The long and winding road (that leads to the Mark Goodson screening room)

Overat the AFI, alumnus Brian Udovich and other people who I can’tremember host screenings of cool movies; they call it Reel Grit Sundays and they’ve been doing this for (I think) four years so far.They decided to have a marathon of six films the other day, as a way tocountdown to/celebrate reaching film #100; each film would beintroduced by former alumni, each coming from a different category inthe filmmaking arts and we wouldn’t be told the name of the filmuntil the guest speaker intro’d it. The Reel Grit Six Shooter, theywere calling it. Badass Digest and the Alamo Drafthouse were also involved (the latter supplied most of the prints). I had the gas money to go, so I went.

Iarrived around 9:30 am (the marathon was scheduled to start at 10)and was happy to notice Phil Blankenship (late of the New BeverlyCinema, on-time of Amoeba Music) and film/comic geek extraordinaireCathie Horlick waiting around as well. By the way, it was Cathie’s enthusiastic movie blog that inspired me to create my own, so blame her for the horrific waste of Internet space that is Exiled from Contentment.

TheMark Goodson screening room was where it was all happening; the signoutside said it had 135-seating capacity but it felt smaller, thisintimate theater. There was something kind of cool about that, itfelt like an extended private party — which is what it was, I guess– and when the Reel Grit guys talked about how this all started as amovie night they would have at home, the medium-sized space added tothat feeling of being part of a large group of friends gathered to watch movies, and I’m the creepy guy in the corner, not talking to anyone. 

Aman carried a large film reel canister marked “Django’s Coffin”, and at first I thought this guy was screwing up the whole deal, giving up thename of one of the secret movies (I assumed it was one of the manyfake Django movies released after the success of the SergioCorbucci/Franco Nero joint), but I was wrong; the film canister wasfor accepting donations, since this Reel Grit business all comes outof their own pockets (among the many things they pay for: unionprojectionists, which I thought they didn’t exist anymore, I figured thattrade was lost to the minimum-wagers, based on the kids I see manningthe projectors at the local multiplex nowadays). 

I smoke weed, so I’m probably getting most of thiswrong but the main host was Brian Udovich and he (as well as theother members of Reel Grit) had on a Reel Grit t-shirt, the logobeing a six-shooter cylinder. There was a brief AFI film montage thatconsisted of scenes from awesome movies with the names of the alumniresponsible under them, along with the class year, and I assume this was to make non-students get all I Want To Go To There while reminding currentstudents This Is Why You Came To Here. Udovich then welcomed us andtalked about how Reel Grit got started and what led to this marathon.He also said that while there would be various people arrivingthroughout the day, they would be missing out, because they –unlike us — would not get the full proper experience of thismarathon.

Thefirst presenter came up; his name’s Howard Smith and thismotherfucker edited films for James Cameron, Kathryn Bigelow andJames Foley, among others. He knows what the fuck is up, he canhandle anything you can throw at him (and in the case of JamesCameron, he probably had to). The film he picked was River’s Edge, which he edited fordirector Tim Hunter (who supplied the print); originally, he couldn’t work on the film becausehe was already working on something else, so instead Hunter went withsomeone else. Well, when Someone Else got too pregnant to continue,Smith was available and he finished cutting the rest of the movie.Seriously ladies, stop it with the getting knocked up, let homeboypull out in time. 

Hetalked about how the actress playing the dead girl in the movie keptcompletely still, never moving even though the location was very coldand uncomfortable, and yet, many people at screenings would swearseeing her move. Smith and Hunter would watch the film and study itclosely, and not once did they ever spot any kind of movement fromher. Even today, the IMDB goof section claims the dead girl moves,but Smith compared it to staring at one of those large dioramas at amuseum, where you swear the fake buffalo’s ear moved or the waxedNative American has a tear rolling down his cheek.

Hebrought up how Hunter considers this a black comedy (as in the CoenBrothers, not Tyler Perry), and it sounded like Smith agreed with himto a point; he also thought it was interesting that there were manyscreenings where the audience laughed from beginning to end while therewere others that were stone silent. It would be interesting to seehow this particular audience would take it, he said.

