I'm back to put a bow on Fantastic Fest 2013, otherwise known as "The Greatest Film Festival Known to Me." In Part I we talked about Bill and Ted being reunited, my touch with the Fantastic Flu, and my adoration of the film The Congress. While I may try and attend Sundance for the first time, or might pull off returning to SXSW for another go, I am already planning September for my third Fantastic Fest.
Here is the second part of the craziest moments of Fantastic Fest.
8. Pat Healy Really Is That Nice
In Part I, I mentioned that everyone who encountered actor Pat Healy (Cheap Thrills) has said he's nice. They were right. Thanks to the power of Twitter, I asked Healy for an interview for the podcast I cohost with Eric D. Snider (Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider). We went back and forth (without any publicists) and set something up for noon on Tuesday. He apologized for being a little late, and gave me as much time as I wanted. I assumed that would be 20 minutes, but when we finished up it was a great 51-minute interview that included talk of his friend Brad Pitt, some rapid-fire questions at the end, and Healy discussing in detail the greatest moment of his life. Listen here.
7. French Kiss
If you mention a french kiss at Fantastic Fest, there will be no follow-up talk about Meg Ryan, Kevin Kline or anything that could be defined as "sweet." In the insane flick Why Don't You Play in Hell? there is a moment when a young woman decides a man must die. She finishes him off by having him chew glass, which she thrusts around with her tongue. The exclamation point comes when she's able to push a piece of glass through his cheek. Seek this film out, especially for magnificent ending.
6. Blood Spurts
The funniest moment in a film occurred for me during Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, a messy epic from Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle). A side character has a blood-spurting machine that just won't turn off. There was an insane amount of giggling, and then I realized it was coming from me, and just like the blood, I couldn't turn it off. I was giddy, and it was glorious.
I admit that I liked the break from the super-indie films of Fantastic Fest when one of its secret screenings turned out to be Gravity. What's funny is, after watching all of those other films, you realize what almost every wide release has in common, and why film festivals like Fantastic Fest need to exist. Wide releases are tidy. Everything is overexplained. There can't be too many quiet moments. If you have Sandra Bullock in your film, she has to talk out loud to herself while alone in space, even if you realize silence is a better choice. That being said, it's a great use of special effects.
4. Full of Crap
Normally I wouldn't talk about such things, but if not at Fantastic Fest then when? I had a touch of the Fantastic Flu. This was followed by four days of serious cramping. Finally, my father-in-law (a retired doctor) went down the checklist of an appendicitis with me, complete with pushing where my appendix is, followed by a brand new pain I had never experienced before. I went to the emergency room Wednesday night instead of doing metal karaoke (along with the screening of Metallica: Through the Never). With the power of hindsight I now realize it was just random bad luck that all of my stool (doctor's term) was sitting perfectly above my appendix. I was completely full of s**t, and this was followed by a s**t storm. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.
3. Slap Shot
I didn't know about the game Slap Shot. I don't know how I had avoided this knowledge, but I've decided it's a great thing because it would have filled up every Ultimate Frisbee tournament during my time at the University of Iowa. Two people, two shots of alcohol, and two slaps. That's the "game." You take a shot, then you get slapped. This was a small part of the end of the night festivities.
2. The Closing Party
What do you want out of a closing party? Fantastic Fest continued a dedication of legendary stuntmen (Chuck Bail, Bob Ivy, John “Bud” Cardos, Gary Kent, and Bobby Sargent). They rolled and wrecked cars. They also jumped from the top of Lakeline Alamo Drafthouse. This was followed by free tattoos (which Elijah Wood, Pat Healy and Noah Segan received) and amazing barbecued pig, which were killed during a Fantastic Fest event of hunting feral pigs from helicopters.
Thanks to Scott Weinberg for recording this and sending it my way. At the 2:35 mark is Tim League, the owner of the Drafthouse and cocreator of Fantastic Fest. He dances, slaps and hugs in an impressive 25-second span. I wasn't out until 3 a.m. the final night/morning of Fantastic Fest, but luckily for me and this festival, there will always be next year.
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