connielane: (king)
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I had seriously planned to do a vlog this year instead of a long breathless post, and I took a bunch of video, but my taciturn nature led me to shoot a lot more things and places than people (not wanting to bother people, natch -- #shypeopleproblems) so while I do have more pictures than usual, I wasn't quite ready for a vlog. Maybe next year.

Also, for the first time in my BNAT-going history, I brought my phone into the room (for picture-taking only), but I think I only ended up with one picture over the whole 25.5 hours. Again, next year. Baby steps. :P

THE JOURNEY

Getting to Austin was pretty drama-free this go-round. I was able to use the car service from work to get to the airport, and it was nice to be flying out of JFK for a change. I had lunch at Cheeburger Cheeburger, which has pretty good "cheeburger"s and excellent onion rings. Flight was uneventful and arrived on time. I think this was the first time I'd been to AUS's new car rental facility, and the slightly longer walk underlined the fact that it was COLD. I mean, yeah, it was December and the Minnesota peeps probably thought it was balmy, but still unusually cold for Texas.

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I'm gutted that I didn't have the presence of mind to take a picture of
my rental keys on my Kill Bill "PUSSY WAGON" keychain.

I made my way through the RIDICULOUS traffic to the hotel where I was staying and got my key from the front desk (my roomie David had arrived the day before). After I dropped off my stuff, we went to meet Swedish filmmaker and frequent BNAT-er Filip at Torchy's on South Lamar. I got my usual -- the Democrat and the Trailer Park (trashy) and a grapefruit-flavored Jarritos -- and the three of us had a nice conversation about (what else?) movies.

Harry had, for the first time, made an open invitation to BNAT attendees to come to his house and hang out that evening. The carport was still decorated with surreal German expressionist artwork (Cabinet of Dr. Caligari mixed with a bit of Spellbound) from Halloween and the lighting and the communal fire pit made it a very cool environment. Well, and COLD, since we were outside most of the time. Among the movie talk and observations about how old we all seem to be getting was the controversial topic of Shakespeare in Love vs. Saving Private Ryan, and I was pleased to learn that Harry was Team Shakespeare. Harry also let me know that I'd be in my usual front-row seat for BNAT on Saturday.

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Before leaving, I took a walk through the house and marveled at the gargantuan movie collection. I also collected a giant hug from Harry and it's still weird to me that he knows who I am. I mean, obviously he knows who I am, but he's just really good at making you feel like you're not just another name on a list.


On the left, Harry and Sly. On the right, a poster for the last night of programming at
the original Drafthouse. The last thing to show on that screen was the BNAT 4 classic NIGHT WARNING.

Oh! And I also finally got to meet Harry's sister, Dannie, and we bonded over being antisocial and over my favorite movie, The Silence of the Lambs. Great night.

ONE DAY MORE


Up at 8am, in line at Franklin Barbecue around 9am. There was some mockery on the BNAT Facebook group about all the "silly" people who were going to stand in line in the cold like "tourists" for BBQ, but you know what? I'm a New Yorker who's in Austin for the weekend -- I *AM* a tourist. So what?! I regret not one moment spent waiting for those delicious meat wonders. It was a slightly smaller group than years past (our favorite Rosemeade teachers, Eric and Brian, were tragically absent from all BNAT proceedings this year), but there was still Jessica, Lisa, Sarabeth, Omar, Andy and film "cricket" Jason. Instead of going in with a group haul, I did my own order, and I enjoyed a Tipsy Texan, a quarter-pound of pulled pork, and a Mexican Coke. And a key lime tart. When it comes to Franklin, you go big or go home.

I always dread going back to the car post-Franklin, because I always have to park so far away that I'm never quite sure if I'm parked in a legit spot. I've never actually had a problem, but this time I had a surprise waiting for me that I wasn't expecting -- the product of what must have been a literal shitstorm from some remake of The Birds. I have never seen so many pellets of poop in one place. I have no idea where they even came from because there were no trees nearby, and I wasn't under a power line or anything. It was WEIRD. I thought about taking a picture, but then I realized how sad it would be to take a picture of bird crap. Surely much sadder than having one's car covered in it.

After Franklin, I went back to the hotel for a massive meat-coma nap and when I woke up it was time for the pre-party. I did much better at the pre-party than I usually do. I blew my usual $5 on tokens and played the Doctor Who pinball, Galaga, a Star Trek Voyager FPS game (where I got to kill a bunch of Borg!), Skee-Ball, some weird game called Colorama that I didn't understand, Q-bert, and of course Pac-Man.

