Mr. Brotato Head (BNAT Virgin) sends his recollections of BNAT: THE DIRTY DOZENTH!
Hey folks, Harry here with one of the BNAT virgins that I never actually met in person. I refer to him as "Mr Eyebrows" because at the end of him MANDOM video - he did this hilarious last minute eyebrow thing that just got me laughing. I saw him on several occasions over the course of the event, we even ran into each other in the bathroom where I thought about saying something, but I had to rush back into BNAT to continue watching films. No time for chatter in the stalls. Anyway, here ya go:
In 2010, our lexicon is, for the most part, complete. Very rarely does a new word penetrate the national vernacular, becoming a part of the general populace’s method of communication. Rare examples pop up, such as our generation’s tendency to “google” things, an expression that, even twenty years ago, would have had folks scratching their heads in confusion. Despite the widespread use of this term, there are very few other examples that carry such weight. All of this comes up to underscore a very important point… this all needs to change. It is time for a verbal revolution. The time has come for the rise of a new word… a word that defies explanation and definition, yet makes sense to those who use it. What is this word? Why, it is quite simple… it is CINEMANDOM! Having said all of this, a very important question begins to emerge. What is cinemandom? That is where things begin to grow hazy. Is it an attribute? Is it a quality? Is it tangible? Is it a person, place, or thing? Is it the aptly named lovechild of “cinema” and “mandom,” an explanation that raises more questions than it answers? How do you define this vague concept? Can it even be done?
Why, yes… yes it can. Cinemandom has been defined, over the course of twenty-four hours of mind-bending cinema, an experience that floored those in attendance, whilst drawing forth gobs of saliva from those forced to read about it online. Cinemandom is all of the things listed above and so much more, a label that defies a typical definition, and demands an entire event be dedicated to the purpose of bringing its secrets to light. If you are reading this, you already know of the event I am writing about, and have most likely already pondered the films that played there for many days, lusting for the new treasures, while hunting down copies of the vintage gems that may have alluded you in your cinematic quest thus far. The event is a perennial assault on the senses… an ode to a culture that worships at the altar of film… it is Geek Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanza, all deep-fried in a batter of awesome sauce and served up on a platter of gold. It is Butt-Numb-A-Thon. It was the Dirty Dozenth. This is our tale…
I will not waste much time with my background, as I am sure the vast majority of those reading want to get to the heart of the matter and hear about some amazing films! We will get there, but I feel that a little bit of context may help you to understand my viewpoints, providing invaluable reference in your deduction of whether my opinions should matter to you. I am an average twenty something who has grown up with an unhealthy obsession with films and film culture. Unfortunately, that love had to blossom in a town devoid of any cinematic culture whatsoever. Prior to the discovery of the internet, I felt like an oddball, loving movies that seemed to confuse, perplex, and annoy most people I tried to share them with. Unbeknownst to me, these were called genre films, and were enjoyed by a very… um… special group of people. When my family finally rolled into the internet age, I discovered that my unbridled love for the bizarre was shared by an entire community, who happened to be a very vocal bunch who loved to write about their love and hate of film in a very colorful fashion. Very shortly into this voyage into the digital age, I came across Ain’t It Cool News… and everything came together. These guys knew these weird films that I was falling in love with on each visit to the video store, and they knew a heck of a lot more about them than I did! For every movie I had seen, they seemed to have a fresh batch of a dozen that I had never even heard of! My viewing horizon expanded exponentially with each visit of the site, and my teenage years became a blur of dark bedrooms, as I bathed in the light of some new (old) film. I was having the time of my life…
…until I read about Butt-Numb-A-Thon. BNAT ruined my life. Not in a literal sense, and really not in a way that I recognized immediately… but it definitely did. The first year that I was a regular visitor of AICN during BNAT was 2002’s iteration. To set the stage, I was a film geek who had become obsessed with Peter Jackson’s LOTR series the previous year, and was apparently attempting to set some kind of viewing record for Fellowship in my exhausted DVD player. Upon visiting AICN around the second weekend of December of that year, my young eyes kept noticing the letters “BNAT” and the phrase “Butt-Numb-A-Thon,” an event that I had no knowledge or recognition of. I finally clicked one of the links, which claimed to have a report of this mystery event. As I scrolled down the list of films, I started thinking… “Wow, I need to rent some of these.” And then I noticed something… some of these films were *dramatic music* UNRELEASED!!!!! The people at this event had seen a Rob Zombie horror movie, which was pretty cool to think about in 2002. Chicago, which went on to win an academy award for movie of the year, was shown ahead of release. There was a shot for shot adaptation of RAIDERS OF THE LOST $%#&ING ARK?! And these people had seen it?! That was so cool!!! Nothing could be cooler than that! Nothing in the entire…
And there it was. Closing out the show was Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers, the sequel to the film on constant rotation in my DVD drive. The film I would have sacrificed a leg to see a few hours earlier than release had already been seen… by these BNATTERS!!!!! And not just minutes early, but WEEKS! What was sure to be my cinematic experience of the year had topped off a marathon of unreleased material and vintage material that looked to be mind-blowing for those in attendance, and I needed to know what it was like to be a part of that. That was it. That sealed the deal. I had to go to this mythical BNAT. I would not truly be at peace with my inner-geek until this pilgrimage was made. Like I said… BNAT ruined my life. I made a pact with myself that day to eventually accomplish this goal, and then set about living the rest of my teenage life.
