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|Written by April Yorke|
|Tuesday, 03 April 2012 09:35|
Each month, (Cult)ure movie nerd April Yorke chats with Mayfair co-owner and geek-in-chief Josh Stafford about what's playing at Ottawa's home of stuff you won't see anywhere else. For April (the month, not the person), we squarely blame David Bowie, Martin Scorsese, Michael Bay, Todd Philips, and all manner of evil kids for the going's on at the Mayfair this month.
(Cult)ure: Dude. Cat People. Drop the mic.
Josh Stafford: Yuh huh. We got a kind of negative toned twitter that we weren't showing any old stuff or cult stuff, etc. My response was that I'm pretty sure what we have scheduled past and present proves that wrong . . . and . . . Cat People! True, we're showing lots of Oscar stuff and some mainstream kids' stuff, but there's always Ottawa premieres and some classic stuff and some weird stuff in there.
(C): This poor person. Not excited to see Cat People.
JS: It's a weird bit in the middle of Paul Schrader's resume: Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Auto Focus . . . Cat People . . .
(C): It's all connected.
JS: By David Bowie? Is it all David Bowie?
(C): No, it's Martin Scorsese, but you tell me how you think it's Bowie's fault first.
JS: Well, he sings the theme song, and his movies are all weird.
(C): Okay, that's true, but I am still pointing the finger at ol' Marty.
JS: 'Cause Paul was mad with power after Raging Bull, and they let him do Cat People?
(C): Because Marty introduced me and likely many others to Cat People (famous original version), so you just know they got to talking about it and got all het up and poof! Cat People remake.
JS: Ah, right, movie nerd fault. Like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg sitting around saying, "Forget doing a James Bond movie!" but different, and the studios were like, "Well, he seems to know what he's doing on those other movies . . . " and BAM! Cat People.
(C): Meanwhile, are you doing some sort of Malcolm McDowell thing?
JS: I believe that's just a crazy coincidence. He was even in The Artist for 2 seconds, which just passed by.
(C): I don't know, man. It looks like a McDowell thing.
JS: I have no problems with that. He's cool.
(C): Plus Caligula is gonna have 'em rollin' in the aisles.
JS: It's over 3 hours long and produced by the Penthouse magazine guy. What could possibly go wrong!? Peter O'Toole, Helen Mirren, John Gielgud . . . They're all pretty talented. Caligula claims itself to be the most controversial movie of the 20th century. Wonder if that's even close to true.
(C): More controversial than The Last Temptation of Christ?
JS: I think Caligula might be the most controversial train wreck.
(C): I don't know. I would also put Cleopatra up there.
JS: There's a lot of good controversial movies.
(C): Naturally. See, I would suggest a controversial film festival, but you know what controversial films seem to have in common?
JS: Flop-ness? Nudity?
(C): Close. Length. Those movies are really long.
JS: More time to pack in the controversy.
(C): I bet people would get less upset if they were all 86 minuters. How bad can those get?
JS: That's why smarter filmmakers like Woody Allen keep things nice and succinct for the most part.
(C): It's true! When you don't like something, it's better to feel like you didn't waste the whole afternoon/evening.
JS: I've watched many a horrible movie and then said, "Well, at least it was only 80 minutes."
(C): Filmmakers take note: if your subject is controversial, keep it short. Like The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye. A lot of people might think that's whack, but it's only 72 minutes.
JS: Docs are often good at keeping things tight. I wasn't familiar with the movie until we booked it. Upon discussing it, I am confident that it will be nice and controversial and disturbing and possibly will have the power to make one feel a little ill. Hmm . . . that might not be the best tag-line.
(C): I'm pretty sure more movies could benefit from more honest critic's quotes like, "Not a complete waste of time."
JS: Or "A couple getting plastic surgery to look like each other is weird!" (That's my own quote).
(C): That's everyone's thinking, anyway. Might as well use it.
JS: I like showing movies like this. It proves that despite what some certain twitter people think, we don't just show stuff you can see at the multiplex.
(C): Yeah, take that, twitter person! I think you like showing movies like this, end of, just so you can see them and get other people to see them, too.
(C): OMG. Road to Nowhere is directed by the same guy as Two Lane Blacktop?!
JS: Yes! And it looks really good! Like a crime genre / behind the scenes thing. And it's got Shannyn Sossamon, who I thought was gone forever. I really liked Rules of Attraction but otherwise thought she was like a lower budget Angelina Jolie.
(C): I think I just fell in love with the song in the trailer. Wait, you are having a Tygh Runyan thing?
JS: Um . . . yes, the world's first ever Runyan film fest.
(C): First! You've got this and Doppelganger Paul.
JS: He was also in a student film I worked on. Six degrees of me! Doppelganger Paul looks good like a more Canadian Charlie Kaufman tale.
(C): The trailer would suggest as much. A little too dour to be Kaufman. More in keeping with our garrison culture.
JS: And there's a polar bear on the poster.
(C): How else will you detect its Canadiana?
JS: The polar bear could be in a hockey jersey.
(C): Now you know that the appropriate response to a polar bear in a hockey jersey is to tell it that you two look exactly alike and then ask if it is lonely, as I imagine it would be, wandering around the streets of Ottawa.
JS: Very complicated. And, if that's not quite your thing, we have slightly less creepy weird docs like People of a Feather.
(C): It might be less weird than Genesis and Lady Jaye, but I have a feeling that it's going to be depressing.
JS: That's what we specialize in! Documentaries that are about bees or plastic or water or big business that end with the narrator saying, "Evil has won, we're all screwed" (slightly paraphrasing).
(C): Now THAT's what they should put on the poster.
JS: At the end of almost every documentary we show I just sigh and succumb to the thought that us stupid humans have ruined everything.