I amassed enough tickets to exchange for this little guy.

Megan brought her traditional stash of buttons she'd made -- one with the theme and artwork for this year's BNAT and another with a quote from The Handmaid's Tale ("Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.") which she suggested would probably come in handy pretty soon. And after a solid couple of hours of gaming and schmoozing, I headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.

HA! Or not. I spent a little while waiting for the Fake List to go up, watched a little Star Trek along with Mark Oshiro's reaction videos, and TRIED to sleep. I got maybe four or five hours, but it's like Christmas Eve, when you know there are awesome pressies waiting for you and you Just. Can't. Sleep.

BNAT DAY






As a New Yorker who almost never gets a chance to go to the Cracker Barrel, I don't care
how stupid it is or how out of the way it is, I drove up to Round Rock Saturday morning
and had me some country ham. Judge me all you want.

Having a full tank of gas that needed to get used up before returning the rental car, and missing the sensation of driving (since I only really get to do it a couple times a year), I felt no shame in driving up to the Round Rock Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Loads of people have their traditions -- Magnolia, Kerbey Lane, Jim's, the IHOP on Cesar Chavez (does anyone do that one anymore now that BNAT isn't downtown?), but weirdly, I was kind of putting off being thrust into the social whirlwind. It can be a bit overwhelming, and I wasn't *quite* ready to face it. (That makes it sound like a chore, which of course it isn't, but when you have social anxieties you have to pace yourself.)



I didn't quite muster the courage to film an "I'm about to go in!" segment that might have gone into a video, I nevertheless managed an excited car selfie in the parking garage next to the Drafthouse. It took longer than I remembered to get through the line at the Drafthouse and pay for my ticket and whatnot (or maybe I was just later than usual). The t-shirt was AWESOME and not only did it have the preliminary poster artwork on the front but the back had ALL of our apocalypse nicknames from our applications.

I was "LADY HARD," which is an alternate title for a film I watched at my Me-NAT last year --
YES, MADAM (1985). The title "Lady Hard" struck me as particularly awesome, so when asked
to choose my own post-apocalyptic sobriquet, I knew what to do.

I found my seat, then took my poster back to the car because I was afraid it would get messed up (a moment of prescience on my part). The pre-show contained a TON of Indian cinema clips, which led some of my rowmates to predict that we might see some Bollywood among the features (spoiler: we didn't). The guy right next to me was celebrating his 21st birthday that very morning by ordering a Mimosa. And finally, it was time.

First, I've gotta complain for a second. Nothing is really anyone's fault, and I don't blame anyone at all. I still love sitting in the front row, but this was just about the least pleasant experience, seating wise, that I've had at any BNAT, including the folding chair years at the old Colorado Street Alamo. I'm not a small person, as most of you know, and I was right between two people who were as large or larger than myself. So what are you going to do? It's not like any of us could magically make ourselves occupy less space. My neighbors were also both guys, so there was some manspreading going on (along with knee bouncing and the occasional sock foot on the table where eating happens), and I spent most of my time trying in futility to make myself smaller. That's agonzing enough for the runtime of one movie, but twenty-five hours? Yeesh. Again, not blaming anyone, and BNAT is occasionally *about* pain, but this was more painful than usual.

On top of that, during the first movie, our waiter knocked my half-full drink glass over, which luckily did as little damage as it could to our bags sitting on the floor, but still made a huge puddle that became a sticky mass over the first few hours.

Grrr. Okay, done complaining, because the day itself was INCREDIBLE. The Fake List included 13 films, but we were told this represented 13 ... things, not all of them full movies. There were going to be 10 features, apparently -- 4 new, 6 vintage -- and a few sneak peeks. There wasn't much explaining this time about what the connection between the fake titles and the real ones were, so I'm guessing for a lot of these. If I have no idea, I'm just going to leave it unexplained.

Before the official films started, Tim League (who had been absent from last year's BNAT) welcomed everyone and pointed out a few young people (young as in teenagers) who were attending with their parents. He then proceeded to show a montage of penis-celebrating clips from the Klown movies and TV series, before presenting the kiddoes and their parents with the special flash drives (link NSFW) that Drafthouse Films is selling, containing the Complete Klown Collection. It could have been worse. Believe me. Someone brought their 13-year-old son to BNAT 6 and they were exposed to TOYS ARE NOT FOR CHILDREN.

