Thursday, May 24, 2012

Los Angeles Times' Hero Complex Film Festival: post event rundown

Last weekend's Hero Complex was a complete blast! I was only interested in Saturday's schedule which took me from first thing in the morning through late evening.

First off, Peter Weller gave a far reaching talk about the film industry, Antonioni films, how process trailer shots annoy him, the fact that students in his film/art class didn't know anything Marlon Brando did before "The Godfather" or Robert Shaw did before "Jaws"....and oh yeah, "Robocop"! I knew he was going to go off (from a previous Q&A of this movie) but had no idea it would be for a full hour while moderator Geoff Boucher kept trying to reel him in back to the film we'd just watched. Later in the lobby, Boucher said to me "so did you enjoy Peter Weller losing his mind?" LOL!

Yes, he did go off the rails a bit and (I think) had a good number of people in the audience scratching their heads, But ultimately, Weller is a very intelligent and funny guy and I had a great time watching him roll out everything!

One of the highlights for me, the moviegoer whose SO SICK of all the remakes Hollywood is cranking out at the moment...

When asked what he thought of the upcoming "Robocop" reboot, Weller responded: “I could give a shit… Good luck to them but they’ll never [equal] the original.” THANK YOU, PETER!!! And you know probably WILL suck!! No offense to recent cast edition Gary Oldman. To alter a quote uttered by Dick Jones (Ronny Cox): You just FUCKED....with the wrong movie!!!

Following the amazing one man performance that is Peter Weller, Rick Baker came out as a surprise guest, saying maybe there should have been a buzzer that went off when Weller was going over time. HA-HA! We saw a very cool short documentary about Baker's work on "Men in Black 3" followed by a brief Q&A with the artist himself. One of the most interesting topics: his mentoring of Rob Bottin and watching Rob's work in John Carpenter's "The Thing". Baker's favorite makeup effects movie.

The second screening of the day was "A Clockwork Orange" which was proceeded by a Q&A with Malcolm McDowell. Unfortunately they didn't take questions from the audience which I was disappointed about. But it was very cool to see the man who played Alex himself talking about working with Stanley Kubrick, missing the great director after his death, bonding with Peter Sellers who commented on how they were in the 'same club' having been in Kubrick movies, and how "Clockwork" affected his career. Not to mention some insights into filming the movie. Like when he performed this line:

"The Durango-95 purred away real horrorshow. A nice, warm, vibraty feeling all through your guttiwuts."

McDowell said he read it like he was doing a soup commercial. Too funny!

He was gracious and a joy to listen to. So glad I had the opportunity to see him in person! He did say he'd seen the movie for the first time at Cannes recently for the 40th Anniversary....his first in decades. Wow!

The final screening of the day was "Super" starring Rainn Wilson and Ellen Paige. Wilson and director James Gunn were in attendance and it was great to see my new found favorite movie on the big screen! Rebecca and I had been flipping through cable channels one night and came upon it on Showtime. I'd really wanted to see the movie when it was released last year but never quite made the limited release. We started watching ten minutes in and LOVED IT!!!! Oh my God, it is insanely funny, seriously violent and incredibly edgy!!

Post movie, Wilson and Gunn came out to talk about how surprised they were at some of the late response to the film. Initially it didn't do very well but is gaining a very close following now. Gunn said that the cult-y aspects of the film were kind of off-putting to some who expected a straight-on Rainn Wilson comedy or even some kind of superhero flick. I had a chance to speak with Gunn in the lobby afterward and expressed how much we adored the film and connected with it's humor and over-the-top violence, which is wonderfully juxtaposed by some genuinely touching and emotional scenes. Not to mention the crazed full-on action sequences.

BTW, they had a live trivia contest before each movie. There were multiple questions and I actually won twice during the course of the afternoon. The first question was name the actor who starred in these three movies: "Bonnie and Clyde", "Young Frankenstein" and "Postcards from the Edge". The minute I heard "Young Frankenstein" I knew it was Gene Hackman. My prize was a Blu-ray copy of "A Clockwork Orange" which is pretty cool since I hadn't picked up the movie yet.

A moment later I opened the booklet inside. There on the back page was a line from the movie, 'Viddy well!', written and signed by Malcolm McDowell just a few moments before! Wow! I was having a great day!!

The second trivia question I got was during the "Super" screening. William Katt has two brief cameos as a cop in the movie. The question: what was the real name of The Great American Hero? They were watching to see who was the first hand to go up and of course, in a sea of people 35 and under, it was mine! Ralph Hinckley. I even went so far as to add that right after Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr. they changed the character's name to Hanley. Bonus!

The prize was an autographed "Super" 1-sheet signed by both Rainn Wilson and James Gunn. I was cleaning up!! It was really great to just hang out at the movies all day...almost like what I use to do when I was growing up. Just cooler events honoring the movies I loved with amazing guests and fellow film fans cheering on their favorites.

There was one guy who I started talking with the moment I got in line outside the theatre. Turns out he saw "Robocop" for the first time when he was 8 years old and knew the ENTIRE movie backwards and forwards! He was a bit concerned that some of the semi-hushed line shout-outs he was probably going to do would bother other audience members. I told him to BRING IT!!...because I was going to be doing the same thing!

He really was good at knowing EVERYTHING about this movie and we had a great time together throwing out lines half under our breath at the screen (and some not!), as I mentioned we should probably sit next to one another. We ended up friending one another on Facebook afterwards.

SUCH A COOL DAY!!! And here are links to more immersive takes on the day:

Peter Weller/"Robocop"
Rick Baker
Rainn Wilson and James Gunn/"Super"

Can't seem to find a rap of Malcolm McDowell's appearance which is why one is not included.


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