Tag Archives: Root Beer

Root Beer Film Festival: The Stuff

The Stuff has most of the classic elements of a 1980’s horror film: bad special effects, a terrible script, awful editing, a kid in danger, a bunch of bad acting, and it’s not all that scary. The Stuff isn’t so bad it’s good on the level of a classic like Night of the Creeps, but it has its moments.

Michael Moriarty is pretty entertaining as Mo Rutherford, an industrial saboteur who is investigating a mysterious dessert called The Stuff. He very quickly starts dating the ad executive who created the campaign that makes The Stuff so popular, and soon they rescue the only boy in America who knows The Stuff is bad. The three of them along with a militia group led by Colonel Spears (Paul Sorvino) end the menace of The Stuff. A bunch of random other things happen involving “Chocolate Chip” Charlie (Garrett Morris), a few creepy Southern towns, and Danny Aiello being killed by his dog.

Every Saturday afternoon when I was a kid one of our local channels would show a double feature of horror films, and The Stuff was a staple of their line-up. I probably have seen the entire movie, but I don’t think I ever sat and watched the whole thing in one sitting. Outside of using “Whole Lotta Love” for their theme music the only other thing I remember about the “Thriller Double Feature” is The Stuff and Troll.

I love corny horror movies, and The Stuff is really close to making that list, but it’s missing the whole classic element to put it over the edge. It doesn’t have a great one-liner from anyone. Moriarty doesn’t have a great line, and outside of “Chocolate Chip” Charlie repeatedly saying his fists are “deadly weapons” nothing comes close. I need that line that just makes you laugh when you really shouldn’t be. The Stuff sadly doesn’t deliver it.

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Root Beer Film Festival: Gentlemen Broncos

Gentlemen Broncos made $118,492 at the box office, and cost $10 million to make. It was a commercial and critical failure for Jared Hess who had previously directed Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre. Hess has directed exactly zero movies since Gentlemen Broncos was released and bombed in 2009.

This movie is so stupid and ridiculous, but also sometimes so funny that it’s actually kind of good. Ten years from now it may be considered a cult classic along the lines of Walk Hard and The Big Lebowski. A movie that originally made almost no money, or lost money, but eventually found a second-life through DVD, midnight screenings by fans, and Comedy Central.

When I was selecting movies for this little experiment I really wanted to find something starring Sam Rockwell to watch, but by Friday night had come up empty. It shows how little I remembered about Gentlemen Broncos that I forgot Rockwell plays Bronco, the antagonist that Dr. Ronald Chevalier (Jemaine Clement) steals along with his entire “Yeast Lords” story from Benjamin Purvis (Michael Angarano). Chevalier turns Bronco into a transvestite and re-names him Brutus. Rockwell plays both Bronco and Brutus and is so great that you end up hoping he’ll re-appear as either sooner rather than later.

Gentlemen Broncos was the victim of terrible reviews. It only ever reached 18 theaters before being pulled after 42 days. Currently, it holds an 18% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I just think critics didn’t get it. They were most likely expecting another Napoleon Dynamite or Nacho Libre and instead they got this weird story about a teenage sci-fi writer that occasionally cuts to a bearded Rockwell riding a deer or barfing on a deer. It’s weird, but fun.

Louie Bluie
This hour-long documentary of the late, great country blues musician Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong is filled with great stories and music from the man himself. This is director Terry Zwigoff’s first documentary. There is an odd scene with Armstrong going through a book of his writing and art on pornography that he keeps locked in a box. It fits in nicely with Zwigoff’s next subject the cartoonist Robert Crumb.

Movies watched: 5 (Moonrise Kingdom, Bronson, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Gentlemen Broncos, Louie Bluie)
Root Beers consumed: 5 (Stewart’s, Brownie, Mug, Boylan’s, Dang!)

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Root Beer Film Festival: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Here are the last four movies I have watched in a theatre: Man of Steel, The Avengers, Django Unchained, and Iron Man 2. All four I watched alone with strangers, and this morning was no different when I entered a darkened theatre at 10:25 with my overpriced popcorn and Mug root beer for X-Men: Days of Future Past.

“Days of Future Past” is one of the quintessential X-Men stories created by a classic X-Men creator line-up of Chris Claremont, John Byrne, and Terry Austin. The two issue story involves Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat traveling back in time to stop Mystique from assassinating Senator Robert Kelly, and starting a war between mutants and humans. The movie shifts this story around a bit to feature the more popular Wolverine, but the basics are the same.