ANYWAY, it was time to get started, and we were kicking things off with our third gift from Martin Scorsese.

1. Category: Feature
Fake Title: THE FOUNTAIN (2006)
Real Title: SILENCE (2016)
Trailers: THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST
GONE WITH THE POPE (NSFW)
STUNT ROCK (warning: STUNT ROCK trailer may
cause your computer or phone to explode from awesomeness)

I don't know that this movie would have worked in any other slot of the programming. Our brains were as fresh as they were going to be and that's the best way to experience this movie -- with properly functioning mental facilities so you can digest it. I can't imagine trying to watch this at 3am, or even as the last movie after a 24-hour glut.

Scorsese has been trying to get this movie made for over 20 years, and it's clearly a labor of love. It's beautifully filmed, acted, everything. It's also a very moving portrayal of the struggles of faith and humanity.

A gloriously coiffed Andrew Garfield and the slightly less gloriously coiffed Adam Driver play two young priests in the 17th century who have been assigned to look for their mentor (Liam Neeson) who had been doing mission work and proseletyzing in Japan. They are told in the beginning that he had committed apostasy long ago after a prolonged period of torture and is now living as a Japanese, with a Japanese wife and child, but they refuse to believe it, insisting they be allowed to go and find out the truth. They are taken there by a guide (played by Tadanobu Asano, who previously appeared in BNAT9's Genghis Khan biopic MONGOL), and they minister for a short time to people in a couple of villages.

Things do not go well, and I'll leave it at that. This movie brings up significant questions about the nature of faith and whether the people outside our culture who convert to a faith really understand what it is. A key point late in the film is that the hundreds of thousands of Japanese Christians that existed before they started being stamped out may have had profound misunderstandings about things considered basic to the Christian faith (e.g., what exactly the "Son/Sun of God" is). The single most moving and sad moment in the movie is when Rodriguez (Garfield) finally hears Christ speak to him. It is such a profound moment of both guilt and relief that I had a hard time keeping it together. (And I'm glad people in the room refrained from laughing, even if the moment might have struck them as funny.) Loads of people will be talking about Garfield's work in HACKSAW RIDGE as an awards contender, but his work here has much more depth and pathos.

2. Category: Feature
Fake Title: LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT (1927), a film that is
considered lost, just as the real title was for nearly five decades.
Real Title: DELUGE (1933)
Trailers: THE FLOOD*
TRAJICO TERREMOTO EN MEXICO**
THE BIG BUS***

The Drafthouse's trailer game was on point this year, y'all.

* I cannot for the life of me find the trailer we saw, with this title, but the movie was actually released as HARD RAIN in 1998 (with Christian Slater, Minnie Driver, Morgan Freeman, Randy Quaid, and I think Betty White?); this trailer (which I assume was for foreign markets, many of which retained the original title) leaned far less, as I recall, on the heist elements and sold it more as a disater movie.
** Couldn't find this one either, though the entire film is on YouTube.
*** Greatest trailer this year that wasn't STUNT ROCK (which is the greatest any year, and at all times).

DELUGE was thought to be a lost film until Forrest J. Ackerman (a writer, fandomer and collector in whose mold Harry has long fashioned himself) discovered an Italian-dubbed print of it in 1981. Some of the destruction footage was used in a couple of other films, and just this year, a nitrate duplicate negative with an English soundtrack was discovered and used to make a 2K scan, which is going to be released in theaters and on home video.

The first ten or so minutes consist of an extraordinary sequence of earthquakes, storms and just all-around apocalyptic destruction. As I said on Facebook, and as we were told by Harry, this was probably the first post-apocalyptic movie ever made. We follow a few groups of characters, presumably the last people on Earth, in the aftermath of the destruction. The person I would argue is the main character is a swimmer named Claire, who finds herself in an alarming number of situations where she is viewed (as most females seem to be in this environment -- and in our own world, let's be real) as a commodity. She literally swims away from these situations more than once, and Windy decided that *swimming motion* should be the new shorthand for "I don't have time for this patriarchy nonsense."

