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|Written by April Yorke|
|Friday, 02 September 2011 13:25|
"I always think that even the most casual of movie fan has no excuse not to go at least every couple weeks. Really every week!" It might sound like hyperbole, but the Mayfair has the goods to back it up. (Cult)ure chatted with Josh Stafford, one of the theatre's co-owners and its resident geek-in-chief, about what's coming up in September, whether the theatre will allow you to throw a toaster through the screen, and what Quentin Tarantino is "known for."
(Cult)ure: What are you most excited about for September?
Josh Stafford: In terms of stuff I've seen before, if I have to pick one, it's Exit through the Giftshop. For new stuff, I'm very curious about Red State.
(C): Kevin Smith's so-called last movie.
JS: Second last, he's got a hockey movie after that. Then I predict in a few years we'll see Clerks 3.
(C): In the meantime, though, political-horror.
JS: Yes. It's interesting for behind the scenes reasonings 'cause it's being rolled out in indie theatres only and then interesting 'cause besides in comic books he doesn't write outside of Jay & Silent Bob territory often. Even Zack & Miri and Cop Out were comedic and potty-mouthed.
(C): He didn't write Cop Out.
JS: No . . . but I bet he did unofficially.
(C): Right. Outside of all that, it's alien-city.
JS: Super 8 gave the excuse to show a couple of the films that JJ Abrams looked to for inspiration like ET and Close Encounters and Empire of the Sun, another 80s Spielberg movie starring a kid in the midst of an epic tale.
(C): Which is phenomenal.
JS: And stars a tiny Christian Bale.
(C): And Ben Stiller as a thug named Dainty.
JS: I wish we coulda shown Goonies.
(C): As some sort of 80s family adventure movie set?
JS: A ton of great movies just aren't available.
(C): How hard does that make it to program a series?
JS: It just makes some stuff impossible like showing a George Lucas fest would be doable . . . but no Star Wars or Willow, but we've shown American Graffiti and Indiana Jones and Howard the Duck!
(C): I've noticed the tough guy/tough gal double bill ratio is two to one.
JS: Sigourney is twice as awesome so it evens out.
(C): Just a badass in the extreme?
JS: Aliens is on the list of movies I never get tired of. Never. It's like a great World War II escape from the bad guys movie, packed with characters that you don't want to die, and the scariest monsters in movie history. Every time I watch it, somewhere in the back of my head I hope the characters don't die . . . and they always do. And that's a real compliment to the script and actors, especially Bill Paxton. He's amazing in it.
(C): It seems like you also have a lot of special events going on as well.
JS: We've got the Sin Sisters Burlesque hosting a film, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, which is a worthwhile screening in itself 'cause it's Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds. This was when (I'm pretty sure this isn't a lie) Burt was the biggest movie star on the planet, and Dolly the most popular singer. It's a neat drive-in kinda movie, good for late late fare.
(C): Have you shown it before? Do people sing along?
JS: We have not. I would hazard a guess that the last time it played here was 1982.
(C): So all those people who have been waiting for a revival will finally see their day in the sun?
JS: Yes. The thousands of local fans . . .
(C): I bet they are out there. Dolly is a big deal.
JS: Yes. As a bonus, there will be an opening act provided by Sin Sisters Burlesque. They're doing a couple numbers starting at 11 pm. That's my favourite Mayfair stuff, awesome special events on top of the great movies.
(C): Will the other midnight movies be as fun?
JS: The next night we have Grizzly, which I've never seen and am looking forward to. It's essentially a blatant Jaws rip-off, like the same story but with a bear. Just a good old-fashioned, low budget rip-off movie. Real drive in kinda stuff that just doesn't exist anymore.
(C): Well, people try. Do they not achieve?
JS: But without drive-ins and grindhouses . . . just not the same. Closest thing is bad sci-fi channel stuff, but nothing much like that in theatres.
(C): Rubber! Didn't you just show Rubber?
JS: Yes. And Hobo With a Shotgun and Machete. Few and far in between, though.
(C): Fair enough. But that's not it for midnight movies this month.
JS: Wait . . . my favourite bit about Grizzly!
(C): Tell it!
JS: 1) Made for $750,000 and made almost $40 million. 2) In 1983 they did a sequel, and it somehow never got released. It's sitting on a shelf somewhere. In that movie. . . Charlie Sheen and George Clooney!
JS: I have no idea why someone hasn't released it at least on DVD.
(C): Legal reasons, probably, but they should really get on that.
JS: I wanna see lil' George and Charlie fight bears!
(C): I want to see them wrestle bears, and one will die, and the other will shed a single tear before rallying to kill that damn bear.
JS: We'll nevvvvvver know.
(C): Tear. What about the other midnight movies?
JS: Astro Zombies on the 9th and Monster A Go Go on Oct 1. Duelling it out for worst movie of all time status. The MST3K guys, who are quite the experts, say that Monster A Go Go is the worst thing they've ever seen. It's our monthly free movie for members.
(C): Now THAT's a recommendation. So how does Astro Zombies stack up then?
JS: Well, I haven't seen it, but it does come from the director of Mission Killfast! and War Cat! and Corpse Grinders 2! So yeah, cinematic classic I'm sure.
JS: We have the 25th month of The Room.
(C): That is one helluva run.
JS: It's possibly the greatest train wreck of a movie ever made. You just can't look away. I saw it with a big group of folks a lil' while back, and one friend just kept being confused as to if it were real. It took some convincing that the people involved were trying to make a drama.
(C): As to whether it was serious or in jest?
(C): That's the best part! The seriousness! You can't make a terrible movie intentionally.