Isaw River’s Edge once when I was a kid, because the equation of cable+ insomnia + parents are heavy sleepers = WIN. Back then, I liked itbut took the whole thing deadly serious. At the AFI however, thatshit was straight-up hilarious – particularly whenever CrispinGlover was on-screen. Half the time, he said his lines while posingwith his arm out like he was about to tell Biff to get his damn handsoff her. I don’t know if Hunter was using the dark comedy line assome kind of proto-Wiseau defense or if he really meant it, but Iwould bet it’s the latter, because this film does in fact feel at times like a Coen Brothers screenplay directed by late-80’s Penelope Spheeris. It helps/doesn’t help that the music goesinto very dramatic DUN DUN DUN territory while some funny shit ishappening on-screen.

Itstarts very fuckin’ serious, though; some kid (more on this fuckerlater) is busy throwing his little sister’s beloved doll off a bridgeinto a river when he hears someone howling. Turns out the howler issome guy who strangled his girlfriend a while ago and is now currently smoking a roach nextto her naked corpse. Maybe it’s because Smith more-or-less challengedus to find the flaws in Dead Girl’s performance, but this chick isscary good and she doesn’t even need CSI’s quick cuts or Law &Order’s moving camera to hide any giveaways, there are long shotsdevoted to her and she never fuckin’ moves or twitches.

Thekiller is played by Daniel Roebuck, and in real-life he’s a really likable horror geek. His character in River’s Edge, on the otherhand, is very unnerving; he’s mostly passive but there’s alwaysthat hidden threat of this guy possibly blowing at any second, andevery time he’s hanging with someone, I feared for the other personbecause I figured it would only take a wrong word for thismotherfucker to want to wrap his hands around that person’s throat (which is what happened to his girlfriend).

Smithsaid that this was Keanu Reeves’ first American movie and I think the dude ispretty good in it, but then again, I’m kind of a Keanu apologist,so what do I know. He’s like the one guy in the stunningly apatheticcrowd of friends who’s bothered enough by what Roebuck did to dosomething about it (granted, it takes him a while to get around toit, but maybe he needed some time to let the situation settle in). His home life is a beauty; he gets caught smoking pot by his momand she’s pissed because she thinks he’s smoking her stash, and hisstepfather (or wannabe stepfather) is played by that Steve Perry-looking motherfucker whoplayed Corey Haim’s “pop” in the Fast Getaway diptych.

Keanuhas a younger brother, played by this creepy kid who was in Near Darkand Class of 1999; I don’t know what it is about this kid, but hecreeps me out, man. But in River’s Edge, my slight fear of thislittle bastard was replaced by seething rage at this fuckin’piece-of-shit. Don’t give me that “he’s just a kid” shit either,fuck this guy, he threw his poor innocent little sister’s doll intothe river and brags about it, then later on, he desecrates themakeshift grave she made for it. 

Thelittle sister is the only one in the family who doesn’t seem completely fuckedup, but I fear it’s only a matter of time before she ends up being a total shit, hanging out with the wrong crowd, ditching class,drinking beer, wanting to sex up her hippie teacher and next thingyou know, now she’s in River’s Edge 2: Money Never Sleeps and it’sgonna be HER strangled naked body that some other fat asshole issmoking pot over. Anyway, a pre-teen with bruises and a bloody noseisn’t supposed to make you go FUCK YES but it did when I saw it happen to Little Asshole Brother. The only thing he’s got going for him is hismute lackey/friend who carries around nunchucks and sleeps under aBruce Lee poster. That kid’s awesome, and according to Smith, he onlygot paid as an extra, rather than as an actor. Welcome to Hollywood,son.

