Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Black" Friday...

Hey All,

So much happening, too much to write...shitballs!

Friday (last week): SHAUN OF THE DEAD & HOT FUZZ auteur (and fellow geek) Edgar Wright has been busy over at the New Beverly with his own THE WRIGHT STUFF film festival and hot damn if there wasn't some amazing double bills...PHANTOM OF PARADISE & BUGSY MALONE, TOP SECRET & BANANAS, AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON & TREMORS(SOOOO pissed I had to miss that one)...but two of the big ones I was not to miss was the Shane Black Double Feature (which I thought sounded better as "Black Friday"), where Edgar was going to show LAST BOY SCOUT & KISS KISS BANG BANG back to back, and i was fucking there (the latter was RAISING ARIZONA & EVIL DEAD 2 but due to family stuff, I had to miss it). Plus, Shane Black in attendance? OK, I gotta give him a copy of my flick, for nothing more than to say "Thanks for making me sit up and recognize great dialogue and well written characters" since I was a fan of his since LETHAL WEAPON (which he wrote when he was 22!!!). This was an event not to be missed...at least by a dork like me.

So after work, met up with Devin and Brian, who were also equally excited to get "Blacked", at the El Coyote, which is the place to be pre-and sometimes post-New Beverly screenings. The Margeritias are cheap and the chips are salty, perfect. We geeked out for a bit as Edgar rolled in, big grin on his face. Guy's got energy to spare, and he's great to talk with, especially movies. In his tow were Zoe Bell, who I gotta admit, looked even better than she did in DEATH PROOF; if anyone had a BIGGER smile in the room, Zoe would have kicked their ass. Also in the Wrightourage was Diablo Cody, the talk of the town for her script JUNO which JUST came out that night. I was so impressed; instead of doing the "lets go to every theater in town to see how many people came" game that many do when their film opens, she decides to ham it up with a bunch of film nerds with some action flicks. We didnt get to talk, but she seemed very cool and gracious to people coming up to her...she better get used to it.

We then walked over to the New Bev, and sat in the back while LAST BOY SCOUT played. It really worked over the crowd, probably even better than when it initially was released in 1991, and some of the audience never saw it before tonight, which was very cool. Almost 17 years later, the movie still works as a fun, badass, vulgar action romp. Tony Scott shoots in all his hazy close-upped glory, and its movies like this that you can tell he's having fun (this also being before his cinematic mid-life crisis where he now has to excite the frame every 2 seconds with visual hiccups...DOMINO anyone?) Also, If Bruce Willis didn't have John Maclaine as an iconic hero figure, I would have thought his dickheaded private...er, "dick" Joe Hallenbeck would have been a franchise-maker. Great character, with amazing lines to compliment it. Oh, and it has my childhood crush, Danielle Harris, in the flick as Joe's daughter (this being post-HALLOWEEN 4 & 5), and even seeing her again brought back all the um...."memories" I had watching it back in the day. Oof, I could get arrested for writing this stuff, but hell...now she's all grows up and struttin her stuff in HALLOWEEN (which she was one of the only good things about the flick, so I guess it's OK.

Sure, the movie is dated, but a blast of a flick and never stops for a second for it or the viewer to breath...and who DOESN'T think Taylor Negron is frightening? Clearly Tony Scott did and made him an unstoppable force and gave him a kill to be remembered by. All in all, I loved this film as a kid, and I do a Hallenbeck jig whenever it's on. Good, fun stuff, and so great to finally see it with an rabid audience.

Afterwards, Shane came up looking quite "Gap-ish" in a pair of khakis and a sweater and proceeded to tear the movie apart! Edgar looked shocked as Shane just told story after story about the pains of making this film, it's original ending and how Bruno would constantly give him shit. It was hilarious, and Black, never one to hold back an opinion, even gave himself a spoolful of shit when he told everyone he just got Botoxed and looked strange. It was a surreal Q&A but an unforgettable one.
(You can actually hear the whole thing HERE).

After the break, we came back to watch KISS KISS, BANG BANG, which was my favorite movie of 2005. Seeing it back to back with LAST BOY SCOUT was really an amazing experience, just to see the evolution of Black's work from his heyday of paydirt (he got paid a cool Million for BOY SCOUT's script and was at the top of the screenwriting A list for a while) to now, emerging as a true visual storyteller both on the page and behind the camera. While SCOUT was mostly Mamet-esque one-liners with some cause and effect in their delivery (but amazing ones at that), KISS KISS had such a wonderfully woven tapestry of dialogue that
only works better with each viewing, where you find new jokes you might have missed before and complex plot points that might have been glossed over upon previous viewings (I certainly did this time). Everyone in the film, from Robert Downey Jr. to Val Kilmer to Michelle Monaghan, are stellar, but the star here is Black, who directs in such a loose, jazzy style that you almost forget its a movie and almost take it in as a GREAT story told by a guy at a party, or a great old pulp novel you pick up in a truck stop. That's Shane Black at his best, and this is just the beginning me thinks....and hopes...

OH! Almost forgot...before the movie started, Edgar had programmed some awesome trailers from the 80's (like ACTION JACKSON & TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA...sweet) so this was my chance to at least say hi to Shane. While he was looming in the back, I tapped him on the shoulder, said "I just wanted to thank you for such amazing work and shake your hand, I'm a huge fan." and he turned to me, smiling. He looked down at the copy of WT2 I had tucked in my armpit, and on that I whispered "I just wanted to give this to you. It's my first film and it would be an honor to give it to you". He took it, smiled wider and patted me on the back. "Thanks Joe! Nice to meet you." He then walked into the light for a moment, reading the cover. He then came back and whispered "You didnt write the first one did you?"
I gulped.
"Nope. I was just involved in this one".
"Oh good! Cool can't wait to see it!"
..and just like that, poof, he was gone.

Whew! So I dont know what he would have said/done if i told him i was involved (which i wasnt), but it was just hilarious that he asked at all, that he even KNOWS what WRONG TURN is. If he watches it or not, knowing that my movie is probably lounging on his desk in Casa Del Black is such a fucking thrill.
Yes, Im easily pleased.

Overall it was a great night, so cool finally meeting The Shane Black and giving him my flick, and just a wonderful Friday night at the movies.

...and then there was Twisted Sister...but that's, another blog.

Staying Scary,

PS: I'm on Facebook now, yay.
Wanna be Facial Friends? Ew...so, stop by and say hi.


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