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|Written by April Yorke|
|Tuesday, 01 November 2011 11:32|
Each month, (Cult)ure 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 November, we talked about who dares to live forever, the dreamiest baseball exec of all time, and Josh's plan to save us from our alien overlords.
JS: Only be one until the inexplicable sequels, TV shows, cartoons, etc.
(C): Exactly. Why aren't you showing MORE Highlander?
JS: I kinda wanted to show part 2 as well even though it's horrible.
JS: Luckily it's not available. Probably for the best since the original is awesome. It's got Sean Connery with a sword. In Highlander, he's an Egyptian / Spaniard but sounds very Scottish. Connery just doesn't give a damn.
(C): Of course not! He recorded the intro in a bathroom, and it doesn't make a lick of sense.
JS: I always picture him yelling, "I don't care if I'm a Russian submarine captain! I'm Sean f-ing Connery!" And the movie has Queen music! It's good to see it now 'cause I bet there'll be a remake soon.
(C): Yeah, isn't there? Isn't Melissa Rosenberg writing it? (Melissa Rosenberg is the woman who wrote all the Twilight scripts, btw).
JS: Wow! That's a great idea! So it'll be sparkly boy band-looking Highlanders?
(C): Dare to dream! I'm assuming it will be a lot more about FEELINGS and a lot less about killing people with swords.
JS: That was said in sarcasm, but now that I think about it, it will actually be that, won't it? It'll star Justin Bieber.
(C): Are you anti-remakes in general?
JS: Nope. I was just chatting about that the other day in regards to The Thing since I love John Carpenter's version, which is a remake. I've got no problem with them as long as they're good. When a movie is remade within a year just 'cause the American movie-going audience doesn't like reading subtitles or listening to accents . . . not a fan.
(C): But there are no sacred cows for you?
JS: I think Ocean's 11, True Grit, and 3:10 to Yuma are all better than originals. No, no sacred cows . . . especially since JJ and company did so well with the Star Trek non-remake. And it's not a remake, but I loved Rise of the Planet of the Apes a whole bunch.
(C): Me, too! I hope Andy Serkis gets a truckload of awards for that part.
JS: They're gonna try, but a lot of jerks will continue to say that that isn't acting. Same people who cry foul over Toy Story 3 being nominated for best picture.
(C): They can stfu.
JS: I thought I would enjoy Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but it knocked me out. It's completely standalone yet a prequel, so that's cool. It's got great actors and another insane motion capture performance from Andy Serkis. I hate motion capture when done Robert Zemeckis style, but the way it's done in Rise, when it actually serves a purpose to help tell the story, bringing character to an ape, that's amazing. And, if anyone, Andy Serkis should get a nomination. His Caesar is maybe the best character arc of the year -- cute baby to tough angry warrior. I liked that the first part of the movie is scientific drama, really develops its characters, and then has an incredible, climactic, action-packed ending.
(C): Really great use of location, and so thoughtful to give them a specific goal rather than just trying to overthrow all the humans.
JS: And it's got James Franco and Brian Cox and John Lithgow.
(C): So, essentially, you would be stupid to miss it.
JS: Yes. Even if you don't like the originals (which is an insane thought) or haven't seen them, this movie is worth seeing. It's going to make all the top 10 lists, and most think it's the best movie of the summer.
(C): Oh, for sure. You also have Drive this month, which has captured a lot of critical praise.
JS: Yes. And seemed to come out of nowhere. We showed Blue Valentine, too, and it almost killed me. The acting is just so good, and it becomes such a train-wreck for these characters that start off so well. Ryan Gosling seems to be having a great career of movies that no one is seeing.
(C): No one sees it, but everyone seems to know it anyway.
JS: Yeah, "I hear that's great." But then they go see Transformers 3. It's the Serenity syndrome. When Serenity came out it was insanely well reviewed, everyone loved it, and Catwoman and Deuce Bigalow 2 made more money.
(C): Oh, sweet fancy Moses. Who even remembers those movies? No one's life has been made complete by Deuce Bigalow 2.
JS: And Transformers 1 - 3 made like 3 billion dollars.
(C): Didn't we all learn an important lesson from the first one?
JS: In conclusion, go watch Drive.
JS: Or Contagion or Moneyball or Senna.
(C): Really, any of those. Mostly Moneyball for my money, but I am a baseball movie sucker.
JS: It's weird, I hate baseball, but baseball movies are always good!
(C): Baseball movies cut out all the boring parts, so you don't have to worry about your knowledge of the infield fly rule.
