if when they touch, they turn into that pink Timecop goo and die.
Rest in peace, Ron Silver.