I am a big fan of X-Men: First Class and was somewhat disappointed that director Matthew Vaughn would not be returning to Days of Future Past, but thankfully Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy did return as Magneto and Xavier.

I would love to write a ton of words about Days of Future Past. I liked it, but thought it had some flaws. To same time here are my five favorite things (in no particular order) in Days of Future Past because lists are easier:

Quicksilver
I guess you really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover because I was really expecting to hate Quicksilver based on his costume alone. And then I noticed the Pink Floyd shirt, and then I saw a really fun performance by Evan Peters, and Quicksilver quickly (pun intended?) grew on me. Sadly, he didn’t have enough screen time, but that time was the comic relief and filled with a couple of neat little easter eggs for comic fans. The bar has been set kind of high for Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver when he appears next summer in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Hugh Jackman
Did you know they originally cast Dougray Scott as Wolverine for X-Men? Dougray. Scott. Jackman has portrayed the Canadian mutant in seven movies now, and I can’t really picture anyone else playing him. He may be too tall, Australian, and possibly too handsome, but he has been pretty great in all seven appearances (which can’t be said about the movies themselves). He even makes that stupid haircut work somehow. Could Dougray Scott have done that?

JFK
I’m not going to spoil anything, but I liked this subplot that they obviously did not have time to venture into. It was about five minutes of the movie. Thankfully the producers created a neat website to fill us in on some of the details.

Post-Credits Scene

I have been watching the credits of movies for years. Even before the current trend started I was sitting (usually alone) watching the names of every gaffer and design producer scroll by. Two movies are the cause of this: Hot Shots! and Wayne’s World. Both had post-credits scenes, and I figured I never wanted to miss one of those again. Anyway, a lot has been made of the post-credit scene involving Apocalypse because no one knows who he is…well he’s Apocalypse and it appears he has four friends on horseback.

Michael Fassbender
Can we get a Magneto solo movie? I just want to watch two hours of Fassbender bending metal, being cool, reconnecting with other mutants (maybe a son or daughter?) and kicking anti-mutant ass. Is this too much to ask?

Days of Future Past was good not great. I have a lot of questions, but I also am happy that it sort of rebooted everything after X-Men: Last Stand. The franchise is going to continue moving 10 years into the future with X-Men: Apocalypse which will take place in the 1980’s and be released in 2016.

Root Beer Bulletin – I thought the “letters” section needed a name.

What’s your rating scale? Is it how many root beers you would give a movie? Are you rating the root beer too? – Kat from Whitmore Lake
Hey! A real not made up question everyone! I don’t think I have a ratings scale. I’m a terrible reviewer. It’s either good or bad or meh. I have problems expressing what it is I like or dislike about things, so I’m terrible at parties. Maybe I’ll list the movies in order of enjoyment when I’m done. I’ll do that with the root beer too.

What are you wearing right now? And what are you doing? – Murray from Richmond
Thanks for the question Murray. I am wearing a Captain America t-shirt and shorts. I am watching the French Open because I enjoy watching tennis. Also, I am answering your question.

Movies watched: 3 (Moonrise Kingdom, Bronson, X-Men: Days of Future Past)
Root Beers consumed: 3 (Stewart’s, Brownie, Mug)

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Root Beer Film Festival: Bronson

Michael Peterson a.k.a Charles Bronson sounds like an absolutely horrible person. His claim to fame is spending most of his adult life in solitary confinement, and becoming England’s most famous prisoner. Essentially Peterson/Bronson is a petty thief who likes to take people hostage, and beat up prison guards. You don’t get to spend a lifetime in prison for stealing a ring, but if you continually threaten people trying to help you it will add some time to your sentence.

The film Bronson is the dramatized account of his life, and has the feel of a lot of British crime films of the past 15 years. It is kind of all over the place, but is carried by the performance of Tom Hardy.

Hardy’s performance as the title character is pretty amazing. Portrayed as the cross between a vaudeville performer and a lunatic, Peterson/Bronson gives Hardy enough juicy material to chew up scenery. It almost makes you wish that Peterson/Bronson was a likable character, but he isn’t. You’re glad he’s locked up, and he’s probably happy that he is as well.

LETTERS

Is Billy Joel’s “Root Beer Rag” the unofficial theme song of the film festival? – TJ from Stone Mountain, GA
No. The official theme song is “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

What happens if you don’t get to watch every movie?
– Jerry from Akron
I’ll never get this chance again, so I need to watch them all.

Will you be making root beer floats this weekend?
– Chuck from NYC
So many root beer floats. Like two.