Anyway,between Crispin Glover’s acting, the This Is Serious Goddammitmusic, some of the dialogue, and last but not least Dennis Hopperbeing Dennis Hopper, I’d say this movie was 70 percent laughs, 20percent depressing, and 10 percent…I don’t know what. Maybe the 10percent is for Ione Skye, because Ione Skye is a swell chick. Eitherway, it’s 100 percent Good Times. It’ll probably take me a while tocome down from this, but I think Mr. Glover’s mannerisms haveinfected me and I’ll probably be acting/talking like him for a while,because it’s just one of those performances – and he’s just one ofthose actors. He knows how to kick, too.

Afterthe movie, the Reel Grit crew came up on stage eating hot dogs, followed by screenwriter Jacob Forman, and after making a joke about how we were about to watch Steven Soderbergh’s personal un-subtitled print of the entire 5-hour cut of Che, he made his intro short andsweet (his refusal to let Udovich talk about his upcoming projectsmade it even shorter – so basically his intro should’ve been”Ladies & gentlemen, let’s have a nice round of applause forWorking Screenwriter!”), telling us our 2nd film of the day wasPrime Cut, starring Muthafuckin’ Lee Marvin andGene Muthafuckin’ Hackman.

Now,I’ve seen this film before, at one of Nicky Katt’s movie marathonnights at the Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre and I dug it. In fact,click here if you want to read about that night. I’ll keep this partbrief, since I’ve already rambled about it before. Thecrowd really dug this oddball flick; I think it’s the weird little touchesand detours that make this film what it is. The filmdefinitely has its fair share of badass moments and lines, but it appears to be just as interested in devoting time to off-kilter momentslike Lee Marvin being more-or-less forced by an old lady to drink milk poured from a dispenser that looks likea cow (the milk shoots out from one of the udders) or ascene where Hackman’s character (running both a meat-packing plant and a drug/white-slavery ring) starts to wrestlewith his brother (named Weenie) in the same room where hisaccountants are trying to do their job, pretending that twoadults are not acting like asses a few feet away from them. 

FollowingPrime Cut, we had a lunch break. There were two lunch trucks waitingoutside; one was for Thai street food and the other was a nachotruck. These gourmet food trucks are great because they find new waysto overly-complicate the simplest foods. The food trucks were supposed to be “thematicallyrelated” to the films we had just watched, but I couldn’t makethe connection. Later, I overheard one of the guys involved admitting that there was a mix-up andthe trucks that were supposed to show up for dinner showed up forlunch, and vice versa. 

The presenter for our 3rd film of the day was AFI dean RobertMandel, the director of such films as F/X (“My name’s Leo, and weneed to talk”), School Ties (“Cowaaaaards!”), and 1996’s TheSubstitute (“Knock that nigga out, my nigga!”). His film pick was 3 Days of the Condor, which was a very influentialfilm for him as a director. He talked about Robert Redford’s acting,particularly his strengths in interrogation scenes – but not thekind that take place in a small room between cops and criminals orsomething like that, he meant more like the kind of scene where a guycatches up to another guy and demands to know Just What The Fuck IsGoing On. He also had things to say about how awesome Max Von Sydow was, which was kind of endearing to me, the idea that Mandel felt the need to tell usthis because c’mon, it’s Max Von Sydow, we know that motherfucker’sawesome in everything – that’s why they cut him out of thetheatrical cut of The Wolfman, they couldn’t have him fucking up theunderwhelming tone of that movie.

ThatSundance Film Festival-creating motherfucker Robert Redford playsthis dude who works at the American Literary Historical Society, butfuck that shit, it’s all a front for the CIA. Redford’s job is toread the fuck out of everything, single out anything that’s cool and/orweird, then send that shit out to the big boys upstairs so theycan do something with it. One day, he goes out to pick up lunch butwhen he returns, all his co-workers are dead, probably because that badMax Von Sydow and a couple of typical postal workers were in thatjoint blasting the shit out of everyone — the old lady secretary, the old man security guard, the old bosswith the wig (in death, all secrets are revealed). Then I guess they got tired of beating the Grim Reaper to the punch with the oldies, so then they go upstairs to kill some of that young stuff — the Asian chick, some douchebag guy, and some other douchebagguy who was using the bathroom (motherfucker went out like Vincent Vega,sprawled out on the fuckin’ bathtub).