Years passed. Every Fall/Winter, I followed the BNAT process with great interest and enthusiasm, reading through the application and pondering what my answers would be if I had the guts to fill it out. I never did, knowing that it was financially impossible for a high school student/college student (depending on the year) to make the trip from lowly Westfield, Indiana to MIGHTY Austin, Texas. I read the fake list every BNAT-eve, wracking my brain for what reveals these fake films were hinting at. (I was always wrong. Harry’s brain works in mysterious ways.) And then, without fail, the feedback from each event tormented me in ways that I did not think possible previously, as the mix of vintage and new always managed to shock, surprise, and thrill me! I could not even imagine what those in attendance must have felt! One day… One day…
Flash forward to 2010, where I was freshly graduated from college, with a job paying an adequate salary, and everything was falling into place. On a routine visit to AICN, I see that Harry has announced the imminent arrival of BNAT’s annual application, titled THE DIRTY DOZENTH! I knew it then. This was the year. I could wait no longer. I had to give it a shot. I blocked out a week, and set my mind to the task of answering the application questions to the best of my ability, reveling in the frantic fun that comes with such a thought-provoking application. I discovered MANDOM! I created MANDOM! (Everyone confused by this, do a quick YouTube search of MANDOM, and revel in the creative juices of the BNAT hopefuls and attendees. And, somewhere in there, find Charles Bronson’s original commercials.) I was introduced to Kiss Me Deadly, a film that I am still trying to decipher. I revisited The Dirty Dozen, and lost my mind in its awesomeness. I probed deep to discover why I had a crush on George Kennedy. And I got a chance to gush over Edgar Wright’s controversial masterpiece, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Cue talkback hate… NOW! I crafted what I felt was a solid application, and shot it into the digital unknown, with nothing but a prayer. It turned out to be my golden ticket, as it earned me the admission that I had longed for for so long. I was in. I have rambled enough about my lengthy quest, and find the need to spare you the details of my trip to Austin, and the time-crunch that having a full-time job put on my ability to travel with adequate time to truly get the most out of BNAT. I have no pre-party details to share, as I missed all of it. As sad as that made me, I knew what I was there for. The Holy Grail. The main event. The big show. Harry Knowles’ birthday bash. Geek Christmas. Butt-Numb-A-Thon: Episode 12: The Dirty DOZENTH. MANDOM! CINEMANDOM! So, let’s get on with it…
Before we get into the lineup itself, I feel the need to mention the arena for such a glorious event. The Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar is, without any shred of any doubt, the greatest theater that I have ever attended a show at. From the moment I walked in, and laid eyes upon a TRON ARCADE GAME CABINET, I knew that there was no better place for BNAT to be taking place. Traveling further into the bowels of the building confirmed these suspicions. Plastered all over the walls are one-sheets and posters from classic films, many of which are adorned with autographs from key cast and crew members of the film. The first poster that I saw when entering Theater #1, home of BNAT 12, was a LOTR one sheet signed by Mr. Peter Jackson himself. The thought crossed my mind that I may have to grab it and run… luckily, I held it all together and proceeded calmly (yeah, right) to my seat. There, I discovered that I would be seated in the front row of the theater. A chill ran down my spine. I am a notoriously picky person when it comes to where I sit during a movie. I want to be halfway up the theater, in the middle of the row. No exceptions. If made to sit elsewhere, I prefer to go further from the screen, not closer. Yet, here I was. As mandated by the head honcho of AICN geek culture, I was to sit off-center, in the very front of the theater. Well, upon arriving to my seat, I have now discovered that whoever designed the Alamo Drafthouse’s theaters must have had my same taste, because I am convinced that a bad seat does not exist in the house. After 24 plus hours of film, my neck was neither stiff nor sore, and I enjoyed every moment that I was in my seat. Adding to that enjoyment was the exceptional menu and wait staff, as the theater provided an entire day’s worth of meals for what I have seen my father spend on popcorn and sodas for our family in a single visit to our local cinema. I love the Alamo Drafthouse, and would move to Austin just to make it my theater home. There. I said it. Now, apparently they showed some movies at this thing, so let’s jump into that before you all stop reading… too late?
