Thursday, March 08, 2007

Friends of 'the Experience' #1

A big thank you to the recent generosity of Ivan, Glenn and Cenzig who chipped in for the March Fundraiser. The blog is free but it's a happier webthing when it ain't broke.

Ivan discovered the site just this past Oscar season. His passion for film started with Pulp Fiction (indeed, a touchstone for many). He writes
I saw it when I was 14. It was playing at the dollar theatre and I was chaperoning while my older sister was on a date. From the opening scene I was riveted. I had never heard dialogue like that. I had never seen something so fucking cool. So it gets to the adrenaline shot scene and the film breaks! I sat there in the theatre for twenty minutes without saying a word, until it finally came back on.
Talk about an inopportune time for film breakage. The first time I saw Kill Bill the film didn't break but they started it 20 minutes early --yes, I was already there. I'm a nerd-- so when the bulk of the crowd showed it was already in progress. They had to stop the film (during the Black Mamba / Copperhead fight) and start again. I didn't mind seeing the beginning twice. Ivan also loves Amores Perros, Being John Malkovich, Requiem for a Dream, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Cengiz shares one of my chief obsessions. When asked what his favorite movie is, he just quotes its own words
a magnificent, opulent, tremendous, stupendous, gargantuan, bedazzlement, a sensual ravishment...
That'd be Moulin Rouge! And yes I will get back to the Moulin Rouge! recap/retro ... it's just that damn time is money thing. But I've been feeling the guilt so it's coming.

Glenn (aka Kamikaze Camel... it's like a Peter Parker/Spider-Man thing?) has been a faithful reader for years and his blog Stale Popcorn is also a must-visit. Really funny, personal, and film focused. Glenn wants to know what I think of All That Jazz (which I'll get to soon) but like many movie lovers he's possessive of his favorites. He jokingly warns
If you say Kramer vs Kramer (aka Boring vs Pedestrian) was better and deserved the Oscar I'm going to seriously reconsider that donation
Eep! I haven't seen either in years. We'll see. I have been jonesing for a 70s fix though...

Questions for Comments
  1. Is Kramer Vs. Kramer better than All That Jazz?
  2. Have you ever been in a theater when the film broke?
Make a Donation! It's fun. OK, strictly speaking, giving money isn't fun. But it's like altruistic and stuff.


Adam said...

01. All That Jazz
02. Apocalypse Now
03. Kramer vs. Kramer
04. Norma Rae
05. Breaking Away

Yeah. All That Jazz is definitely, definitely better.

Anonymous said...

I go to school in Boston and I pre-ordered ticket to Harry Potter 4 with a few of my friends. So I was there on openning night with about a million other nerdy college kids, some of them dressed up, most of them probably pre-ordered, all of them who had probably been counting down the days for months. When the film started, either the lens cap was still on, or it was misaligned, or something was wrong, because we could see the Harry Potter logo go by on the bottom, and nothing but a blob of shadows in the middle of the screen. You know how they talk about how when civilization collapses, there will be rioting in the streets, raping and pillaging, and other displays of complete disregard for society? Well the audience's reaction was something like that. There was chanting "START IT OVER START IT OVER", there was running around looking for a manager, and many just screamed in terror. I've never seen anything like it. I bet you could hear the screaming from outside the theater. I was angry about the projector but I was basically laughing histerically the whole time. I might have started one of the chants come to think of it. Riots are fun. The moral of the story: don't mess with overworked, overfed, underslept, college age harry potter nerds.

SamuraiFrog said...

No, Kramer vs. Kramer is decidedly not better than All That Jazz.

And I remember going to see Disney's Aladdin at a theater in Wisconsin with some people from my church group and, just as the Genie's big number "Friend Like Me" finished up, Genie spreading his hands with a final flourish, the film broke. It was a great moment for me, though, because I got to be a witty 15 year-old and say "Now THAT's a show-stopping number!"

I'm proud of the dumbest things.

J.D. said...

1. Miraculously, in the now-past 31 Days of Oscar on TCM, I saw Kramer vs. Kramer. I don't know how, I don't know why, but I did.

BREAK - Films I Saw:
2001: A Space Odyssey

Some of The Talented Mr. Ripley (It was very odd, even for me)
Kramer vs. Kramer
Gone with the Wind
The Producers
(although I've seen it before)

Annie Hall
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Children of a Lesser God
The China Syndrome
Citizen Kane
Close Encounters...
From Here To Eternity
Guess Who's Coming To Dinner
It Happened One Night
(And I wanted to see it too...)
Lawrence of Arabia
The Manchurian Candidate
Mrs. Miniver
My Fair Lady
North by Northwest
Out of Africa
The Pride of the Yankees
Quo Vadis
Rain Man
Sense & Sensibility
The Silence of the Lambs
Singing In The Rain
The Third Man
West Side Story

[hits head at wall until bleading]

But I thought that KvK was pretty good, especially Dustin Hoffman. But there was something about Meryl that was incredible. They both deserved the Oscars, but to think she exhausted her winning within 5 nominations.

