PAPA SCHMER - A True Kansas City Movie Going Experience
On Saturday, 3/12/2011 I had the opportunity to spend a great evening with two of my movie going comrades, ReelRhino and the Kid in the Helmet. We attended the special showing of Kevin Smith’s Red State followed by a Q and A with the film maker. The short story here is it was a great night. But now for the Paul Harvey rest of the story.
The evening started with dinner at Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue at the Freight House, one of my favorite dinning places in town. The freight house is in an old rail freight house just north of Union Station. The freight house as built in 1887 but fell into disrepair and would have likely been demolished but it was purchased by a group of investors and renovated in the late 1990’s. The barbecue and atmosphere are the best in town.
We then moved from the Crossroads District into downtown. We had about an hour before the doors opened so the next logical stop seemed to be The Empire Theater which now houses the AMC Main Street Theater for a beer and film discussion. The Empire Theater was originally opened in late 1921 as the Main Street Theater and has housed many types of entertainment to include motion pictures and vaudeville shows. The Durwood Theater Group, now AMC, purchased the theater in the late 1950’s and renamed it Empire Theater. The Empire closed its doors in 1985, the last years the Royals did anything. Kansas City’s downtown entertainment district, Power & Light District, begin its renaissance in 2005 and the Main Street Theater reopened to the public under it’s original name in 2009. If you have not visited AMC’s Main Street Theater in downtown Kansas City, MO you are missing a movie going experience second to none. “The renovated theater features six auditoriums, on two floors. The ground floor has three standard auditoriums, while the upper level features "cinema suites" with reclining loungers, food trays and a call button to summon a server. All auditoriums feature 4k digital projection and 11-channel sound, including overhead speakers and bass shakers mounted under the seats. AMC claims that it is one of the most technologically-advanced theater setups in the world. All six auditoriums feature reserved seating.” (Wikipedia)
The evening finished the screening of Red State followed by a Q and A with Kevin Smith. The film was a different genera of film, while it is classified as an horror-thriller, I would have to say it was more of a Thriller-Action film, just to many rounds of ammo expended to not be an action movie. The movie uses Fred Phelps and the Westborough Baptist Church and the Branch Davidians of Waco, TX as a jumping off point. The film shows the flaws in all humans and I think the idiom “ People who live in glass house should not throw stones” is one of Kevin’s main themes in the film.
The Q and A was the icing on the cake last night. Megan Phelps and her group of merry miss-fits where picketing outside the Midland Theater and had been invited into the theater the view the movie. Megan and about 14 others did come in to watch but left about 15 minutes into the show. Megan was scheduled to be on stage with Kevin for a little friendly debate but that did not happen and we were kind of bummed. Approximately half way through the Q and A a young man and woman stepped to the microphone and announced to the group that they were Phelps’ who had left the church and family. Kevin brought them on stage and the fun soon began. The whole thing was being filmed and I am sure it will be on the DVD along with a commentary with them and Kevin.
Thanks Rhino and The Kid for an evening not soon to be forgotten.
Nice...thanks Papa Schmer...it was a helluva night!
THE KID'S Saturday Night
(Reel Rhino note: The Kid is our resident Kevin Smith expert.)
Regarding the movie itself. I thought it was great. By far Kevin's best movie since Clerks II. Action packed, intense, and filled with great dialogue (as you would expect). I don't know that you will see anything else like it this year. "Baby" Dave Klein shot an amazing looking picture. But there's a reason why the reps from Fox Searchlight walked out after the first on screen kill when it premiered at the 2010 Sundance film festival; it's not the most marketable subject matter and it's not going to be a movie with mass appeal.
That said it sure appealed to those of us lucky enough to be in attendance at the midland. It was one of the best audiences to see a movie with. Everyone was into it. Cheering and clapping at all the right moments and laughing so loud lines were missed at times. My favorite moment came when one of the villains took a bullet to the head. The crowd cheered, naturally, and then as the cheers subsided someone yelled out, "Winning!" Brilliant. Thank you Charlie Sheen. Even amidst one of the most epic downward spirals of all time you still manage to entertain.
As the credits began to roll Rhino checked Twitter on his phone only to discover Megan Phelps and crew and left shortly after the movie had begun. And sure enough as Kevin came on stage to A our Q's he confirmed that 15 minutes into the movie Megan had tapped him on the shoulder, thanked him for inviting them, and politely left due to the fact that the movie was, "filthy." Bear in mind that the first 15 minutes of the movie is primarily 3 high school boys talking about the prospect of meeting an older woman for group sex. Yes, these people can stand on street corners holding signs full of hate speech, and protest funerals of people far braver than they...but fake characters in a movie start talking about heterosexual sex and they can't take it. So they can dish it out but they can't take it. I guess we shouldn't be surprised.
If you are interested in SEEING what they had to say the Q and A was being filmed and I imagine the portion with Libby and Josh will make it onto the DVD. In regard to a commentary track with the 2 of them being on the DVD, Kevin tweeted, "done and done." But if you are interested in HEARING what they had to say on stage that night you don't have to wait much longer. Episode 15 of Plus One (which can be found here (http://smodcast.com/plusone) should be up sometime on Tuesday (03-15-11), in which you will hear the conversation we were lucky enough to see live on stage at The Midland.
It was an amazing night with a great crowd and 2 great movie going buddies. Thanks Rhino and Pappa Schmurf. I look forward to more events like this in the future. If any of you reading this get the chance to check out another screening of Red State before it comes out in theaters on October 19th you should really take it. It's worth the extra cash for the experience of hearing Kevin speak about it and seeing it with such an active and involved audience. He mentioned bringing it to Topeka sometime soon...that could be EPIC! See it now, or see it later, but it is a movie that needs to be seen.
And one final note. I just want to thank my unborn daughter, Jill, for staying put in her mamma's stomach long enough for me to see the screening. I haven't even meet her yet and we have already bonded over a love of all things Kevin Smith. Snoogans...
Thanks Kid...and now, as promised, The Kid and Papa give their post-show video recap...
Until later...take care!