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 May, we spot the gaps in our high school educations, dis heartless and humourless movie haters, and spoil 16 year-old movies.
(Cult)ure: Let's talk about your Canadiana!
Josh Stafford: Ohhhhhh caaaaaanadaaaaaa.
(C): Monsieur Lazhar, Goon, Hard Core Logo 2.
JS: Goon is good!
(C): That's true, though it was obviously going to be. Well, I shouldn't say that. Score! A Hockey Musical is a Canadian hockey movie, and it suuuuucked.
JS: I like movies that are distinctly Canadian without being either too arty or too depressing. Not that there's anything wrong with arty and depressing movies; we screen Lars Von Trier and Werner Herzog and David Cronenberg all the time! But Score! Man, I don't even believe that that was a real movie. I thought it was, like, a 22 Minutes sketch.
(C): Dude, I saw it. It was heinous.
JS: This is by more talented Canadians.
(C): Of course! Jay Baruchel! Does he have a star on the walk of fame yet? Because he really should.
JS: He will eventually. He's got lots of time. He's got a Canada tattoo!
(C): Yes, though he doesn't play a Canadian in the movie.
(C): It's okay. His lovely fiancée plays a Canadian (and is one). She is so good!
JS: Alison Pill?
(C): Who else?
JS: She is awesome . . . and on my arm! [Ed. note: Josh has a Kim Pine tattoo. Pill played Pine in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World]
(C): And adorable. In Goon and, I imagine, in life.
JS: Eugene Levy = major Can Con points, too. And Evan Goldberg, whom I am a big fan of.
(C): Given how wonderful we both know this is going to be, I'm beginning to wonder why you are even showing other movies. Just become the Goonfair.
JS: Let's do it! Wait . . . I guess we should mix it up a bit.
(C): I guess.
JS: As much as I appreciate Canada getting good indie cinema cred.
(C): Fine, I guess people can also go see Coriolanus.
JS: This may make my high school English education seem questionable, but I have never heard of Coriolanus.
(C): Don't hold it against the school board. We didn't study it either.
JS: I read all those other plays he wrote.
(C): ALL of them?
JS: Uhm, a lot, I think. Or have at least seen all the Kenneth Branagh movies.
(C): Very close to the total, then. In the meantime, does the dream cast of Ralph Fiennes, Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave, Jessica Chastain, James Nesbitt, and Gerard Butler not do enough to entice you?
JS: Is there more than one Jessica Chastain's 'cause she seems to be in way too many movies in way too short of a time period.
(C): The world is a very lucky place if there are.
JS: Twelve movies in 2011 / 2012 !?
(C): That's why we gave her a Culty.
JS: And the movie continues John Logan's run of one word title movies. I like that it looks like crazy Shakespeare, as opposed to sissy-teen-killin'-themselves Shakespeare.
(C): Yeah, it's badass-warrior-revenge-plotting Shakespeare.
JS: I betcha Brian Cox has a good yelling scene in it. He excels at those.
(C): He's great either way. So we're agreed that you can show two month this movie?
JS: I bet we can show three, four, maybe even a couple dozen!
(C): I will also allow The Big Lebowski.
JS: That is good because it is a perfect movie. Usually I allow that film is subjective and just because I love a movie doesn't mean you have to, but, if a person does not like BL, they are wrong!
(C): And possibly heartless. Definitely humourless.
JS: There's a scene with Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, and Steve Buscemi partaking in an extended back and forth. It may be the BEST exchange between three actors ever. We screened it to a packed house last year, and patrons never stop asking for us to bring it back. Coens are too good. How do they do that? Their worst movie puts other directors' best movies to shame. It's the movie I often point to to prove that Oscars don't really matter. Zero nominations!
(C): Mine is Children of Men.
JS: That is awesome, too.
(C): Eff the Oscars, with the exception of your telecast.
JS: Yes, I hypocrite it up for our telecast. And now Hard Core Logos for all!
(C): Hard Core Logo 2, dude. Sequel time.