2. Broke? You mean, like, something in the booth going haywire or the print misalligning or just stopping? If so, a couple times. I don't remember what films, seeing as it hasn't happened in years. Oh well.

I can't believe I missed Casablanca.


the first time i saw Ben Hur was in a revival house in Detroit. The film broke and they couldn't fix it and we actually had to come back the next day and start over... which is kind of a long haul, to see that movie almost twice in two days. But I loved it at the time --particular Stephen Boyd (haven't seen it since. not sure how i'd respond now)

Paul C. said...

1. I don't think Kramer vs. Kramer is better than All That Jazz, no. It's a good movie, but to me it has a TV feel only with bigger stars. I'm reminded of the joke that "everyone voted for Kramer vs. Kramer because everyone in the Academy has been divorced." Which makes sense- divorce was a pretty big topic in the late 70s and early 80s, and KvK addressed it pretty straightforwardly.

2. I used to be a projectionist, so of course I've been in a theatre where the film breaks. Although now breaking is much less common than burning. Film nowadays is stretchier now to prevent breakage, so if the projector gets jammed or what have you the film tends to get stuck in front of the aperture plate, which burns a hole in it. It takes a lot more to break film than it did before, when it was more brittle. Either way, if you think it's no fun to sit in a theatre when the film breaks/burns, it's even less so to have to fix it, especially knowing that there are people in the theatre who are getting annoyed that the movie got interrupted.

OhMyTrill said...

When I saw Whale Rider in the theater, near the end, when they find all of the beached whales (aka the culminating moment in the film) it suddenly flipped upside down and everybody started talking backwards...and they let if run this way for a good ten minutes before they came in and told us they couldn't fix it. I don't think that we even got free tickets.

Jason Adams said...

The film didn't break, but my favorite story of filmus interruptus is in college when a couple of friends and I went to see Bride of Chucky (yes, Bride of Chucky; got something to say???) at the local dollar theater and something went wrong with the projector before the film even began. So we're sitting there in the theater for like half an hour, and we're eating those giant pixie sticks (I think we may have, must have, been stoned) and we just started laughing uncontrollably and the sugar-O.D. made our faces hurt so bad we were practically crying. They'd turned the lights up in the theater which, oh my god, you never want the house lights on full blast in one of those suburban mega-theaters, the colors were all fluorescent green and purple and the floors and seats were... unclean... so we just had to leave.

During another college movie-going experience, a knife-fight broke out during the final ten knife-filled minutes of Scream 3. That was fun and not creepy at all.


omg where did you go to college. don't let us send our kids there

Anonymous said...

4 Years ago, on a Sunday night, I went to see The Grey Zone as part of the New Orleans Film Festival showing. The film actually burned out (literally) maybe twenty minutes into it.

I didn't fret so much that I probably would not have been able to see the film, but that I would possibly be late for my dorm's imposing curfew at a Catholic University. Needless to say I barely made curfew [12:00 am], which was certainly a few being that I relied on public transportation. The movie was okay, not bad.

Love the site

Jason Adams said...

Rochester, NY is a delightful place. Don't let my select horror stories scare you or your children away. Just invest in bullet-proof vests and you'll be fine! ;-)

Glenn Dunks said...

It makes me so happy that people agree All That Jazz is clearly the better film. Kramer Vs Kramer is just so yawn-enducing whenever Meryl isn't around. It's not exactly thrilling when she is but it's better than the other parts. I just... ugh. It was so pedestrian. There's more imagination in one scene (pick a scene!) of All That Jazz than there is in all of KvK.

In terms of movies breaking down. Well, this one wasn't a break, but when friends and I were seeing The Bourne Supremacy the movie stopped about 40 minutes in and the lights came up. And we were sitting there for, like, 10 minutes before a staff member came in and said there was A FIRE! Talk about taking their time. Turns out it was a false alarm and we all got free passes to go see another movie. They, thankfully, picked up at the start of the reel that we were watching at the time.

The first five minutes of The New World weren't projected onto the screen properly (it was more projected onto the ceiling). Luckily they fixed it.

I wasn't there (thank god) but two friends of mine went to see The Holiday recently and in the last five minutes the projector sort of exploded. They were told they could come back and watch it again with a free ticket they were given. Thing is, they saw it on Tuesday and the next day (er, Wednesday) was the last day it would be screening in our city (movies are released on Thursday here). They went in on Wednesday and just saw the last 15 minutes again.

Glenn Dunks said...