Movies watched: 2 (Moonrise Kingdom and Bronson)
Root Beers consumed: 2 (Stewart’s and Brownie)

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Root Beer Film Festival: Moonrise Kingdom

Oh, Moonrise Kingdom. I really, really wanted to like you, and I did like certain things about you (mostly Edward Norton), but you were so Wes Anderson. Maybe the most Wes Anderson-y, Wes Anderson film ever. You had an inventory, cartography, narration (Bob Balaban!), kids acting like adults, a play, Bill Murray, art, credits in cursive, and fireworks. And those are just the things I remember. Oh, here are a couple more: tight clothing and Jason Schwartzman, who may or may not have been playing a teenager.

I didn’t hate Moonrise Kingdom, in fact I kind of want it to be the start of a trilogy where we follow the lives of Sam and Suzy, but for me it didn’t add anything new to Anderson’s resume. We’ve seen him do this type of film so many times that we kind of know what to expect when the film starts. It’ll be quirky, somewhat depressing, and filled with really great performances by it’s actors. That’s not really a terrible thing to create every time out, and I completely understand why Anderson continues to do it, but I guess it might be the reason I waited to see this one, and am in no rush to see his latest releases anymore.

A terrible thought just popped in my head: Wes Anderson is Adam Sandler for the NPR listener. Man, that is awful, but they make the same movie every time. Anderson gets the critical acclaim while Sandler movies somehow make $200 million. I’m sure we could all think of hundreds of examples that could fit there, but Sandler was the first one I thought of, it might be the lingering effects of the pink eye.

LETTERS
Thanks to all my imaginary friends who sent me questions about the Root Beer Film Festival. I thought I would read a couple.

Why root beer? It’s gross. – Steve from Kansas City
Thanks for the note, Steve. Shut up. You’re gross.

How did you pick the movies you’re going to watch? – Alex from Wixom
First, it had to be something I’ve never seen all of (For example, The Stuff was played continuously on local TV, but edited). Second, it had to be available. I didn’t want to buy any DVD’s. In fact, outside of the two movies I might see in the theatre all of the movies on the list were either available on Netflix, Hulu or at my local library.

Don’t forget to water the grass seed. – Barb from Pinckney
Not sure what this has to do with the festival, but thanks mom.

Movies watched: 1 (Moonrise Kingdom)
Root Beers consumed: 1 (Stewart’s)

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Root Beer Film Festival

My wife will be camping this weekend, and my son will be with my parents. Which means I will have the house to myself for about 36 hours. So what will I be doing with this 36 hours of glorious freedom? Will I be throwing a party that will eventually involve the police saying something like, “Aren’t you a little too old for this?” No. I will be watching a ton of movies, and drinking a ton of root beer.

I fully planned on having some people over at least one night, but for the past week I’ve been fighting pink eye. This has led to a fever, a sore throat, gunky icky eyes, and even now while I recover I sound like I could fill-in as host of your favorite local NPR jazz show. I have come to face the fact that I am an adult with a job, a family, and bills…so many bills. Which means that instead of being stupid and not recovering I will sit on the couch, watch movies and drink root beer.

Here are the movies I hope to watch this weekend:

The Hit (1984)
Starring: Terence Stamp, John Hurt and Tim Roth
Director: Stephen Frears

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Starring: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Quirkiness
Director: Wes Anderson

The Wrestler (2008)
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood
Director: Darren Aronofsky

Gentlemen Broncos (2009)
Starring: Michael Argarano and Jemaine Clement
Director: Jared Hess

A Band Called Death (2012)
Starring: Death (band), Detroit
Directors: Mark Covino and Jeff Howlett

Bronson (2008)
Starring: Tom Hardy, Matt King and James Lance
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

The Monkey Hu$tle (1976)
Starring: Yaphet Kotto, Rudy Ray Moore and Rosalind Cash
Director: Arthur Marks

Stander (2003)
Starring: Thomas Jane, Dexter Fletcher and David O’Hara
Director: Bronwen Hughes

The Stuff (1985)
Starring: Michael Moriarty, Paul Sorvino and Danny Aiello
Director: Larry Cohen

Louie Bluie (1984)
Starring: Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong
Director: Terry Zwigoff

The Death of Andy Kaufman
(2008)
Starring: Andy Kaufman
Director: Christopher Maloney

The Steel Helmet (1951)
Starring: Gene Evans, Robert Hutton and Steve Brodie
Director: Samuel Fuller

X-Men: Days of Future Past
(2014)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender
Director: Bryan Singer

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johannson, and Samuel L. Jackson
Directors: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

I’ll be posting updates and “reviews” here. You can also follow me @Klumpp13

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