JS: Jonah Hill pitching the movie on Letterman was funny. He knew that trying to convince people to watch a movie about math and baseball was an uphill climb.
(C): Just forget the math part, I say. In part, it's about how you can build a strong, successful team without relying on flashy players.
JS: And it has hunky Brad Pitt. The dreamiest baseball exec of all time.
(C): You ran the numbers on that, did ya?
JS: Yes, very complicated.
(C): Good thing you can write algorithms.
JS: And he's pals with Clooney and Damon, so that makes the dreamy factor even higher. I do like all those guys for not just doing action movies and dumb romantic comedies. I wish them no specific ill will but am glad when a Sarah Jessica Parker or Matthew McConaughey movie tanks.
(C): He should just make more movies like The Lincoln Lawyer. Otherwise, yes. What passes for a romantic comedy these days hurts me.
(C): So you've got another food doc on the schedule.
JS: A Matter of Taste. Follows nine years in the life of a young punk of a chef who becomes a super star. A tortured genius of haute cuisine. Food docs have done well with us. I really loved Kings of Pastry. Yeah, it's a rise and fall and rise character arc for him. The constant stress and trouble of running a restaurant . . . I know folks who work in that industry, it's crazy. One of my best friends works 12 hour days, 5 days a week in a fancy restaurant. Makes for good stories, though.
(C): That's so exhausting.
JS: It's a battle. Wait, I forgot about the other 80s nights!
(C): There are MORE?!
JS: Yeah, along with Highlander, our Lost Marbles 80s Nights include Ice Pirates and King Kong Lives. KKL is a very 80s sequel, all with pre-CG effects that Peter Jackson was able to utilize for his King Kong.
(C): How so? Wasn't that the motion capture genius Andy Serkis?
JS: Yes. Mayfair cross-over! But in King Kong Lives, it was mostly a guy in a suit. It has a great poster, though, and Linda Hamilton. It's actually sequel to the equally enjoyably bad 1976 King Kong, which starred Jeff Bridges! The other 80s offering is The Ice Pirates. It's a really rare/hard to track down sci-fi comedy that came out on the heels of Star Wars. Basically toss all the sci-fi genres going on at the time together, come out with The Ice Pirates. Seemed to have a bit of Mad Max, a bit of Flash Gordon, a bit of Star Wars, but had that goofy 80s Police Academy mentality to it. These are all presented by our friends at Lost Marbles, and, as is the normal bonus, we'll have some great prizes to give away.
(C): Are they fabulous prizes?
JS: Yes. I always want to keep them for myself, but that would be wrong. They are also presenting/prizing the premiere of Vigilante Vigilante.
(C): Which is a doc about people who graffiti over graffiti?
JS: Yup, kind of spins out of ideas formed in Exit Through the Gift Shop. What is art? What is crime? Why are billboards okay but not street art?
(C): But these guys have been at it for years, no?
JS: Yeah, and I look at street art vs. graffiti mess and think distinction is pretty clear. I see both sides of the argument . . . but I also have a Banksy tattoo, so I'm not exactly fair and balanced on this. This kind of movie is perfect for the Mayfair. It's the kind of stuff we love that we're able to premiere in Ottawa, that wouldn't have a place to be seen in a theatre otherwise.
(C): Like While You Were On Facebook?
JS: That, too! Or Dear God No! or The Whale or An Insignificant Harvey. Really diverse stuff.
(C): I'm a little concerned about Dear God No! since the trailer is NSFW.
JS: Yes, it isn't messing around. An homage to 1970s grindhouse/drive-in movies. Not for everyone. If offended by Dear God No!, please remember that we also show nice movies, too, like Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club. Those trailers are safe for work.
(C): And life. It's all about the Molly Ringwald.
JS: I love the Molly Ringwald.
JS: !?! I want to see that now please.
(C): They really need to take it on the road.
JS: JK Simmons!
(C): I know, right?
JS: So is this gonna be a movie now, too?
(C): Nah, I doubt it, but I wouldn't turn down a video of the staged reading since how else will we see it?
JS: Yup, they should come do it at the Mayfair.
(C): Make sure you put that out there to the right people.
JS: What's Reitman's phone number?
(C): I'm sure you can just Google it.
JS: He's a nice Canadian boy. I'm sure we can work this out.
(C): I'll hold ya to that. I keep thinking you are showing Pretty in Pink and have to remember that it's Sixteen Candles.
JS: You'll have to be content with a double dose of Molly for now.
(C): It would be either way. It's just that I love Pretty in Pink so much.