JS: It's amazing just in the chaos theory of it all. There's a ton of bad movies made all the time. This one got a review, someone read that, went to see it, then the ball rolled.
(C): You definitely need a groundswell to make a successful cult bad movie. It's all about the word of mouth.
JS: And hard to recreate, that's why he's [writer/director/star Tommy Wiseau] just been riding the waves of this for years instead of doing a new film.
(C): He should. He should rest on his laurels.
JS: It's from 2003!
(C): Yes, but how can he make something new knowing that everyone will just compare it to The Room?
JS: People will be upset if it's not fun bad and just bad.
(C): Too much pressure. Better to burn out than to fade away.JS: We hope to have him back for the Blu-ray release, early 2012 I think. And for now we have Rocky Horror, which should be a good turn out with the college kids back in class.
(C): Mostly young'uns, is it?
JS: No! Last time there was all sorts! It's 36 years old. So imagine if someone saw it in '75 as a teen, they'd be in early 50s.
(C): Or maybe they just saw it in Fame and wondered what was going on or on Glee or read about it in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
JS: Fine by me, as long as they show up.
(C): But I feel like the dancing and acting is a young person's game.
JS: Our screenings have an extra lil' push, too, led by these folks called the Absent Friends shadow cast. They are all dressed up and kinda band lead from the stage.
(C): And there is the throwing of things?
JS: Yuh huh. We discourage some of the throwing just 'cause it's soooo impossible to clean, but people have been very respectful of that.
(C): Of course, they want you to bring it back.
JS: Yes. "Please do not throw any toasters through the screen."
(C): Sounds like a reasonable request.
JS: People come from Montreal to see it. They don't have it anywhere there.
(C): Aw, movie road trips! That's dedication.
JS: A guy I know in Montreal is hoping to come to Aliens. Seeing it on big screen is on his bucket list. And there's our monthly Drunken Master's Dojo. This month it's Eastern Condors, a highly touted martial arts war movie with Sammo Hung, unlikeliest action hero ever.
(C): And now, an important question. Should I give Pulp Fiction another try?
JS: Yes. I just don't think there's anything wrong with that movie: the actors, the music, the very un-Hollywood story structure. You got Travolta and Uma dancing. You got Sam Jackson giving biblical speeches. Gunplay. Tim Roth. Revenge. Girls. Gangsters. Mysterious suitcase.
(C): See, all of that stuff SOUNDS like it's adding up to a movie I want to see, but then I watch it and . . . eh.
JS: Weird. It's also Quentin's second of two movies before he broke up with his writing partner, and I think it's been downhill slightly since then.
(C): Really? I think Sally Menke was his most important collaborator.
JS: Yes, her, too.
(C): It's all in the editing.
JS: I just find his stuff amazingly uneven. It's a drama one second and a cartoon the next. Or filled with lots of unnecessary talking.
(C): Isn't that what he's known for?
JS: I dunno. Is it?
(C): Maybe not unnecessary, but for making movies that combined a lot of talking with sudden bursts of violence.
JS: I just think he loves himself a lil' too much, and no one tells him to not put a tribute to his own movies in the title cards for Inglourious Basterds. I think he suffers for it. That's just me, though. I see him do stuff like that, and I groan.
(C): Maybe it's fan service.
JS: Or Quentin service.
(C): One or the other.
JS: But no, there's nothing I don't like in Pulp Fiction.
(C): Anything else to get excited about this month?
JS: I'm looking forward to our docs this month.
(C): I like the look of From the Back of the Room.
JS: Yes, I'm a big fan of rock and roll chicks. Shut up Little Man is about the early days of viral video. The birth of YouTube generation. And there's Elmo doc [Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey] which I think'll be really good.
(C): Yes! Apparently you find out that his whole life is Elmo, which is just so beautiful.
JS: I've seen him interviewed before where he talks about how no one even looks at him, there's this magic, and kids just look at Elmo even when he's standing in plain sight. Elmo is interesting in that he was initially just a random background filler Muppet. Then he [Kevin Clash] got a hold of him, and it became a phenomenon. We're also showing Elmo in Grouchland for the kiddies, too.
(C): So it's a win-win.
JS: I like having kids' matinees especially when it's the kid's first movie, and it blows their minds. Or if they've been to the multiplex and are much more impressed by our big screen and couches and such.
(C): I think the big kids are impressed by that, too.
JS: Hope so. I like the diversity. Mainstream stuff, midnight movies, kid's movies, classics . . . Really is something for everyone. Monster A Go Go isn't for everyone. Or Red State. But Woody Allen or Spielberg or Elmo doc or Beginners with Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor. Lots of good!
(C): Is there really a person who can't find ANYTHING to see in that? I say ye nay.
JS: Our patrons are way better than multiplex ones with the talking and the texting, etc.
(C): So you've never had people yelling over texting?
JS: I yell at people, but it's rare.
(C): That's good.
JS: No, Mayfair is a more respectful bunch for sure.
Josh Stafford also programs the annual festivals 'Killer63' 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 is a young woman with a demure disposition who gives her opinions in a soft and hesitant voice. Deep down, though, she possesses the silent knowledge that she is right about everything pop culture-because she has memorized every single book, film, and TV show in the history of Western society-and thus looks down with secret scorn upoan anyone who has the temerity to disagree with her.
Tags: aliens, burt reynolds, cinema, cult, dolly parton, elmo, grindhouse, grizzly, is this movie for real?, jj abrams, josh stafford, kevin smith, mayfair, monster a go go, ottawa, quentin tarantino, responsibility, rocky horror picture show, sigourney weaver for the everlasting win, stephen speilberg, the room, the worst movie ever made, tiny christian bale