Halfof the movie is Redford in paranoid mode – one of myfavorite shots is a cutaway to some lady with a baby carriage, whofor all we know could be packing a sawed-off in there – and he ends uptaking a random New Yorker at gunpoint (played by piss-throwingchampion Faye Dunaway) and forces her along for the ride. You know,you watch these movies and you wonder: is this frightened ladyeventually going to fall in love with her gun-wielding captor?Because you never fucking know, right? Right.

I’mgonna do that one day, I’m gonna take an airsoft pistol and look fora hot chick and put it up against her side and tell her to actnatural. This is a test, you see. Then she’s going to krav maga my stupid assand bust out the taser gun and zero that shit in straightto my balls (or as I like to call them, Wasted Potential), then asshe runs off, screaming for the cops, I’m going to be on the ground,bleeding, broken, and with swollen traumatized testicles (at least more swollen/traumatized than usual) and I’mgoing to wonder if maybe, just maybe, all movies are lies. 

Mandeltalked about how both films came out of a time when America (fuckyeah) was soooo not trusting the government (Tricky Dick andWatergate were in full effect). It made me think how nice it would’vebeen to live in a world where you could watch something like 3 Days of the Condor and go “Hey, remember the time when shit wasreally bad and we didn’t trust our government and we were all sofuckin’ cynical?” but unfortunately, shit didn’t work out thatway. 

SPOILERS if you haven’t seen this shit, but there’s a particularly chilling part where Cliff Robertson (he’sthe guy with the hair that looks like a toupee but probably isn’t)talks about how Americans would never ask the government to pull somerank shit just to keep our engines running and our heaters working, not so much because of moral reasons, but because weexpect our government to do those things without our having to ask them.It’s like, we want our steaks but we don’t want to know about thecows being butchered, hell, we don’t even want to know that they camefrom cows (we’ll delude ourselves into thinking that they came from the magicalsteak fairy), so just serve it to us on our plates and hurry up,’cause we’re hungry.  

JohnHouseman is in this movie too, playing John Houseman; thismotherfucker is always acting like he can’t believe you have thefucking audacity (that’s French for “balls”) to try to pass thebullshit you’re serving him as The Truth — even when he’s busy scribbling on a notepad — but he’s gonna let you make an ass of yourself anyway. Damn, I miss John Houseman,I didn’t even fully appreciate him when I was a kid, back then hewas just the driving instructor from The Naked Gun: From the Files ofPolice Squad.

Anyway,this was a solid flick and watching a pristine print projected in35mm is quite the experience compared to seeing this shit letterboxed on a 4:3 TV set, and when I first saw this movie back in 2003 (on said 4:3 set), there wassomething familiar about the end credits music. Eventually, it dawnedon me – I heard part of this tune before, during the previous summer, in a songby R&B singer Amerie called “Why Don’t We Fall In Love”. Iremember hearing that song on the radio so much during the summer of2002 that I’ll forever associate it (and a handful of other songs)with that particularly happy time in my life – what’s that line inthe original Ocean’s Eleven? Something like “Old times are onlygood when you’ve had them”? Fuckin’ A, Dino. Check out bothsongs by clicking on this shit (which I found by Googling “ameriewhy don’t we fall in love dave grusin”). Anyway, according to this movie, the government is shady and all black people should know how to break into cars, so don’t bother frontin’.  

Anotherfive-minute break, then cinematographer Amelia Vincent came up tointro the 4th movie. She’s won awards and accolades for her workon films like Eve’s Bayou, Hustle and Flow, and Black Snake Moan, andher choice for the marathon was At Close Range, starring Sean Pennand Christopher Walken, and directed by James Foley. “Likefather. Like son. Like hell.” was the tagline for this film, andMs. Vincent called it the best movie poster tagline ever. Thedirector of photography was Juan Ruiz Anchia, andVincent talked about how his lighting was such a revelation to her incomparison to the over-saturated, romantic lighting of guys likeNestor Almendros – she was quick to clear up that she wasn’tdissing the Academy Award-winning d.p. of Days ofHeaven, she was just basically saying that his style of lighting wasbecoming very much the style at the time, and as a result, overused.