(C): Pretty much. We've done cool things, too, but not really for the planet. Mostly for ourselves.
JS: Yeah, and the other doc we have called Girl Model isn't about the end of the world, but how messed up our culture has become.
(C): That is effed. It's legal abuse.
JS: But fascinating. Every doc I see falls firmly under 'truth is stranger than fiction.'
(C): Good! That's how they should be - elucidating. As much as we may have effed the planet, there are still many mysteries to the world.
JS: Like the mystery of . . . anime!?
(C): The mystery of how it is amazing but still treated with nerd gloves?
JS: I just wanna watch Redline!
(C): So, Speed Racer but not terrible like that Speed Racer movie from a few years back. Don't you want to watch The Secret World of Arrietty, too?
JS: Yes, both, but one is for kids and one not. It's a mini both sides of anime fest.
(C): Whoa, whoa, I think you better tell us which is which.
JS: Well, Arrietty is released through Disney and based on the classic kids' books The Borrowers. That's a hint.
(C): That it's for grown-ups?
(C): Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Thank goodness you cleared that up. I was about to bring a kindergarten field trip to Redline!
JS: That's why you keep getting into trouble when you babysit.
(C): That and the boozing. You know who they should get to look after the kids.
(C): Monsieur Lazhar. It's the nicest movie. Just nice right down to the core. Which I realize sounds like I'm damning it with faint praise, but I mean to do just the opposite.
JS: Yes, it's funny how nice or sweet are equated to bad.
(C): When they are actually a refreshing break from how mean-spirited Hollywood's output can be.
JS: What!? No murderous exploding robots or torture rooms?
(C): Nope, real people who like each other for real reasons and talk to each other about real things. It's uncanny.
JS: Take that, Michael Bay!
(C): Take that a lot more people than Michael Bay. Take that, Todd Philips, as Due Date nearly put me in an early grave!
JS: Shaking fist at Todd Phillips!
(C): Actually, now that I think about it, it's also a celebrated Canadian movie that isn't a depression-fest.
JS: Madness! Who knew!? And Paul Gross isn't even in it!
(C): Now we're getting crazy. But, really, just sweetness in that one.
JS: For those who might not be into the Caligulas and Cat Peoples and Redlines.
(C): Yeah, give those guys a break. Or, if they want evil kids, they can go see We Need to Talk About Kevin.
JS: Tilda Swinton AND John C. Reilly in one movie!
(C): An odd pairing, no?
JS: Yeah, but I'm a fan of both and of creepy movies.
(C): Normally I think that little girls are the creepiest kids, so it's a change of pace.
JS: More Omen-y. I like John C. Reilly 'cause he goes between goofy Will Ferrell stuff and heavy indie stuff and musicals . . . everything! I think most kids are a lil evil, though.
(C): No, not like this one. It's chilling.
JS: I like horror movies and that they don't all have to have guys with chainsaws and hockey masks. It's a big umbrella of sub-genres.
(C): I'd rather watch a good old fashioned ghost story like Woman in Black than people getting torn limb from limb.
JS: I like both. Both have masterpieces. In The Thing, people get torn up. Or in Alien and Aliens or George Romero zombie movies. On the other side, We Need to Talk About Kevin, of course. Rosemary's Baby. I love Blair Witch, but I know that's not for everyone. Psycho.
(C): Good list.
JS: Non-horror, I'm really looking forward to the Three Stooges thing.
(C): Oooo, yes. The new movie I couldn't give a crap about but the classic stuff, yes.
JS: Old serials on the big screen are amazing. We screened a bunch of Batman stuff a while back that was amazing. This Three Stooges thing is a release from 1974. It's a compilation of a bunch of stuff and also has Buster Keaton and a 1943 Batman episode and more!
(C): That sounds great!
JS: Something called Strife of the Party with Vera Vague. No idea what that is!
(C): A mystery! A non-documentary mystery!
JS: Yup, and watching old stuff like that at the Mayfair is like time travel. We even have a flux capacitor!
(C): Not that you need it. You were around in 1943. Someone was going to see something in your fine establishment.
JS: Indeed. It would've been a regular afternoon at the movies.
(C): I wonder if they did dish night at the movies. Do you know?
JS: I don't know. But! I did recently hear a story that at the Mayfair they used to employ a lady who would go to the front of the theatre and yell at kids if they weren't behaving.
(C): That's fantastic! I want that job! Back when they would go watch cartoons all afternoon, no doubt.
JS: Parents would drop their kids off for the traditional matinee afternoon, so it would be a theatre full of lil hooligans.
(C): But there would be a den mother!
JS: And she was some kind a Lil Rascals school marm. Now I just tell kids to turn off their phones every so often. At least until we get the Resident Evil anti-cell-phone lasers installed.
(C): Then you will be out of a job!
JS: Someone has to give out prizes still!
(C): Oh, thank goodness. I thought you were going to be out on the bread line.
JS: Nah, I get free popcorn. Completely healthy to eat for 3 meals a day.
(C): Absolutely. Well done.
JS: Freeze frame high five.
April Yorke prefers quoting TV shows to nearly any other form of communication, thinks roller derby is the only excuse for not going to the movies more often, and finds that buying more shelves is the best way to deal with her book-buying habit. You can reach her at april[at]culturemagazine[dot]ca.
Tags: cinema, dropping the mic, green, josh is a name dropper, mayfair, mini film fests, nerd gloves, not a complete waste of time is a oretty good tagline, ottawa, out on the town
This is a great conversation and I'm so glad that you took the time to share it with us. There is a lot that we can all learn about the movie industry so learning from those who really know is obviously the best method, especially when the conversation can make us laugh and think all at the same time. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
The interviews about how to beat the machines are always better when you are listening to people who really know what they are talking about because you can learn more.