#1- True Grit: This was my movie of the show. Hands down. This will be an easy pick for film of the year for many people, and I would have an impossible time arguing against it. I am not sure where it falls for me personally, but it is near the top of my list. This movie, quite simply, gets everything right. At the top of the list of correct choices is the dude himself, Jeff Bridges, literally tearing down the house with his rendition of Rooster Cogburn. Both terrifying and hilarious, Bridges is the centerpiece around which the Coens build their masterpiece. When Bridges is spacing out and cracking wise, he will split your sides. When he decides to kick some ass, he will have you staring wide-eyed, fearing for what may happen to his opposition. How does he rank against the Duke’s version of the character? I consider it a complete and utter inconsequential comparison. John Wayne played the character as John Wayne was known to do; loud, boisterous, and confident. Bridges brings grit (pun intended) to the character that made him seem more real to me, combining with a scathing sarcasm that made this shell of a man one worthy of your attention. No analysis of this film would be complete without mentioning the amazing performance of Hailee Seinfeld as young Mattie Ross. This young lady is a superstar. Not only does she hold her own with Bridges, and the amazing supporting cast composed of the likes of Matt Damon and Josh Brolin, but she, at times, blows these seasoned veterans out of the water! I don’t want to spoil anything, but one of my favorite scenes in the film involves Mattie Ross attempting to bring levity to a tense situation around a campfire. Expect big things from small packages on this one, folks. I could go on and on about this film, discussing the Coens mastery over their sets, their actors, and every aspect of each individual shot, but it is a waste of energy. If you are a fan of film, see this movie. It is one for the ages.
#2- Le Samourai: From the vault of Tarantino comes this masterpiece, a film that blew me away with its brilliance. Now, there are several aspects of this film that I could gush all over… but I am going to settle on one; the sound! Yes, this film is subtitled to English from the original French language. Yes, it seems silly to laude a film for its use of sound when one has to read every piece of dialogue. But, in this case, it is not about the dialogue, as there is very little of it in a film of this length. This is a film that hits its stride in the quiet moments, as our protagonist sneaks and slithers across the screen in moments of silent tension set against the heartbeats of the film’s captive audience. In fact, the film handled its silence so well that I felt bad for the crunch of my chicken fingers. Sorry, first row people. They were just so tasty. Entire chunks of the film fall on a backdrop of eerie silence, as the main character orchestrates a surgical operation that falls apart at one key juncture, causing his life to spiral into a chaotic series of chases, encounters, and interrogations. The film does not hold your hand, refusing to tell you… well… ANYTHING that is going on, allowing the visual nature of the medium to do its job and deliver a stunning narrative. The ending scene will leave you breathless. I am not sure what the availability of this film is in the home video market, but it is a solid recommendation for anyone who enjoys crime films, thrillers, or noir.
#3- On The Town: Frank Sinatra is MANDOM! That is all there is to it. Geez, this guy is a king, and just oozes cool in a way that makes me feel inadequate. Oh yeah, and Gene Kelly will humble anyone who thinks they have moves. He is a machine! As a side note, you have never seen a musical until you have seen it with a BNAT audience. You would have thought that these guys were performing live, as every song and dance number was met with a resounding round of appreciative applause from a room full of cinephiles. Concerning the content of the film, this is just a good piece of escapist entertainment. The songs are catchy, the world is bright and innocent… well, at least on the surface. In reality, this may be the dirtiest film that played the entire night. Let’s be blunt here… these characters only had twenty four hours together, and they had a lot more on their minds than a mindless romp through the town! There were a couple instances that I had to do a double take, as the film was filled to the BRIM with sexual tension and innuendo. But, putting that all aside, there is something that I have always found magical about a world where people can express themselves in song and dance, and the continue as if the phenomenon has not even occurred. This is the bright and cheery world that I want to be a part of, where life is a song and everyone knows the lyrics. The humor is spot on, and had me chuckling and tapping my feet along with the antics on the screen. This is just great stuff.
