The party is over (see #1), and so is Fantastic Fest. I've averaged four films a day and it's nice to take a break from all of this. Maybe I'll see Looper again. At this point, you all know how great Fantastic Fest is thanks to our vast coverage. There hasn't been a strong presence of horror films this year at the festival, and that's fine by me. In Volume 1 I spoke of Tim League forgetting his film, the wonderfully odd, and the flat-out great flick I Declare War.
Read: The Craziest Fantastic Fest Moments, Volume 1
Here is the final installment of the Craziest Moments of Fantastic Fest 2012.
10. Every Marriage Could Use a Jolt of Taped
There may not be much horror to choose from at the festival this year, but there are plenty of thrills -- dare I say, even thrill rides. Taped really worked for me, and it looks like eventually you'll get to choose between this foreign version and the American remake (Sony has acquired it). It's about a marriage that may be falling apart, but then the couple are witness to a crime. I was so caught up in the thrills and the chills that at one point I actually pointed up at the screen. Why you ask? Because I wanted the characters on the screen to look behind them, and they weren't. Here's the thing: I never do that (until now). The best part is the guy next to me did the same thing.
9. The Gay Basher
I think I'm allowed to say that since it is the character's nickname in Black Out. This is one of the film's many villains, and they do a fantastic job showing that the basher is not to be messed with. He's willing to torture and has found a new, slow, insanely painful way to get information out of people. Bamboo grows a half millimeter a day. It is cut sharp, and he grows it underneath a man who is gagged, sitting on a chair. Think he'll eventually talk once the bamboo starts to penetrate the skin?
8. Feed Me
Let's talk about food for a second, OK? I care a great deal about putting quality food in my belly. The Drafthouse has the best variety of tasty food of any movie theater chain I've ever entered. The Salted Caramel milkshake, the pizzas, burgers and wraps make it a place you can be happy. Sure, having beer and wine (named after The Princess Bride) doesn't hurt either. If you ever find yourself in Austin, Texas you need to focus on a few places outside of the Alamo Drafthouse to grab a bite too. Here's three: 1) Torchy's Tacos. In Portland, Oregon (where I live) there is a lack of good, reasonably priced Mexican food. Torchy's gets the job done.
Since Franklin's BBQ (and the three-hour wait) was closed this week, I checked out JMueller BBQ and was not disappointed. Not only that, there was no line at 12:30. It won't be the last time I eat their beef brisket if you know what I mean. (I mean I'll be eating there again). If you want something besides tacos or BBQ, there is Elizabeth Street Café. Get the Banh Mi House Speciality with chicken-liver mousse, pork pâté and roasted pork.
7. Eli Roth Is Excited to See You
My thought on Roth (Hostel) is that he loves gore for gore's sake more than I do. That's it. I couldn't help but find his pre-game speech for Aftershock pretty cool. Nicolás López and Roth talked to the audience before the film played. Roth looked giddy and told the story about how he talked about hoping this film could play at the Drafthouse. That might not sound like much, but think about it. In the city you live in, how many directors and producers have conversations about being excited to show a movie in a theater near you? That's the crazy power of the Alamo Drafthouse. Roth had an excited smile on his face the entire time he was there. While I did like a good bit of Aftershock, there was finally a film that was too rape-y. I'm never a fan of gratuitous rape and I feel like Afershock does it.
6. Tim League Redeems Himself (Sort of)
In Volume 1 I explained that League forgot the final cut of his film, The ABC's of Death. On Monday night at Fantastic Feud, he found redemption. League shined, even though he had enjoyed a few beers, and he did so with puffs of smoke occasionally in the air (comedian Doug Benson was on the American team versus the international team, and, well, he likes to smoke things). Fantastic Feud is similar to Family Feud, but for movie geeks. Scott Weinberg created this six years ago, and is still doing a great job running the show.
Here's a sample question: In 1986, Veronica Quaife was worried she was impregnated with a baby what? So, how did League shine? First off, he shocked a few people with his movie knowledge. He also bought the entire jam-packed theater a round of beers, and kissed critic Drew McWeeny on the mouth. My two favorite parts were when out of nowhere he created the "Fantastic Fest Black List" and put someone on it for helping out the international squad. Even better, he declared The Wizard of Oz had the worst twist ending ever (the crowd booed), and then accurately defended it by screaming, "It's all a dream?" Unfortunately, he only sort of redeems himself, because for the first time ever, the international team won.
5. Be a Woman Seriously.
If you are a woman who is a movie geek, there is no better place to be adored. You should see the flock that have followed around the codirectors (and twins) Jen and Sylvia Soska of American Mary. If you are looking for a man who wears ironic T-shirts, has bad facial hair, and a potential weight problem, you will have a 15:1 ratio and have your pick of men.
4. "We had a lot of dead babies in the end."
That's exactly the type of comment you would expect during Fantastic Fest. What you wouldn't expect is that line came from Andy Wachowski. He and Lana Wachowski were in attendance for the U.S. premiere of Cloud Atlas. His "dead babies" luckily wasn't about dead babies. I repeat, there are no dead babies in the film. Instead he was talking about the editing process. I didn't read the novel by David Mitchell, but from what the Wachowskis said, their flow in the film is different than the novel. They had to leave many different "dead babies" -- or perhaps they could have used the word "moments" or "scenes" -- on the cutting-room floor.
I really enjoyed the simple story, told in an incredibly complex way starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent and many more (each playing multiple characters). Even if you don't end up loving the film, it would be hard not to be impressed with the attempt.
3. Bettendorf, Iowa
When I was three and a half, I moved to Bettendorf, Iowa. My family came with me. I didn't leave until I was 18. It's that interesting? No. It's not, except if you find yourself watching (and loving) The History of Future Folk, then it hits you in an amazing way. The quick story of the film is that aliens (who look like humans) come to Earth to destroy it, but then find music and adore it.
The backstory of one character is that he is from outside of Bettendorf, Iowa. "Bettendorf, Iowa" is said multiple times. I've never once heard it named in a film, and it felt for a split second they were making this movie just for me. Turns out, they weren't. In the Q&A, I asked why the city was in the film, and it's because the producers worked on the film Sugar which was shot near my hometown. Completely logical, but for a second it was magic.
2. Doug Benson Says Hi
Most people would describe Benson as a pot comic, and he doesn't fight the label. For his film The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled he introduced the theater and turned on the SMOKING sign. If people brought some along, they were lighting up while watching the film. He told us beforehand it might not be completely done, and then after the film he actually told us what he was editing based on our reception of the film. The highlight is that he actually thought about giving us commentary from a mic while we were watching the movie. He only did it once, and it was to make fun of his costar Graham Elwood's fashion sense. His next film will continue to follow in Morgan Spurlock's footsteps and be about Benson's adventures at Comic-Con.
1. The Final Night Party
Future Folk rocked the house. They have been a band for six years before the film The History of Future Folk. There was free food, beer and Moscow Mules. There was great food, including pork dumplings and lamb tacos. That's not what will be most remembered. There was free head shaving and tattoos. I stood strong and didn't get either, though I have been thinking about getting another tattoo. Number one on my list of life lessons is, "Don't rush a tattoo when drinking at a party where people are shaving heads." Now you stick to that, and everything else is cream cheese. Once again, crazy. Once again, original. My first Fantastic Fest won't be my last.