There is also some good old 1930s RACISM, with a token Black character who is in two scenes -- one where he wishes he could be sitting on a couch (*audible groans from audience*) and the other where he's bidding on a Venus de Milo (reproduction?) and complaining that she's not worth more than two bits because "her arms is missing." Ugh. Speaking of the Venus de Milo, though, the bidding scene leads to the funniest moment in the film, when one guy wins the bid and takes the sculpture off, musing that he knows what he'll be doing when the weather starts getting cold. Again, women as a commodity. At least in this case it's an actual object.

This movie was also pre-Code, which accounts for more risque humor (like the line about the statue) and occasional nudity, not to mention the clear indication that two characters who are not married have sex, which would be SCANDALOUS just a few years later. The character of Claire, being a swimmer and not having access to traditional swimwear in the post-apocalypse, is frequently seen in a state of undress that would have been SHOCKING once the Code was in place (and, frankly, would have kept it from coming out uncut, period).

Having never seen the film himself, Harry said in his introduction that there could be some melodrama, as was true for many films of this period, and boy howdy was he ever right about that. It's a good movie, though, and well worth checking out, if only for the destruction sequence. I also thought the vision of what society would be like in the aftermath was interesting, especially for a film of this time, where there weren't many other examples of this trope to emulate.

3. Category: Feature
Fake Title: THE GREAT WALL (2017), which was intended as a Tr--p joke,
but walls and fences have an obvious connection.
Real Title: FENCES (2016)
Trailers: THE BLACK GODFATHER
DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS
THE BINGO LONG TRAVELING ALL-STARS & MOTOR KINGS

First, some background. August Wilson's play Fences is part of "The Pittsburgh Cycle" -- a set of 10 Wilson plays, each set in a different decade and all but one set in Pittsburgh's Hill District, that aim to outline the Black experience in the 20th century. Denzel Washington, who both directed the film and stars in it, is in collaboration with August Wilson's estate and HBO to do adaptations of all 10 plays -- one per year over the next decade -- the other nine of which Washington is going to oversee as executive producer. This is incredibly exciting to me, firstly because (amazingly) Fences is the first film adaptation there has even *been* of a Wilson play (though The Piano Lesson was filmed for television). But also, because 1) Washington is stepping back to executive produce and 2) one of the reasons it has taken so long for a Wilson play to be filmed is that he (and afterward his estate) were adamant about his plays being filmed by African American directors, that means these nine other plays will go to *other* African American directors, most of whom presumably don't have the name recognition of Denzel Washington. I'm not sure whether any of the other nine films will be in theaters as well, but this is still pretty huge.

FENCES the film is pretty stunning. It's not very cinematic and takes place almost exclusively in places you would have seen in a stage production, but that's not a criticism in my opinion (though some critics may *use* it as a criticism). Peter Bogdonavich told a story about talking to Hitchcock about the same thing with regard to how he shot DIAL M FOR MURDER. Hitchcock supposedly said (paraphrasing), "When you have a hit play, don't try to open it up. Don't try to make it cinematic. Because what will it be, anyway -- just cars pulling into places, people getting out...." Nobody complains about DIAL M FOR MURDER not being "cinematic." If it works for Hitch, it should work for Denzel, and I think it really works well here. The focus is not on what kind of flim-flam showmanship Washington can throw at you with his camera work. He focuses on the acting, and that is frankly where the focus *should* be when you have such stellar performances as he and Viola Davis and Mykelti Williamson and the rest of the cast give.

The story follows Troy (Washington), a former "Negro League" baseball player who now works as a garbage collector, as he struggles to provide for his family and deals with various things that happen in his life. Other characters are his wife Rose, their son Cory, Troy's other son from a previous marriage, his brother Gabriel who was injured in WW2 and suffered psychological damage, and his best friend Bono. There are many great moments in the movie, but the two greatest are the "why don't you like me" scene with Troy and Cory and Rose's speech after she learns of Troy's infidelity. The father-son moment is probably the most famous scene in the play and is the one that James Earl Jones and a very young Courtney B. Vance (the original Troy and Cory on Broadway) recreated for the 1987 Tony Awards ceremony. The Rose speech is an excellent example of why Viola Davis is one of the greatest actresses alive. Washington wisely keeps the camera on her, in close up, so you can see every tear, every bit of snot coming out her nose, and Davis uses all of that to give us an extremely raw moment of exceptional emotional power. It's truly one of the best acting moments I saw this year.