JS: More than Breakfast Club?!
(C): More than Sixteen Candles. Probably less than The Breakfast Club. Yeah . . . less. I always found it funny that Jake Ryan up and decided that he wanted a girlfriend that would worship him instead of his high maintenance girl and then went out and found her.
JS: I think the highlight of the movie is Anthony Michael Hall. You watch him and realize that he should be a super star.
(C): Even now? Even after The Dead Zone?
JS: Well, no. But back then. Talented kid.
(C): I think he just grew up.
JS: Maybe. He was in Edward Scissorhands.
(C): Yes, as the jerk. Wait, what was that baseball movie he made?
JS: Oh yeah . . . I remember that.
(C): I remember reading an interview with him about learning to pitch south paw, and the costumers came up to him with this backwards uniform. They were just going to flip the negative.
(C): Movie magic! In the meantime, I see you've got a little Coen thing going on this month.
JS: Yes. I wish it was more Coen-y. This was best we could do for now, though. I wanna show O Brother and Hudsucker Proxy and others, but these three we got are great. The Big Lebowski is a perfect movie. There is nothing wrong in it. Not the slightest misstep. And was nominated for zero Oscars.
(C): It is how Jeff Bridges will forever be remembered.
JS: Having seen him on a number of late night talk shows, he is very Dude-ish. And although Nic Cage has done 20 or 30 bad movies in a row, don't let that detract you from Raising Arizona. Please disregard Ghost Rider, Drive Angry, Season of the Witch, Knowing, Bangkok Dangerous, Wicker Man, National Treasure, etc. Way back when he did some good stuff.
(C): I take it you are not among the many who have embraced Ridiculous Cage?
JS: No, I have not, though Conan's Nic Cage Terror Alert bit is hilarious.
(C): You do know it's down to his financial troubles, right? And his (probable) actual craziness?
JS: Yes. I feel bad 'cause he had to sell his comic collection. Poor bastard.
(C): He should really try selling one of his 17 castles.
JS: How's he gonna get by with only 16?!
(C): You're right. He's only thinking of Kal-el's future.
JS: How could a guy who is clearly such a geek make a comic book movie so bad?!
(C): I know, I feel bad because he tried for so long to get a comic book movie off the ground.
JS: At least GR2 is from the guys who made Crank and Jonah Hex . . . Oh, wait. . .
(C): Thus you are not among those who appreciate how balls out Crank and Crank 2 are.
JS: No, hurts my brain. They are barely feature length.
(C): They are barely features, though my love of Jason Statham is undiminished. Alright, enough negativity: The Dark Crystal!!!!
JS: Pure movie magic, AND it made no money! Further proof that we live in a terrible world.
(C): Did this come out before or after Labyrinth?
(C): Did it do better?
JS: I could be wrong but don't think either did really well. Same with stuff like Willow. It wasn't a great time for that genre.
(C): It's kind of unfair that Labyrinth has better survived as a cult classic than The Dark Crystal.
JS: David Bowie's fault?
(C): Maybe The Dark Crystal isn't traumatic enough.
JS: Wow . . . Labyrinth made about $13 million, The Dark Crystal, 40. So it actually did better but not great.
(C): Then it is doubly unfair that Labyrinth lives on. Tell 'em what they are missing, Josh.
JS: On the heels of all the Muppets success, Jim Henson wanted to do something completely new, so he, Brian Froud, and Frank Oz and the gang created a brand new world. It's even more alien and fantastic than your Star Wars' or Lords of the Rings' 'cause it's all puppetry. Not a single human being in the thing.
(C): Excellent. Is there singing?
(C): Wha? Well, there you have it.
JS: It's more "real world."
(C): That's why people remember Labyrinth better.
JS: Mayhaps. Dark Crystal takes itself a bit more seriously, I guess.
(C): Hopefully not too seriously.
JS: No, but it would be equally out of place if Ian McKellen or Alec Guinness started singing.
(C): I suppose so, though I would never begrudge Sir Ian a soft shoe.
JS: As hokey as it may sound, Dark Crystal is movie magic and is maybe even better proof than Muppets that Jim Henson was a genius.
(C): That is some inflammatory language.
JS: If you had to show one thing to aliens or time travelers, and you could show an episode of Muppet Show or Dark Crystal . . . that would be a tough call.
(C): I guess you better figure that one out.
JS: I'm on it. Use that Moneyball math.
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: average, cinema, jerks can stfu, mayfair, ottawa, punk rock chefs, sir ian does a soft shoe, sparkly boy bands, there can be only one, twilight