Icould be wrong, but I swear she was also one of the presenters whohad originally wanted to pick River’s Edge, but she had to go withher second choice because Howard Smith (who also edited At CloseRange) beat them to the punch. I say that because she kept mentioningRiver’s Edge along with At Close Range, talking about how both cameout in 1986 and both involved troubled youths. She’s right; River’sEdge involved high school students while the kids in At Close Rangeappear to be in the 18-20 range, but both are stories about waywardyouths getting involved in serious shit. Also, both films featurescenes where underage kids try to buy booze at the liquor store andare met with roadblocks, but then find forceful ways around it.

Bothfilms also feature characters who openly smoke weed at home – whatthe fuck, man? The closest I ever came to pulling that shit, Ihad to do it in my room with a towel covering the bottom of the door,Febreze or incense, a sploof, chewing gum and Visine. I also had tolock the door, which sucked because really, what other reason doyou have to lock your bedroom door at your parents house aside fromjerking off? Well, yeah, I guess I could have had a girl in there, but this is me we’re talking about, let’s be real. Meanwhilethese motherfuckers are smoking joints on the living room couch,giggling their asses off watching television and the worst they getis their mom’s boyfriend bitching about having to get up early forwork the next day.

Eventually, Penn finds himself needing another place to stay, so he hits up his real daddy, played byWalken. Turns out that Walken makes his living doing criminal shit,breaking into places with his crew, breaking into safes or jackingtractors (this takes place in cow country). At first, Penn’s kindatripping out on his dad and his friends, but not getting involved.Then he meets Mary Stuart Masterson (she’s the one who isn’t JenniferJason Leigh) and because they’re young and horny and bored, they fallin love and soon money becomes an issue, so guess who’s begging to bea part of Daddy’s business? 

Look,I know I’m not dropping a major revelation here by saying thatChristopher Walken’s the man, but goddamn, this guy can fuckin’ act.In this film, he manages to be charming, funny, cocky, mean, scary,hate-worthy — all while acting like Christopher Walken. It’s like thepart was already written so well, that any actor worth his salt couldknock it out of the park, but Walken is not only a great actor, he’salso Christopher Walken. What I mean is that Walken adds so muchextra awesomeness to the role, with his mannerisms and veryparticular way of speaking — it’s like getting the best pommes frites ever and then adding truffle oil to them. I’m sensing a patternforming — I guess because it always comes down to food for usfatties, we love food analogies like a fat kid loves cake. Speaking of food and Christopher Walken, I’m sure you’ve seen this clip already. 

Asfar as other actors in this film; a shockingly in-good-shape Christopher Penn plays Sean’s brother in the film, and Crispin Glover had made such animpression on us during River’s Edge, that when we saw him show up inthis movie, it was like seeing an old friend. His name was applaudedand every time he appeared, we couldn’t help but laugh. KieferSutherland is here, and this must have been before The Lost Boys because hispresence is barely felt or noticed — the mute nunchucker from River’s Edge hadmade more of an impression. I didn’t even recognize Edward R. Murrow as one of Walken’s crew, shit, I barely recognized Tracey Walter inthe crew, come to think of it. Stephen Geoffreys is in this movietoo, and I get kind of sad thinking about this Tony-award winningactor who then went on to do gay porn a few years later. 