Such a great movie. Deserving of every accolade I'm sure it's about to get over the next few months.

We were then introduced to Frank Dietz, who made our next film, which was a documentary about KING KONG and its legacy in film history.

4. Category: Feature (Documentary)
Fake Title: KING KONG VS. GODZILLA (1962) (fairly obvious connection)
Real Title: KONG: LONG LIVE THE KING (2016)
Trailers: GOING APE (couldn't find trailer)
KING KONG (1976)
KING KONG LIVES (1986)

This was the first time a (real) documentary played BNAT, and I liked it, but I was kind of expecting something else. Despite it being introduced to us as not the usual "I saw Kong when I was such-and-such and it changed my life..." that's pretty much exactly what it was. It was cool hearing from all these filmmakers -- Joe Dante, Greg Nicotero, and many many others -- about what they love about Kong, and I liked that they went through all the iterations (I especially loved the affection most people seemed to have for Peter Jackson's version). Dana Gould had my favorite moment, where he talked about totally buying into the giant ape and the island with the dinosaurs and everything, but he just couldn't suspend his disbelief enough to accept a producer who was willing to share profits -- that was too far-fetched!

During the film, the kitchen served us chocolate-covered bananas (banana slices, rather).

5. Category: Sneak Peek
Fake Title: THE GREEN BERETS
Real Title: KONG: SKULL ISLAND (2 clips)

It was just a few minutes, but I've gone from complete ignorance about this movie before the trailer, to being semi-pumped after the trailer, to SUPER-pumped to see it after these clips. Because clips give you a much better sense of what the movie is like than the rapid fire assault of half-second "money shots" in a trailer. This is going to be awesome. The two Kong hands on the cliff and the helicopter scene are the things I'm still thinking about days later.

There was also a brief Q&A with the filmmaker, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, and he talked about not wanting Kong to be just a guy in a monkey suit but something that was so massive that your only conclusion could be that this was a god.

There was a longer break than normal after this film, because the special guests and the next film were running a bit behind schedule. Harry then vamped for a few minutes more, setting us up for what we were about to see. He mentioned how he loves to program sick and demented stuff, and reminisced about the TEENAGE MOTHER screening at BNAT 5 and how he shared a smile with Tim after the cascade of screams, then the screams of people who'd been awakened by the first screams, then the laughter of the original screamers at the new screamers. I remember very well turning around in my seat to see people squirming and hearing Harry's diabolical giggle.

When it was finally time for the next bit, we were told we were seeing A CURE FOR WELLNESS, and director Gore Verbinski and star Dane DeHaan were there to introduce it to us. Also, while we would be free to say we saw this, we were implored not to give away plot details or the particular tone of the movie. But since there is a trailer and several images from the film already online and on all the movie sites, I assume that stuff is okay.

6. Category: Feature (somewhat secret)
Fake Title: SHOCK CORRIDOR (1963) (a movie set in an asylum
and featuring a character who does not actually belong there)
Real Title: A CURE FOR WELLNESS (2017)
Trailers: DOCTOR DETROIT
7 FACES OF DR. LAO
MR. SUPERINVISIBLE (couldn't find the trailer
we saw, but this Italian trailer is pretty hilarious)

So yeah, we're not supposed to say much about this one. I will say, without getting too specific, that the trailer does not quite convey the tone of the movie. Perhaps this is by design, which I would love, because the movie works really well when it takes you off guard. I look forward to the outrage/confusion/delight when people go in expecting a garden variety horror movie only to be met with what this movie really is. :P

Also, there is Jason Isaacs.

We were given some promotional items from the film as well, which included this -- an object I can't fully explain without breaking my promise. (That's 5-Hour Energy drink in there, not what is in its counterpart in the film. I hope.)


And since Dane DeHaan was already in the room, he introduced us to...

7. Category: Sneak Peek
Fake Title: BARBARELLA (1968), a movie based on a comic book about a kickass futuristic space babe
Real Title: VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

I was not aware of how old the source material on this was, and how influential the character of Laureline was to badass female characters in genre stuff. This was some cool-looking footage, but I don't really remember much about it, because it was fairly short (we were told it was 20 minutes, but it was more like five) and kind of jumbled. There was some very cool stuff in the final moments, with Valerian running through a bunch of weird envirnoments (at one point, I swear it looked he was running through a tunnel full of giant blueberries and I started wondering if they had lied to us about what was in that eye-dropper).