Oh! And there is a story behind me name. Me and a friend many MANY years ago were bored in maths class (can you blame?) and we were coming up with weird stupid comic book characters. And I needed to create an e-mail address so I used kamikazecamel and then it was just sort of unique so I used it most places although I sort of just want a normal name now but don't want to have to change everything. ugh.

Notas Sobre Creación Cultural e Imaginarios Sociales said...

Last year watching "V for Vendetta" the film caught fire.
At first I even thought it was part of the film, with its whole anarchy theme, but after 3 minutes of bubbly, melting celluloid and people complaining I realized it was an accident.

OhMyTrill said...

I heart Rochester...much better place than Houston (where I live now).

Scott said...

Can you believe I was 15 minutes from the end of Mulholland Drive when the film broke in the Toronto cinema I went to see it at.

Can there be a more frustrating film, at a more frustrating moment, to suddenly end before the expiration of its run time? I went back the next night for free (how generous) to catch the denouement, but as it turns out my curiosity wasn't assuaged. It took weeks of deciphering and decoding. I eventually arrived at a reading of the film I was happy with - but what a horrendous beginning!

Anonymous said...

I have All that Jazz on DVD. I haven't seen K v K since my one theatrical viewing.

The last time I recall a film breaking was when I saw As Good as it Gets. That was as good as it got, so I took a refund and left the theater. I saw the whole film just a few months ago on cable.


wait Peter... you actually watched it AGAIN? a stronger man than I.


scott that is TERRIBLE. Mulholland Dr really has to be seen all in sequence. isn't that why Lynch made the DVD non scene-selectiony

Cinesnatch said...

My film-going mishaps/gaffees:

1997. Boogie Nights. Reel burned up right after the donut shop scene finished. (How appropriate)

2000. The Gift. I must had seen a bad reel, but the boom mike kept creeping in from the top of the frame during the courtroom scenes. If I had been stoned, I think I would have had a heart attack, because I was laughing so hard sober. It was like another character in the movie, it was bad and lasted so long.

par3182 said...

during a thunderstorm the projection room of my local cinema was flooded, actually wetting the print of being john malkovich just as john cusack is being told that "i comes before u" and before i'd decided what i thought. we got sent home and eventually (thankfully) i went back and loved the rest of it. my original date has still not seen it to this day.

1979 -
01. all that jazz
02. breaking away
03. norma rae
04. kramer vs kramer
05. apocalypse zzz....

AMMONART25 said...

Of the list of 1979 best picture noms my personal fave(by a long shot)is Apocalypse Now...Watched it again recently(Redux)and it stands up incredibly well...

Anonymous said...

The films never broken on me but when I watched Gosford Park at the local cinema the reels were played in the wrong order. We had the death of Michael Gambon and the immediate aftermath follwed by the shoot and the dinner where Emily Watson loses control.

It was all very weird but for months I was convinced it was a flashback sequence recounted to the police, a la many Agatha Christie adaptatations.

Glenn Dunks said...

1. All That Jazz
2. Norma Rae
3. Apocalypse Now
4. Kramer vs Kramer

And I, unfortunately, haven't seen Breaking Away.

I'm still not entirely sure on Apocalypse Now. I saw the redux version and there were bits that were so entirely unnecessary in my eyes (the villa sequence). But the rest of it was great. I gave it an A-. And, well, I just love Norma Rae for Sally Field, basically.

But none hold a candle to All That Jazz.

Cinesnatch said...

ApocoRedux ... speaking of scenes that drag on, what about the helicopter scene ... zzzzzzzzz.

Anonymous said...

The only theater trouble I had was when I was 14 and saw Cutthroat Island. There was no sound for the first ten minutes, so several people had a lot of fun substituting the dialogue. Of course then they fixed it and we had to just watch the rest of the movie.


i actually have no interest in APOCALYPSE NOW REDUX since I love the original just fine. I mean so perfect ... i don't want anymore. it's already so full.

Anonymous said...


1. All That Jazz/Apocalypse Now

Not the "redux" version. Terribly flabby. Impossible to assign an order between these two, but they are way, way ahead of the rest of the field. By Miles. I don't think any of the other contenders were even moderately good, though I have a fondness for Breaking Away.

3. Breaking Away
4. Norma Rae
5. Kramer vs. Kramer

Glenn Dunks said...

I don't even think the theatrical version is available, is it?

I know they're releasing an edition with both versions on it. But, yeah, I was looking at the box to see what scenes had been added and I was like "boring. great. boring. really boring. great. okay. boring." Very hit and miss.

Anonymous said...

"Kramer vs. Kramer" was the best of the nominees.

The only time the film broke for me was during "Next Friday". Needless to say, I didn't really mind.

J.L said...

1. No
2. Never