Unless it was something he wasinto. Like, maybe having sex with hot guys and getting paid for itsounded like an awesome gig to him and he was all like To Hell WithActing. In that case, right on, do your thing. I mean, if some guy came up to me and told me that there’s a new category of porn that involves fat, out-of-shape ugly bastards with tiny dicks and zero lasting-power banging hot chicks and that I was perfect for it, you know what? I might take that gig if it pays enough. Sure, there might be some hesitation, but then the talent agent would tell me that there are people who pay big bucks for guys with fat hairy guts who constantly apologize while having sex and I’d finally relent. Dignity left my life a long fuckin’ time ago, so why not? Anyway, I do not judge Mr. Geoffreys, I only hope that he was happy during that period of his life, and if he was happy, then I’m happy and so are the gay fans (and straight enemies) of Stephen Geoffreys, the ones who’ve always fantasized about seeing him suck a cock. 

This was the first time I’d seen At Close Range. The print (courtesy of Mr. Blankenship) looked great, and it’s a good thing Ms. Vincent was playing up the film’s cinematography instead of the sound, because there was something up with the projector or the print that caused a buzzing sound that Udovich compared to an electric razor disrupting the film. It wasn’t that distracting (for the most part), but the lights were brought up twice and the film was stopped while the union projectionist did what he could. After the film, I heard a couple people say that the buzzing actually made the film feel more tense. 

Not that it needed any help being tense, because in addition to being beautifully shot (there’s a great scene between Chris Penn and Walken that opens with their faces being slowly revealed with what I’m assuming was the use of a dimmer switch) and strongly acted, this movie also puts the fuckin’ hurt on you slowly, and what seemed a wicked kind of fun in a dark kind-of-way, just becomes unbearably tough to watch near the end. I don’t know how much of the true story this film was based on is reflected in the final product, but even if it’s only half-true, shit, that’s already too much. It’s also tense because the film’s score threatens to segue to a subpar Madonna song, but thankfully, it waits until the end credits to finally make good on its threat. 

Shit, I have to wrap this up. 

It was dinner time and two new food trucks showed up; one served Italian beef/Polish sausage sandwiches, and the other served I don’t know what, I wasn’t hungry either way. After, it was time for the 5th film of the night, Jacob’s Ladder, which was introduced by production designer Todd Cherniawsky. This guy worked on Avatar, Sucker Punch, and Tim Burton’s version of Alice in Wonderland, so he doesn’t have to justify himself to you or me or anyone. Anyway, he talked about artists like Bosch and David Cronenberg being very influential on him, and he basically talked about how awesome this movie was. He also pronounced director Adrian Lyne’s name as Adrian “Lynn”, so either he’s wrong or everyone else is. 
Unfortunately, the ending has probably been spoiled for you because the movie’s about 21 years old (JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!) and critics usually reference this movie in more current films that have similar endings or they mention the short story written about 100 years before the film, and how that had the same ending as this film. But whether you know the ending or not, it’s still a real head-fucker of a movie, filled with images that are at the very least, really fucking unsettling and at the most, the cinematic equivalent to that guy Bushwick Bill beat the shit out of in that song “Mind Playin Tricks On Me” — the nigga you’ll be seeing in your sleep. 
Adding to the What The Fuck-ery of this joint is that in addition to seeing familiar faces like Tim Robbins, Danny Aiello, Mr. Soul Glo (or E.R., if you prefer), Pruitt Taylor Vince with his shaky eyeballs, and Ving Rhames, you also have actors whose appearance now carry an unfortunate comedic weight. I mean, there’s a scene where Robbins looks at a photo of his deceased son and he gets all emotional — except the boy in the photo is Macaulay Culkin, so rather than feel for Robbins’ character, the audience burst into laughter because it’s fuckin’ Home Alone in this bitch! How was Adrian Lyne supposed to know that in a few months following Jacob’s Ladder’s release, that little cute kid was about to star in a comedy box-office juggernaut? 
Then later in the film, Robbins and his former Vietnam pals go to see a lawyer and the motherfucker’s played by George Fuckin’ Costanza! This movie is so nuts, that when Lewis Black shows up in a brief part as a doctor, you realize that his is the most down-to-earth perfomance in Jacob’s Ladder. Oh, before I forget — God bless Elizabeth Pena for being so goddamn naked throughout this movie, hell, even when she’s wearing clothes she has that naked aura about her. She’s just so Wow in this movie, it’s not even funny. 
Anyway, I enjoyed Jacob’s Ladder even more the second time around. My only issue with it is that after seeing the deleted scenes on the DVD, I watch the film now thinking it’d work even better had Lyne kept those parts in (I’m talking about the extended climax). It might have made the movie a little too over-the-top, but c’mon, I think Lyne should’ve stopped worring about going too far around the time he shot the scene where some demon shoves his tail through a woman and we see it come out through her mouth. Also, I hate the final title card before the end credits, I don’t know why the fuck the movie suddenly felt the need to Teach Us Something with what reads like the kind of conspiracy theory bullshit that probably sealed the deal for Tim Robbins to get involved, fuckin’ America-hater. Love it or leave it, buddy. Better dead than red. The South will rise again. 
A raffle was held for all those who contributed to Django’s Coffin, and the winner got a poster for the marathon, autographed by all six presenters. Then producer Stuart Cornfeld (The Elephant Man, Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly, and apparently every Ben Stiller movie) came up to the stage to introduce the 6th and final film of the night. He had a very convivial way about him, and for all I know he might be a pit bull when doing the producing thing, but he didn’t come off that way at all with us. He was mentored by Mel Brooks and Brooks seems like a pretty cool guy in a business sorely lacking in them, so maybe it rubbed off on his protege. 
Like Amelia Vincent, Mr. Cornfeld had also picked River’s Edge but after being told about Howard Smith being the early bird catching that particular worm, he picked The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao (Joel Robinson’s favorite movie!), but was then told that the only print available was unwatchable, so for his third choice he picked The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk (aka The Legend aka Fong Sai Yuk) starring Jet Li.