My interest is still piqued, but this was probably the weakest of the advance footage, just purely on presentation. Maybe I would have gotten more out of it if I was familiar with the comics.

8. Category: Feature
Fake Title: LOST HORIZON (1937), a movie about plane crash survivors
taking refuge in an idyllic land that has a secret (which kind of sounds like LOST, actually)
Real Title: BRIGADOON (1954)
Trailers: THE MAGIC CHRISTMAS TREE
THE SECRET OF MAGIC ISLAND
[a third trailer we never saw a title for but it featured a
dwarf Little Red Riding Hood -- I tried to find this but
I couldn't even figure out what the title was supposed to be]

I'd seen BRIGADOON before, as had many others in the room, but seeing it on the big screen with this group was special. You probably know the story already, but if not ... Gene Kelly and Van Johnson are hunting in Scotland, get lost and stumble onto a village called Brigadoon which seems to be from another time. They're enchanted (well, Van Johnson is more bemused) and Gene Kelly falls hard for a lass named Fiona (Cyd Charisse) who has a DRESS WITH POCKETS (*TEH MODERN*). There are dance numbers, gorgeous guys in tartan tights (Charlie GUH), a bit of tragedy, and a mystery about why the people can't venture beyond the borders.

I enjoy this movie, but I always feel a bit sad about the Van Johnson character. I like the idea that he's just not as charmed by the place and definitely would never upend his life to get back there, but I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel about his constant drinking. Is it supposed to be funny? It's not, really. I wonder too much what happened to make him the way he is. And there's something really touching about the way he drops everything to go back at the end for his buddy.

I went out for the break, stopping to sing a little "Bonny Jean" with Harry as I passed him, and when I came back there was something playing to the half-empty room called GAYRACULA. And out of nowhere we were assaulted with Sudden 2am Penis Sightings. Oh, BNAT - never change.

Once we had recovered and the break was over, it was time for our next film, which ended up being my favorite thing (old or new) of the evening.

9. Category: Feature
Fake Title: MARIE ANTOINETTE (2006), about the queen of France
in the years leading up to the French Revolution (the setting for The Scarlet Pimpernel)
Real Title: PIMPERNEL SMITH
Trailers: THE SECRET INVASION (with more synchronized snapping than a West Side Story number)
THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL

This. Is. Fabulous. And could not have been a more fitting film to watch in these dark times. Produced and directed by Leslie Howard, who is also the star of the film, it takes the Scarlet Pimpernel role (which Howard had played in the 1934 film) out of pre-Revolutionary France and makes him an eccentric British archaeologist in WW2 Europe named Horatio Smith. A slightly nerdier Indiana Jones without a deus ex machina to take care of his Nazi nemeses.

Smith takes a group of his students (including one played by David Tomlinson, 20+ years before he would play George Banks in MARY POPPINS) to pre-war Nazi Germany on the pretext of an archaeological dig attempting to find evidence of Aryan origins of German civilization. But his *real* agenda is a rescue mission (or several missions, rather) -- to free prisoners of concentration camps. Newspapers call him a modern-day Scarlet Pimpernel, and his students soon become aware of his secret and become his enthusiastic helpers.

I had honsetly not seen much of Leslie Howard before this, with the exception of GONE WITH THE WIND. I knew he'd played the Scarlet Pimpernel and Henry Higgins, but I'd never seen that side of him. This movie really makes me want to see more of him, because I feel like his acerbic wit could power the sun. Howard's gifts are on full display throughout the movie, and never more so than in the final scene, which contains a speech so powerful (and sadly relevant) that the audience applauded. I'm embedding it below, even though it's literally the last few minutes of the movie and contains spoilers. It's incredible.



Before the next film, Harry said there was a BNAT-er who had a favor to ask. He then introduced Rian Johnson, for whom this was the 7th BNAT. Oh, and he's directing a little movie called (for the time being) STAR WARS EPISODE VIII. He started off by saying that no, he did not have a clip reel from the movie to show us. But he did have a favor to ask. Holding his cell phone and presumably having some voice recording app open, he asked us to give him a nice enthusiastic cheering sound; we gave him about 15 seconds before he cut us off like a conductor. He then asked for some bloodthirsty yelling; we obliged for another roughly 15 seconds (someone shouted "OW MY BALLS" after everyone else had stopped). Finally, he asked for booing, and we again obliged.