I can’t really talk too much about what happened next, as we were sworn to secrecy by Jon Favreau and Ron Howard (in person). Yes, Happy Hogan and Richie Cunningham made me promise not to tell you what I saw, and that is an oath I will never break! I mean, how cool is that?! They got the respect they deserve from this audience, and I am pretty sure Nordling bowed to Favreau upon his exit. The man has earned it. Any who, despite my sworn silence, I can say is that it was the first forty minutes of a rough cut of Cowboys and Aliens and that it was AWESOME! Harrison Ford is back in a big way, and will bring you all back around in about six months. This was a very rough cut, as we were warned about multiple times, but it is just… Wow. I want to talk about this so bad. Let’s move on…
Gore Verboski then told us that we were about to see eight minutes of Rango. I swear that it was more than that. This looks like a really fun animated film, with Johnny Depp being his usual quirky self. I won’t tell you much about the content of the clip, but let me just say this… ONE BULLET! The animation on this film is just STUNNING and looks to be a heck of a good time when it is released. Keep it on your radars.
#4- Santa Fe Trail: This was a pleasant little film about the heroic slave owners of the South rising up to quell those bastards attempting to free the slaves. Thankfully, the most vile of traitors from military academy who openly mocked our heroic southern slaver at the beginning of the film finally saw the error of his ways, and reported John Brown, a radical revolutionary, to authorities to bring his reign of terror to an end. Seriously. That all happened! Ok, I may be a bit snarky here, as history shows that Brown went about his cause in about the craziest, most sadistic way imaginable… but, geez… I was kinda cheering for the guy through most of the runtime of this film. Errol Flynn is here, as is our former president, Ronald Reagan. Flynn, when not arguing about the merits of slavery, spends the rest of the film making Reagan look like a goof and winning the heart of his fair lady. Weird political correctness issues aside, this was a great little film with tremendous performances out of its leads, and some good old fashioned battle sequences. In the end, I was just confused as to who I was supposed to be cheering for, and I think the film ultimately suffered for it. Let’s just say you could never get away with this film in today’s PC society… which will start to become a running theme in some of the later films.
#5- The Fighter: Remember when I said that True Grit was, unquestionably, my film of the show? I may have short-changed this film by making that comment. This film is going to shock a lot of people. Why? Well, you see, over the past couple years, it seems a prevailing idea has come into being that Mark Wahlberg cannot act. I have always found this crazy, as he has shown that, when in the hands of a competent director, the man can steal the show. Go watch The Departed and tell me that Wahlberg can’t act. Ridiculous. Anyway… as great as Mark may be in the lead role here, there is a whole lot of other great stuff going on with this cast. We will start with a relative unknown on the cast… whose name is slipping my mind right now. Christian something or other… He may have been in a few movies, but if so, they are just not coming to me. *Pause for effect* All joking aside, Christian Bale absolutely KILLS in this movie. Every scene he is in, he is stealing the show. Capone, when introducing the film, described the merits of this film in three words. Crackhead Christian Bale! (The BNAT audience has ruled that crackhead is one word, and so it will be.) Bale makes you believe every aspect of his character. While watching you will hate him, love that you hate him, and then eventually learn to love him. This guy is on such a hot streak right now, and this is no exception. I would not be doing The Fighter justice if I failed to mention another crucial component, being Amy Adams. Adams shows a characteristic that I will choose to call WOMANDOM, because… let’s face it… she provides one of the most emotional, and well-earned, beat downs in this entire film. You will cheer when she lets loose. When her fuse is lit, run for cover. In fact, I am convinced she could take any man in this entire film… and that is saying something. Concerning the plot, you will hear words such as “formula film” and “predictable” from some jaded reviewers when this film is released. To that, I must simply say that there is a reason that such a formula exists… and that is because it works! The Fighter will make you laugh, it will make you cringe, and assuming you do not have a heart of stone, the darn thing will probably make you cry! Again, this is a picture that will top a lot of lists come award season, and I will have a hard time convincing them otherwise. If made to choose only one movie this coming weekend… pick this one. You won’t be sorry.