Cornfeld talked how funny he thought this film was, and not just funny in a Foreigners Have A Different Sense-Of-Humor kind-of-way, he thought this movie was just plain hilarious. He thought Jet Li gave a great comedic performance in between ass-kickings, and if the combo of “Jet Li” and “great comedic performance” sounds weird to you, then you just proved Cornfeld’s other point, which is that it’s a damn shame that Hollywood hasn’t found a way to take advantage of Li’s potential in making with the funny. Here in the States, he’s more of a serious, scowling motherfucker and I guess he just hasn’t found his Rush Hour yet, even though his part in The Expendables comes the closest.

Sorry, Legend of Fong Sai Yuk, you’re a really fun movie, Engrish subtitles and all, and I’d love to write about how your fight scenes are both jaw-dropping and fucking hilarious. I’d love to ramble about how after making the audience laugh and applaud for two thirds of the film, you had the fucking balls to introduce some straight-up drama into the proceedings.

And yet — you managed to not make it feel jarring, you transitioned that shit smoothly. It felt like you were telling us that laughing is good and all, but there are some serious stakes involved, some life and death shit., and sometimes a motherfucker has to get serious on you. Then after making us (and by us, I mean me) damn near tear up at a couple of genuinely tender moments, you commenced with the one-two combo of kicking ass and making us laugh again. I’d love to write about all of that, and maybe even spend a couple paragraphs writing about your success as a Fun Time At The Movies, I really would. I’d also love to write about how we all applauded loudly when the end credits came up, but I’ve written so much already about the previous films, I just can’t. Sorry, Legend of Fong Sai Yuk — you get assed the fuck out in this blog entry.

13 hours later, the Reel Grit Six Shooter came to an end. Udovich told us about the next Reel Grit screening (I Saw The Devil), then thanked us for coming and for being hardcore, which felt good and would’ve even felt better, were it not for the knowledge that a select group of people go to Austin, Texas every year in December to sit through 24 hours of movies. But then I remembered reading an online article from a woman who had attended one of those events; she had documented her experience using a timeline; one of the entries came about halfway through the event, in the middle of the night, and it simply read something like “It’s getting awfully farty in here”, and then I didn’t feel so jealous anymore. 


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