He then told us we were all going to be in Episode VIII. So listen up in crowd scenes because one of those "boo"ing or "rarr"ing or "woo"ing voices is me, from the front row of the Drafthouse. :-)

10. Category: Feature
Fake Title: KINGS ROW (1942) - the title might suggest an obvious connection,
but it's not what you think; it does, however, feature Claude Rains as a bad guy, just like...
Real Title: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD
Trailers: ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES (sad cheers for Alan Rickman)
TIME BANDITS

I was surprised this movie played because I never expected it to play a BNAT, despite being one of Harry's two all-time favorite movies (along with the original KING KONG). He once said he would never screen this at BNAT, because he'd screened it for the Saturday Morning Kids Club (which BNAT supports and which he programmed) and he didn't like to do repeats. But I suspect the theme of resistance was too much to, errr, resist.

What can I even say about this movie that hasn't been said a million times? I'd seen it several times already, including on the big screen (though digitally, not a film print), but seeing it in this room, and at this time, was amazing. The entire audience cheered when Marian said to Robin "You speak treason" and he retorted "Fluently." It reminded me a bit of when we saw V FOR VENDETTA at BNAT 7 -- there was a similar response to "People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people."

My favorite thing, though, was after it was over, I overheard the guys next to me saying "...and the bad king with the dumb hair -- it's so relevant!" I was also reminded of all those recent pics of Hillary Clinton in the woods of Chappaqua, like she's recruiting people Robin-Hood-style. I have to say that if she needs some merry women and men to overthrow an evil king, sign me up.

I also think I speak for every straight gal and gay guy in that room when I say I was very happy with the number of movies this year featuring hot guys in tights.



At around 8:30am it occurred to me to take a selfie in the room,
something I'd never done before. I blame the lack of quality on the lack of sleep.


When Harry said, after BRIGADOON, that there was a more modern musical coming up, I made the mistake of getting my hopes up for LA LA LAND. Alas, he was talking about this movie.

11. Category: Feature
Fake Title: EL TOPO (1970), a weird western
Real Title: ZACHARIAH (1971)
Trailers: KILL JOHNNY RINGO!
THE 3 SUPERMEN IN THE WEST (I cannot imagine how tedious this movie is
when I lose my patience 30 seconds into the trailer)

This movie is like a couple of teenagers smoking weed for the first time and they think everything they say is the most profound revelation of all time. Normally at this time of the evening I'm nodding off a bit; I was awake for every strange moment of this thing.

John Rubinstein (who went on to do a TON of television, including ANGEL and THE WEST WING, and played the French horn-toting, Leo Sayer-looking fart music enthusiast in THE CAR) plays the title role. Zachariah orders a gun in the mail, and when it arrives, he and his friend Matthew (played by a young and INSANELY pretty Don Johnson) decide to leave their old lives behind and become outlaws. They start by traveling with a band called The Crackers, who distract the townspeople with their anachronistic music while Zachariah and Matthew rob the banks. They part ways about halfway through the movie, with Matthew saying they're on different paths now, and while Matthew becomes an even more dangerous outlaw, Zachariah goes on more of a journey of self-discovery. By which I mean he hangs out with an old guy and goes to a brothel and gets laid.

This movie is verrrry hippie. It is also very gay. I don't mean that as derogatory; I mean there is a whole lot of homoeroticism. I half-expected Zachariah and Matthew to kiss at any number of moments. And I can't help thinking that there was some serious "no homo" in the brothel sequence, particularly the scene where Zachariah beds the prostitute and she says he's a better lover than anyone she's ever had.  Sure, Jan.

ZACHARIAH also boasts the weirdest line of the night -- "This is for vampires! Not friends!"  And it only just the other day dawned on me that Zachariah was referring to the silver bullet Matthew made him when he first got his gun, in case he ran into a vampire, and that neither of them seemed to be up on their monster mythology.

I can't remember for certain, but I *think* Harry introduced James Mangold before the next thing we saw, which was a sneak peek (the first 40 minutes) of Marvel's upcoming Wolverine movie, LOGAN.
12. Category: Sneak Peek
Fake Title: THE GREAT SILENCE (1968) - err, I recognize some vague plot
similarities here, but I can't really get specific because spoilers
Real Title: LOGAN (2017) (about 40 minutes)

I was not terribly excited about this beforehand. In addition to just general superhero fatigue, previous attempts to do standalone Wolverine movies have been miss-and-bigger-miss. Or so I've heard.