#6- The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Apparently this film was filmed a long time ago. I say apparently because this print was GORGEOUS! There was so little grit and grain on that new screen that if you would have told me that this was a new version, I would have believed you. So pretty. Speaking of pretty, Charles Laughton is the complete opposite of that in this classic film, as he happens to sport one of the most shocking and complex makeup jobs that I have seen in a vintage film. It’s all in the eyes… terrifying. When introducing the film, Harry made a point of discussing the secrecy surrounding the Hunchback’s makeup during the build to the film, and it makes me long for the days prior to internet spoilers, teaser images, and concept art. Alas, there is no going back. I don’t need to tell you anything about this film. If you haven’t seen it, shame on you. See. This. Film. So many classic lines and performances, as every scene is dripping with quality. A classic literary masterpiece transformed via moving pictures into one for the history books. I wish everyone could see this with a BNAT audience.
#7- Chimes at Midnight/ Falstaff: Here comes my moment of shame. This is the “lost” Orson Welles film, a mash-up of Shakespeare that Welles heralded as his favorite of all of his films, yet remains unreleased on VHS or DVD. When Harry announced this film, the place went BONZO-GONZO! In fact, I am convinced that someone behind me actually went into a seizure, as he was shrieking with delight! The roof of the Alamo Drafthouse surely rumbled. As the film began, I settled in to enjoy this piece of history. And then I nearly died (hyperbole). You see, apparently the human stomach was not designed to digest a basket of chicken fingers dripping in gravy, two orders of fries with ranch and ketchup, a BLT with a fried egg on top, two ice coffees with cream and sugar, a hot coffee with cream and sugar, a butterbeer and a red bull in such a short span of time with no relief. The result is sharp pains in the gut area that make the enjoyment of Shakespeare and Welles’ dense directing style a bit tough to enjoy. For the sake of those around me, I removed myself from the theater, so that my fidgeting did not disturb those in the surrounding seats. I popped back in a few times, and was lucky enough to catch the EPIC battle sequence, but missed the majority of the film. This seems to be the film that drove a lot of people into the hallways of the theater and into short catnaps in their seats, and generally appears to be most people’s low point in the evening. I chalk this one up to an amazing find that may have failed to live up to the hype for some. For me, it is a great disappointment that I failed to engage due to my gluttony. For shame…
#8- Richard Pryor: And then Richard Pryor walked into the room, ripped out our collective funny bone, and beat us into submission with it. You want to talk about MANDOM? This dude was the man, and he let you know it! He sure had his problems, but he didn’t hide them… in fact, he joked about them! And, if I thought Santa Fe Trail was a bit on edge in our politically correct society, Richard Pryor told me that I was just being a &^%$# and that I should just learn to &^*%ing laugh at that &^%$. Seriously, this guy reminded all of us of a time when we could say anything we wanted to, and people were not offended. THEY LAUGHED! In a world where people are offended by the word “Christmas”, I feel that Pryor’s act would be even more outrageous were he still gracing us with his comic genius. This was a shot of life that a drowsy BNAT audience needed to reinvigorate us for the final stretch! This played beautifully, and was a highlight of the entire experience.
#9- The Green Hornet: Now, I can’t really get into too much of this film, because full reviews are under embargo until next month. What I can tell you is that this was the first of two films that I saw at this event that I considered to have HORRIBLE trailers! I remember watching the first trailer a few months ago, and cringing. What was this garbage? It appeared to be a mix of loud music, quick cuts, and comedy that looked to be stretching a bit too far for a weak punch line. Then, I saw that it was set to be released in January, and I considered that to be the final nail in the coffin. I guess I never heard that you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, because this movie… well… it will blow you away. The action is over the top and fun. The humor is spot on. Rogan kills it in this role. Kato has never been this extreme. Christoph Waltz… I mean… geez!!! Most famous for his portrayal of Hans Landa in Inglorious Bastards, he continues his hot streak here. I won’t spoil anything, but this guy manages to pull off the role of the most appreciative and attentive villain in film history. To give you an idea of what I mean, I will provide this little comparison. If Waltz’s character in this film was a Bond villain, Bond would tell him to cut out the monologue in the future. Waltz would then contemplate this, thank Bond for the advice, shoot Bond in the face, and you’d better believe me… the next super spy he captured would NOT hear a monologue. He would be dead before there was a chance. I just… I want to go on and on about this film, but I can’t. Just please… do not dismiss this one yet. It may surprise you. I know it surprised me.
