1) Penn Station Krispy Kreme (the only one in NYC), in lieu of Gordough's or Voodoo.
2) Delaney BBQ in Brooklyn (aka Briskettown), in lieu of Franklin BBQ.
1/4 lb. pulled pork, 1/4 lb. brisket, one "hot link" (sausage), mac and cheese, and a Mexican Coke. Could only eat half before meat sweats and heavy breathing began. Asked for to-go boxes and was disappointed in self.
3) Oaxaca Taqueria, in lieu of Torchy's.
Krampus - Very fun. Directed by Mike Dougherty, who's been to BNAT a couple of times and whose previous movie Trick 'r Treat basically saved BNAT 9 (after having to follow slavesploitation "classic" Farewell Uncle Tom). Nearly murdered three annoying young women who talked and laughed through entire movie (which they were clearly paying no attention to).
Night Warning in 35mm, presented by Nitehawk Cinema's "The Deuce" series. A fave from my very first BNAT. Audience was great but paled in comparison to the 2002 crowd that watched it around midnight, on the heels of Crippled Avengers. Great history lesson before movie about video stores on the older and seedier 42nd Street, as well as the "video nasty" movement (Night Warning was on that list back in the day).
First, here's what everyone saw in Austin at the real BNAT.
1) Gunga Din (1939) - Cary Grant and friends in Imperial India
2) Southern Comfort (1981) - white dudes and guns, the ongoing saga
3) Syncopation (1942) - the story of how white people stole jazz music from black people
4) Eddie the Eagle (2016) - plus Q&A with Taron Egerton
5) The Tale of the Fox (1930) - one of the first ever stop-motion animation movies
6) Anomalisa (2015) - the most recent stop-motion film, and Charlie Kaufman's latest
*** Between movies, there was a BNAT wedding between George and Lola, who met at BNAT three years ago; officiated by Harry, with Elijah Wood as ringbearer, because of course.***
7) Phantasm (1979) - beautiful new 4k print, lovingly restored by JJ Abrams and Bad Robot
8) The Angry Red Planet (1959) - a lady scientist???
9) Ninjabusters (1984) - a less charming/sincere Miami Connection
10) Logan's Run (1976) - once you turn 30, it's all over, literally
11) The Revenant (2015) - Leo and Tom Hardy in Innaritu's survival drama; no bear rape
For myself, I'd planned out my own lineup several weeks in advance, roughly around the time that people were submitting their applications for the real BNAT. Twelve movies, none of which I'd seen before, and from a wide variety of eras and genres. A couple weeks ago, there was about an hour -- one feverish, blissful hour -- where I thought I would be able to make it to Austin anyway to try for standby tickets (because I've been getting a lot of extra hours at work), but the flights I could afford weren't at the right times and the flights that were at the right times were too expensive. Ah well. I was still very excited to see the lineup I'd worked out.
I'd stockpiled food and supplies, and I'd meticulously scheduled everything so that there were 10-minute breaks, just like there would be at BNAT. My old speakers crapped out on my Utah trip this summer, so I had to get some new cheap ones, and I test drove them with Spartacus last weekend to great success. In the end, including breaks, it would be about 26.5 hours, and as I ate breakfast (eggs and country ham, the latter of which I had gleefully acquired at Zabar's, perhaps the only place in NYC where you can *get* country ham), I was getting impatient to slap eyes on all this cinematic goodness.
So here's the rundown. All movies rated/evaluated by way of Hamilton lyrics.
1) The Island of Lost Souls (1932)
[Trailers - Stunt Rock, Secret of Magic Island, The Mutations]
This is one that, as a film fan, I really should have seen by now. I'd heard about it for years, and it was even more wonderful than I was expecting. The makeup effects are simply stunning for 1932. Charles Laughton gives a characteristically great performance. Kathleen Burke was amazing as the Panther Woman. And now I finally know where "Are we not men?" comes from. I give this one a "Dag, I amaze and astonish."