THIS movie, however - at least what we were shown - is OFF THE CHAIN, and I cannot WAIT to see the rest. I think they would have to work very hard indeed to make this suck after the 40 minutes we saw. The first five minutes set the tone for the whole thing, and the audience was cheering like we were being recorded for a Star Wars movie. This is the movie that I think X-Men fans have been wanting. I don't think it has a rating yet because it's incomplete, but it will surely be a hard R, judging from what we saw. In the Q&A afterward, Mangold said they had DEADPOOL to thank for the studio letting them off the leash when it came to the R-rating. He also said they definitely approached this movie as its own thing -- respecting the sometimes tortuous continuity of the previous movies, but not wanting this to be like Episode 11 of a television series.

This is going to be amazing. I've never really been excited about an X-Men movie before, but I'm pumped for this. GET IN MY EYEBALLS, MOVIE!

So either before the LOGAN footage or during the Mangold Q&A, Harry dropped that our final film would be John Woo's HARD BOILED. He had also been dropping hints in the last week that he was thinking of screening a print that the Drafthouse was reluctant to use because of how scratched it was, but that it was a barn-burner, wanting our feedback so that he could convince the Drafthouse to let him screen it.

They turned out to be the same movie. So, for the first time in BNAT history, we were closing with a vintage pick, and we were going to see a badly scratched (though it didn't look *that* bad to me) print of...

13. Category: Feature
Fake Title: THE WILD BUNCH (1969), a notoriously violent shoot-em-up movie
Real Title: HARD-BOILED (1992)
Trailers: HARD TARGET
BROKEN ARROW

I wish I could have enjoyed this more, but I was at peak frustration with the cramping and the manspreading. I really wanted to just get up and watch it standing up on the side or something, but I didn't want to be in the servers' way, and I was going to have to deal with my food bill anyway.

This movie treads a well-worn trope -- people with different agendas (usually enemies, though not really in this case) forced to team up for a common goal. But the story matters far less than the pure, balls-to-the-wall action. It has all the classic elements -- weirdly poetic dialogue (Chow Yun-Fat -- or rather his dub artist -- at one point says "woe betide"), firing two guns while jumping through the air, action scenes in places where action scenes really shouldn't be happening (i.e., a hospital) -- all that was missing was slow-motion doves.

I need to see this again, because it was my first time seeing it and I just couldn't concentrate under the circumstances. Not that you exactly need to concentrate that hard on a movie like this, but I spent most of the time just wanting the movie to end so I could stand up and stretch my arms and legs. I'm thankful that my Blu-ray copy arrives tomorrow (along with PIMPERNEL SMITH) so I can watch it again very soon.

So that was it and it was time for us to collect our stuff and drift out to the lobby and courtyard area to allow the Drafthouse staff to defumigate before the 4pm show. I suspect that no matter how hard they tried they could not completely rid the theater of the Farts of BNATs Past.







Post-NAT selfie, just before escaping to the hotel.





POST-NAT

My Post-NAT this year was pretty mellow. I eschewed the after-parties entirely, and while I regret not seeing everybody again before heading home, I'm certain I would not have been at my best, socially. I stayed up long enough to check in to my flight for the next day -- killing a little time until then by starting to look up photos and trailers for this post -- and then crashed. I woke up again around 10pm and looked for what was open that wouldn't require me to look too much like a human, but most stuff was either closed or closing before I could get there. So I settled for Denny's, which was next door to the hotel and which I could get in take-out form.

I've heard tales and seen epic pics from Conan's Pizza and karaoke at Mister Tramps, but I'll leave those tales to others.

As for me, I bade goodbye to David the next day and knocked two more eating establishments off my yearly must list -- breakfast at Whataburger (honey butter chicken biscuit mmmmmm) and Buffet Palace.

My flight got in just after 10pm and I went straight to work. No rest for the weary. :-)

Thanks to Harry for letting me be part of this movie lovefest again. Thanks to David for giving me a place to crash. Thanks to the Drafthouse and Kristen Bell for making it all happen. And thanks to all my fellow BNAT-ers for the hugs and the discussions and the squees and OMG WE'RE GOING TO BE IN STAR WARS YOU GUYS!
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