#10- Green Lantern/Thor/Suckerpunch/The Hobbit: Congrats, Harry! What a surprise medley of films here. I am still recovering from this amazing treat! The collective swearing of the Green Lantern oath by the BNAT audience gave me chills. Phew, and when Peter Jackson came out and sang some Hobbit songs with Elijah, while the audience adored their replica Mjolnir hammers? Truly a moment that I will never forget. And that Superman concept art that Snyder brought with him? … Oh, wait… can I talk about that? Go ahead and edit this part out if we are not supposed to! (On a serious note, the tenth film of the evening is under strict embargo, and I cannot even mention the name of said film at this time. It has probably leaked by now, but I refuse to be responsible for such a dastardly deed. Just know that it was sadistic, maniacal, and mind-blowing. This was literally a PERFECT film for BNAT! I had so much fun with it… can’t wait to be able to discuss it with people who will appreciate it.)
#11- Drive Angry: This was the second film of the night that I felt had an underwhelming trailer. Any trailer that spends more time telling you how awesome 3D is, rather than how great a movie is, makes me quite wary. The Green Hornet proved the old adage of not judging a book by its cover. This one? Not so much. Now, don’t get me wrong… this movie is a whole heck of a lot of fun! And when it played, the BNAT crew was already about 22 hours into the event. We were, quite frankly, slap happy beyond belief. So, having said that, to see a movie with hilarious one liners, loud explosions, accountants from hell, effective 3D, and some pretty sweet car chases… well, I did have fun. Was this a good movie? Eh, I really don’t know. There is nothing inherently wrong with it, but I never really felt much of a connection to what was happening. Of all the films that played BNAT this year, I think this is the one that deserves a second viewing before I am willing to settle on an opinion. There is one aspect of the movie that I do have to mention, and that is the performance of William Fichtner. He plays the aforementioned accountant from Hell, on a quest to recover an escaped Nicholas Cage, who is in turn on a mission of ultimate revenge. Every time Fichtner made an appearance, this film came to life in a way that seemed to be missing from the rest of the cast. He was hilarious and scary as hell. (Again, pun totally intended.) I don’t want to say too much about this film, because I am very on the fence about it. I had a lot of fun with it, but when the credits rolled… I dunno, I just felt a bit empty. I can say that come February 25th, I will probably be buying a ticket, and watching it with a proper amount of sleep, so I still consider this a win.
#12- Tron Legacy: Drive Angry has ended. Everyone that has been counting knows that there is only one more film left on the docket, and we are fast approaching the 24 hour mark. Harry prepares the announcement of the final film. Instead, the entire theater is herded out into the bright morning day, the first daylight we have seen in hours. Delirious, I blindly stumble onto a bus, which rumbles away from the Alamo Drafthouse. I make a quick phone call to my ride from the event, sounding tired and a little scared… where is this madman taking us? It turns out that the BNAT audience has a date with the local IMAX theater, to see the final film of the event in the only way that it should be seen… in GLORIOUS IMAX 3D! There was little doubt in any of our minds, as we were frisked by security for phones and cameras, that this was the film we were going to see. Prior to the film, the crowd broke into rushed renditions of “Mandom” and “Happy Birthday” for the man who made it all possible, Harry Knowles. That’s right… almost 24 hours in, and this crazy bunch was SINGING! God, I love these people. Anyway, the movie. Wow, is it a sign that I am stalling in talking about it? In short, I see the sequel to the cult classic as a visual feast… a showpiece for blu-ray players and high-def projectors around the nation. This film will STUN you with its beauty. The effects are incredible… the digital world in which the vast majority of the film takes place is amazing to behold, especially on the gigantic IMAX display. I had to force myself to close my mouth on several occasions, as my jaw was hanging agape at what I was seeing. For this reason, I find it impossible to give a negative review to this film, despite my hesitation on several other aspects of the project, because it is a true work of art. HOWEVER… I do have my issues with the film. First and foremost… digital Jeff Bridges. As beautiful as the rest of the digital effects are throughout, I could just never click with the digitally de-aged Jeff Bridges. In the opening sequence, it was easy to ignore, as it was a necessary evil in bridging the gap between the sequel and the original. Also, you never really got a side-by-side shot of the fake Jeff Bridges with a real human… so, you never got an idea of how plastic and shiny he looks. Later on, it is a glaring issue that really made it hard for me to take this digital re-creation seriously. I had some issues with the plot and pacing as well, but they all involve spoilers, and I abhor spoilers. And, let’s be honest… no matter what I say, you are all seeing this movie. And you should! This is a film that cries out to be seen on the biggest, clearest screen possible! Remember, films are supposed to be a fun form of escapism… and you will escape into this beautiful world that has been created. People will love it, people will hate it, and some will just appreciate the chance to visit such an amazing place.