2) King Creole (1958)
[Trailers - Hard Times, Jailhouse Rock, Stay Away Joe]
So, not only had I never seen this movie before, I'd never seen an Elvis movie before. There were more obvious choices, like Jailhouse Rock and Blue Hawaii, but this movie is largely considered his greatest role, and it's a Michael Curtiz film, so decision made. This is one of those stories where the main character is just stuck in an endless loop of shitty situations that aren’t exactly his fault. Walter Matthau makes a surprisingly great bad guy. Carolyn Jones (known elsewhere as Morticia Addams) is superb as well. I give this a "You keep out of trouble and you double your choices."
3) La Belle et la Bete (1946)
[Trailers - Beauty and the Beast (1991), Peadu d'Ane, Teen Wolf]
I'd had this Criterion Blu-ray for about five years and had never gotten around to watching it. Lovely, occasionally absurd version of the fairy tale we all know and love. Amazing, dream-like visuals. The effect of the glove transport device was particularly cool, especially the first time you see it (I mean, it's fairly simple, but still cool). The living statues were SO CREEPY. The stepsisters were SO HORRIBLE. The only thing that confused me was why the prince, once he was human, ended up looking like Belle’s former suitor (who in turn died and became a beast). Was it just for the symmetry? I give this an "I look into your eyes and the sky's the limit."
4) Viva Maria! (1965)
[Trailers - Thelma & Louise, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Vera Cruz]
Very fun movie about two women named Maria; one of them grew up as a revolutionary, and the other is a dance hall girl, and each of them learns the other’s trade along the way. Lovely, fairly feminist movie (for the 60s, anyway). I wish we had spent a little less time on the dance hall montage, though. I can appreciate that people love to look at Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau stripping, but did we need to see *that* much of it? Nonetheless, I give this an "EVERYONE GIVE IT UP FOR [MY] FAVORITE FIGHTIN' FRENCH[WOMEN]."
5) Carmen Jones (1954)
[Trailers - The Loves of Carmen, Island in the Sun, Cabin in the Sky]
This musical takes its melodies from Bizet’s opera Carmen, and a *smidgen* of the plot of the novel, but little else. It's also the very first movie Saul Bass designed an opening credit sequence for. Dorothy Dandridge is wonderful, and Pearl Bailey — everyone is, really. Like all tragedies, though, it’s frustrating to watch the characters make such consistently bad choices. I give this a "Lord, show me how to say no to this."
6) Bone Tomahawk (2015)
[Trailers - Ravenous, The Thing (1982), The Searchers]
This premiered at this year's Fantastic Fest, and it's mostly a slow-burn western, with a dash of horror thrown in. I’m not sure I’d officially classify it as horror, though, because an overwhelming majority of the screen time is a road story. But when shit gets real, it gets REAL. There is one scene that literally took my breath away, and it took everything I had not to scream. I will never look at a wishbone the same way again. My favorite thing, though, is that the ultimate survivors are the *last* people you expect to still be around. I give this an "I'm not standing still; I am lying in wait."
7) Tokyo Tribe (2015)
I’m certain I would have taken to this more if I’d seen it in a theater full of people. It was a Fantastic Fest movie last year, and I can only imagine how much fun that screening was. As it is, I *did* enjoy this psychedelic tale of gang warfare in an alternate-universe Tokyo, but it’s SO BIZARRE. I also spent a good deal of time rocking my head to the rap soundtrack, and I’m rather glad no one was around to witness that. The action is really great, the soundtrack is great, the plot is a little challenging to keep up with, but it works. The ending, though. Seriously? THAT’S the reason for the big rivalry?! This one gets a Thomas Jefferson "Whaaaaaaat?!"
8) ...All the Marbles (1981)
[Trailers - The Dirty Dozen, Body Slam, The Cheap Detective]
I loved this. A lot. It's a surprisingly emotional story about a female tag-team wrestling duo (Vicki Frederick, Laurene Landon) and their manager (Peter Falk). It was the last film made by Robert Aldrich (who made The Dirty Dozen and Kiss Me Deadly and other greats). Just watching these three characters struggle so hard to make it big - and the occasionally humiliating things they have to do along the way - is really compelling to watch. I loved the parallel (as sad as it was) to Pagliacci. I give it a "Just stay alive, that would be enough."