JS: When I first heard about HCL2, it was definitely a "Wait . . . what?" moment.
(C): Because of how late the sequel is in arriving?
JS: Yes . . . and . . . y'know . . . how the first one ended. Not to play spoiler for anyone who hasn't seen it.
(C): Dude, how long has it been? Spoil. Readers, spoilers. You have been warned.
JS: Well, when the lead singer of a band in a fake documentary kills himself at the end of the movie, it seems the story is all sewn up, but McDonald has managed to cobble together an interesting premise for this follow-up. It has a punk rock chick in the lead in this one, and I've always been a fan of them. Although he doesn't always end up with masterpieces, I appreciate filmmakers like McDonald who take chances.
(C): Not every director knows how to actually work with other media, and he gets music, so I give him props for that.
JS: He inexplicably directs Degrassi, too. He's maybe the most prolific director we've had in the past 30 years. Busy dude.
(C): Unlike Jennifer Westfeldt!
JS: I like how in the trailer for Friends with Kids it cites Kissing Jessica Stein. I thought, "Do people remember KJS?"
(C): Mostly no. That was 10 years ago!
(C): I'm pretty sure being Jon Hamm's lady is nice work if you can get it.
JS: Ladies love Jon Hamm.
(C): Yes, but they should also love Jennifer Westfeld and Adam Scott and Chris O'Dowd. Actually, everyone in that movie. Love for everyone!
JS: I will forgive the inclusion of Megan Fox since Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph are in it.
(C): Actually . . . I kind of love Megan Fox, too. Though I'd probably love her more if she ate a sandwich.
JS: Whuh!?! Even though she was in TWO Michael Bay movies AND Jonah Hex!?!
(C): Listen, I'm not going to pretend that she's got acting chops that are going to blow you away in this movie, but 1) she doesn't stink up the place and 2) she's otherwise just being kooky out there living her life. I admire that.
JS: And she pissed off Michael Bay. I guess I admire that.
(C): See? She's gonna get ya. And a sandwich, I hope.
JS: We can only hope. Meanwhile she'll have to settle with indie comedy cred.
(C): I'm gonna throw the indie-humour cred to Morgan Spurlock this time.
JS: And geek cred!
(C): True, this Comic Com doc is going to do wonders for his geek cred.
JS: It's like, "Oh, a comic con doc from an Oscar-nominated filmmaker? Neat." Then, "Wait, Joss Whedon worked on it too!?! And Stan Lee! And Kevin Smith is in in. And Seth Rogen, Seth Green, Paul Dini." That's a lot of geek for your entertainment dollar.
(C): You get to do all your geeking out from a comfy seat at the Mayfair if you can't make it to San Diego.
JS: It's impossible to get into that thing now-a-days. It's safer to visit us. AND we will have fabulous prizes to boot. AND, maybe, some passes to the conveniently placed Ottawa Comic Con that will arrive a few days after our screening.
(C): GEEK JACKPOT.
JS: I'm not a big fan of Kevin Smith as a filmmaker but really like his interviewin'. He's very intelligent and funny just in the trailer for this one. He knows his geek culture. I mean, his best writing comes in comic book form, and he owns a store. It's good prep and research for people to go to a real live convention. Then return to the safety of your parent's basements and the Mayfair.
(C): How else are you going to see A Little Bit Zombie?
JS: More Canadiana! With zombies! And Terror of Dracula. Even more low budget Canadian horror cinema. It's no budget and big effort. Fangoria Magazine had high praise.
(C): Plus a Q & A with the director? That is some cool shit.
JS: AND they have an awesome poster in a world where I complain about posters oh so much.
(C): I like that it has creases. That's artistry.
JS: It's like Hammer Horror . . . but shot in Kingston. Support Canadian cinema AND indie horror! At the same time!
(C): It's not often that you get to do both.
JS: And it's not even Cronenberg-related. True rarity.
(C): Alright, what else are you excited about for May?
