April 2nd, 2011

Me 2 (B&W)

Cameron, you magnificent bastard, your film Aliens still brings us joy

My joy and enjoyment at the fantastic, absolutely fantastic, movie Aliens last night was, by late in the film, mainly being expressed by incoherent high-pitched noises.

Have I mentioned that James Cameron's Aliens (1986) is fantastic?

It is. It also, until last night, was the only Alien film I had not seen on a big screen. I saw the original 1979 film in its 2003 re-release, and Alien3 (1992) and Alien Resurrection (1997) in first-run. I'd only seen the glory of Aliens on video and HBO, but its power, its emotion and its humor were still obvious. I love that film.

As I said before, I'd almost seen it five years ago. It's likely good I hadn't, as Cort and Fatboy's June 2006 screening of it went...poorly. To the consternation of Cort and Bobby, last night's...almost went poorly. First, they got word 10 hours before the showing that THE FILM PRINT WAS BEYOND REPAIR. It had broken so badly at the most recent theater to play it that, as I understand, there'd be no way to get the print fixed in time to show it at the Bagdad Theater and Pub. Back-up plans fell through and the only thing that worked was that Cort, Bobby and the Bagdad got the legal OK from Twentieth Century-Fox to show an Aliens digital print. THAT ALMOST DIDN'T WORK, EITHER. Cort acknowledged that the film may be cursed for them, and that they'd never show it again. (Could this be part of the curse? Cort, Bobby, David Walker, Mike Russell and Erik Henriksen recorded their commentary for the film and were interrupted by a solicitor at the door of the place where they recorded it.) But the digital print -- of the longer cut that Cameron prepared for laser disc in the early 90s -- played, and was gorgeous. I paid VERY close attention: so many details to see, like the condensation on all of the interior of Ripley's lifeboat at the film's start. (Though I still didn't see the name of the Marine Corps vessel Sulaco as lettered on the ship's side.)

Before the movie, the clip reel was focused for the first time on trailers for films that Cort and Bobby plan to show this year. This not only includes, of course, the sixth annual showing of The Big Lebowski, but also the genuinely fun horror comedy Tremors (Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward and other middle-of-nowhere desert dwellers battling giant sandworms), Raiders of the Lost Ark (an encore of the first Cort and Fatboy Midnight Movie ever!), and The Godfather (also an encore, and by the way, to this day, even just the trailer can make me squeak with joy).

Before the clip reel (and when Cort and Bobby were, I gather, slowly unwinding from the Balinese-fire-and-boat-drill++ the film print shenanigans put them through), there was from all reports a good turnout of people in line -- it turned out to be well-attended, thank everything -- and much pre-film visiting, eating and drinking. I saw one pirate in civvies and another pirate out of her pirate costume and dressed as Ripley. (Portland has pirates. Didn't I mention that? But I digress.) The front pub at the Bagdad was also a source of mixed signals: slammed when I got there, surprisingly sparse for a while before we left to enter the theater, leading me and Mike Russell to worry whether there'd be a good turn-out. But beforehand, I learned stuff such as how Mike's wife Gina, like me, has connections to Guam. (Her father was among the Army Corps of Engineers people who helped repairs things on the island after the 2002 ultratyphoon.) I also saw a little kid walk like an Egyptian. Good kid. That's some flair. *salutes*

Before all of that, I worked. This week was a busy week, also a week with not quite enough sleep. I'll spend this weekend, I hope, catching up. But it was, I'm glad, a productive kind of busy. (And it meant I got my first 40-hour work week in several weeks; I've had a fair number of days off lately.) It's always good to end my week with a geek-out. Keep having these one-Friday-a-month screenings, OK, Cort and Bobby? And keep attending them, OK, Portland?

Remember: next month, on Friday, May 6th, the Midnight Movie? Will be The Big Lebowski for the sixth time. There will be a pre-show band. And for the first time -- IMPORTANT for you Little Lebowski Urban Achievers -- the Bagdad will be able to sell tickets to the screening beforehand.

There. These Cort and Fatboy Midnight Movie entries: entertaining AND informative!

+ Edited To Add a more detailed recap by Bobby "Fatboy" Roberts of why things almost didn't work: "1) the theater that previously ran the print destroyed it. Distributor wouldn't ship it. 2) Dolby processor broke at 5p and wasn't repaired until 8p... Basically, we had to get permission to screen it digitally, and then Bagdad had to fix their processor in time. And then we had to 3) yell at a couple annoying people from the stage & 4) hope people were cool with not seeing 35mm. ...and the crowd started kinda unruly and scared me that it would be a repeat of 2006. But they were cool/respectful...Mostly."

++ To quote one of Harlan Ellison's terms for everything going maddeningly, higgledy-piggledy crazy.