Well folks, thanks for sticking with me, but just like BNAT… all great things must come to an end. I would like to extend a passionate thank you to the man in charge, and the head geek of AICN, Harry Knowles for an invitation to the greatest birthday party on the planet! This guy doesn’t demand gifts at his party, but provides them for his guests. My biggest regret of the entire event is the time crunch that prevented me from ever getting to talk to the big man in person and share this message of gratitude. If I am blessed to attend in the future, I will bend all barriers to get a chance to geek out over some great films with this legend, the guy who has made it all possible. I would also like to thank Tim League for his continued support of such an awe-inspiring event, Jeff Mahler for being a good sport, the entire front row gang at BNAT (sorry if I came off as extremely hyper with a side of turrets, but I was loaded up with caffeine and sugar at levels that should not be legal.), Jamie for letting me store my goodie-bag and posters in your van, the eccentric, talented and diverse writing staff of AICN, and the entire staff of the Alamo Drafthouse South for killer service throughout the entire 24 hours plus! And, as a side-note, a quick thank you to the Salt Lick. That is some good food. Mmmmmmm. I hope to see you all next year for BNAT the 13th!
Wesley “Mr. Brotato Head” Dodd
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Dec. 16, 2010, 8:15 p.m. CST
Mr Brotato Head's BNAT memories is awesome, he did get a bit spoilerish with films #10!
Dec. 16, 2010, 8:39 p.m. CST
Dec. 16, 2010, 8:58 p.m. CST
Huge Text = loud noises! Again, sounds like a fun time, and Harry if you're still doing this in 2020 i hope to make it.
Dec. 16, 2010, 9:08 p.m. CST
....and notice how Disney's animated hunchback is basically a mild, watered-down version of the makeup design on Laughton.
Dec. 16, 2010, 9:09 p.m. CST
Err....proof read dammit!
Dec. 16, 2010, 9:34 p.m. CST
Dec. 16, 2010, 10:17 p.m. CST
Typically when Harry gushes about any movie, I know it's probably not for me. I mean the guy fell asleep during Inception. Geez, what a maroon.
Dec. 16, 2010, 10:36 p.m. CST
I always get depressed reading these reviews from BNAT. Mostly because I wish I could be there. But it also seems that for the most part everyone is so jacked from the event that most everything gets a glowing review and not an objectionable one. Ahh, well I would pry do the same. Was the "unmentioned" Hobo with a shotugun?
Dec. 16, 2010, 11:04 p.m. CST
by Bob Loblaw Law Blog
I'm kicking myself for not making an effort to personally welcome you to the craziness of BNAT, even though I was only a row behind you and saw you several times. I'm glad BNAT lived up to your expectations. It is my most favorite tune of year... Harry never fails to put on an exhausting lineup that thrills us lucky bastards in the audience!
Dec. 17, 2010, 7:13 a.m. CST
by Bob Loblaw Law Blog
I think you'd be surprised at the number of BNAT attendees who are married and/or have kids. Plenty of non-virgins in that group, I assure you. Personally, I never attended before I got married.
Dec. 17, 2010, 9:28 a.m. CST
thank you for this review! BNAT was... well... for those who were there, no words are necessary... and for those who weren't, no words will suffice... the first two people i told about it, when i got to the point how we all left the theater and got onto busses, my voice suddenly broke and i got tears in my eyes, and they asked me like "dude, are you okay?" :) i've since found that it's pointless trying to tell people about the whole event... to me it was a full day in a different reality, a different state of mind, with people i hadn't met before and now consider friends, with so many moments i will never forget, awesome surprises, fulfilled hopes and shattered ones... 358 days to go... :)
Dec. 17, 2010, 12:40 p.m. CST
I am already suffering from anxiety, wondering if I will make it in next year! I can't wait to see the application! So great... BNAT is just beyond description! More please!
Dec. 18, 2010, 8:45 p.m. CST
you may not make it to BNAT13 however saying that scientists are still wondering how HeadGingerGeek is still alive, My money is that he is in fact dead and had been replaced by a highly advance robot
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