JS: Casa de mi Padre! How the hell did we get the Ottawa premiere of a Will Ferrell movie?! Foolish multiplexes. I really like that Will Ferrell will do non-mainstream stuff like this. I have a feeling Anchorman 2 is happening 'cause he promised his agent he'd make a financially successful movie if they let him do a movie he wanted to first.
(C): But will it be a musical?
JS: Dare to dream.
(C): I dare to demand that promises be kept. In the meantime, I will laugh at Diego Luna.
JS: Be happy with Casa de mi Padre madness first.
(C): I guess I'll have to.
JS: It also has a folded poster!
(C): Trend! I hope it catches on.
JS: I hope Being Flynn is as good as everyone says it is. I remember when DeNiro was cool. It was a far off time before Meet the Parents and Rocky and Bullwinkle.
(C): It makes me sad.
JS: His film festival has Brett Ratner on the panel. That makes me sad.
(C): Pull it together, Bob!
JS: No more wacky comedies, Bob! No more! A few decades ago, he probably would have starred in a movie like Rampart.
(C): Wow, was that a few decades ago for him?
JS: Well, Copland was '97 so a decade and a half.
(C): Of course, it's hard to begrudge Woody Harrelson any success he's found because he's so damn good.
JS: Yes, Woody is great. It's amazing that he started out in a timid nice dumb guy role, and now he can do anything.
(C): And does in that movie from the look of it.
JS: Evidently it makes Bad Lieutenant look tame.
(C): Whoa, that takes A LOT of work.
JS: We shall see. The Messenger was pretty heavy stuff . . . Good heavy stuff.
(C): Very much so. With my dear Ben Foster, who I have decided is probably not going to get more famous one of these days after all.
JS: What if John Hamm hears that your eyes are wandering!?
(C): He's got Jennifer and her great head of hair! He'll survive.
JS: Do you have equal feelings in kind for Ewan McGregor?
(C): It's hard not to root for Ewan, even if he plays a bit of a jerk in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.
JS: I've been a fan since his career began.
(C): Shallow Grave?
JS: Yes, and the Trainspotting. And I love that he had to be told not to make lightsabre sounds while Jedi-ing.
(C): It's a natural reaction.
JS: A movie about salmon fishing might seem a little dull, but this movie has big time talent behind it. The writer of Slumdog, director of Chocolat. And Ewan. I guess Emily Blunt is okay, too.
(C): I suppose.
JS: But no Ewan.
(C): Who can be?
JS: Remo Williams! . . . No, that's not true.
(C): How dare you, sir?
JS: Fine, he's no Ewan, but he's pretty cool 80s James Bond wannabe.
(C): There's not enough James Bond wannabes nowadays.
JS: But of all the actors out there, they picked Fred Ward to be an American James Bond? Peculiar. And Wilford Brimley is in it! And it was Oscar nominated!? What the hell? Nothing for Big Lebowski . . . but Remo Williams gets one!?
(C): For what?
(C): It could have really good makeup. Of course, Lebowski has really good hair.
JS: You can come out to see BL as part of our fundraiser and support the Mayfair. Then, stick around and watch Remo for free if you're a member! Because we care.
(C): You are too kind.
JS: Kind and have the same amount of Oscars as BL.
(C): So you're in distinguished company.
JS: It's an honour. Does this mean I can hang out with Jeff Bridges and John Goodman?
(C): Yes, absolutely. They need someone for their team down at the lanes.
JS: I will give it my all.
(C): Just watch out for the 7-10 split.
JS: And Jesus Quintana.
(C): That goes without saying.
Josh Stafford also programs the annual festivals 'Killer 63' and 'Fake Trailers, Reel Festival.' Life highlights include: having a letter read on-air by David Letterman, shaking hands with Bruce Campbell, going to the mall where Dawn of the Dead was shot, going to the graveyard where Night of the Living Dead was shot, and being killed by Jango Fett in a Star Wars comic. Josh watches a lot of movies, reads a lot of comics, and loves roller derby.
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: all the best ladies are on his arm
, fundraising like a fool
, geek cred
, girl needs to eat a sandwich
, haters gonna hate
, indie comedy cred
, out on the town