9) Yes Madam (1985) (a.k.a Super Cops, a.k.a Police Assassins, a.k.a Lady Hard: The Great Hong Kong Crime Investigation, which is clearly the greatest film title of all time)
[Trailers - Sting of the Dragon Masters, My Young Auntie, Mission Thunderbolt]
This was very silly but very VERY fun. The plot reminded me a LOT of Pickup on South Street, as strange as that may sound, because the whole thing revolves around everyone trying to get their hands on a microfilm. Ridiculous, over-the-top action (the first three minutes of this movie make the “Fast and the Furious” movies look like Easy Rider), hilarious dubbing and even more hilarious 1980s clothes (Cynthia Rothrock unironically wears some bib overalls like she just joined Dexys Midnight Runners, it’s the BEST). The final showdown reminded me a lot of the final showdown in Road House, and that is obviously about the highest compliment I can pay ANY movie. (If only a polar bear had fallen on someone.) I give this a "...Ben Franklin with a key and a kite."
[I actually pooped out at this point. Having to do everything myself, plus not having a room full of people to bolster my energy took its toll. So I put the lineup on pause and continued the next day.]
10) The Black Gestapo (1975)
[Trailers (NSFW) - Loose Shoes clip (BNATers will know the one), Putney Swope, Brotherhood of Death]
I knew it wasn’t going to be as incendiary as, say, Farewell Uncle Tom, and I *was* going for something that was “kind of offensive but not too outrageous.” But after watching this movie, I kind of wish I’d had more reason to be enraged because it’s actually kind of dull. It’s a classic “power corrupts” story and “fighting a thing so long that you become the thing.” But with a title like “The Black Gestapo,” I was expecting a little more umph, you know? The actual comparisons to the gestapo are the most outrageous bits, but that’s literally only one scene aside from the opening credits (and the design of the army’s uniforms, which are deliberately made to look like the SS uniforms). It was also a really crappy print and/or transfer, and its crappiness was magnified by being projected onto my big screen. Easily my least favorite. I give it an "I'm not here for you."
11) Red Rock West (1993)
Man, this was GREAT. I highly recommend checking it out on Netflix or wherever you can find it. How had I never heard of this before a few months ago?! Nicolas Cage plays Michael, a drifter who is mistaken by J.T. Walsh’s character Wayne as a man named Lyle who he’s hiring to kill his wife (played by Lara Flynn Boyle). Eventually, Michael runs into the *real* Lyle (played by Dennis Hopper) and reversals and back-stabbings ensue. Cage and Hopper in the same movie was enough reason for me to want to see this. And this is Cage at the beginning of his rom-com phase, before the Oscar, before the action movies, and well before he became a meme. The movie is straight up noir, along the lines of Blood Simple, that delivers twist after twist after twist. Outstanding. Probably my favorite vintage, along with All the Marbles. I give it a "...changes the game, plays and he raises the stakes."
Technical difficulties made the last film SUCH a frustrating watch (notably the WAY out-of-sync subtitles), but despite all that, it was easily my favorite thing that I watched. Someone one the BNAT Facebook group posted a clip from it, and I knew it had to be a part of this lineup.
12) Baahubali: The Beginning (2015)
Beautiful. Epic. Extraordinary. This is billed as “India’s biggest blockbuster” and it’s not hard to see why. I loved every gorgeous frame of this. It’s your basic hero myth, but with some truly stunning and imaginative visuals, AMAZING battle scenes, and despite the fact that it’s largely about men, there are some truly kickass female characters. Gorgeous music as well. It’s the first part of a two-parter and the second part will be out late next year. I will definitely be on the lookout for it, because the end of part one is SUCH a gut punch. I give this a swoony "You walked in and my heart went 'BOOM'."
Clearly, this was no substitute for being in Austin with everybody and letting Harry surprise me. But I had fun, and I was proud of my programming efforts. :D