Wednesday, March 16, 2011


So I had planned on a more integrated post in which I got a bit more into the comments by Papa Schmer and The Kid.  What happened instead was after 20 minutes of barking, me and my flashlight rounded the corner at the back of my house to come face-to-face with my dog, Lucy, standing there with a 30 lb raccoon hanging from her face, right cheek ultimately just short of fully pierced.  Two calamitous hours later, I sit down for the night. 

With that, I will start with The Kid and Papa's video pre-show clip, go with Papa's thoughts, then The Kid's, then finish with their post-show recording....enjoy. (To Papa and The Kid, I pretty much posted these as is, without many lack of time became quite dire.)

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.

I gave the film 5 out of 5 stars in Rotten Tomatoes last night. I think it was a very original and fresh piece of work. Kevin spoke about the talent and the breath the actors brought to his words and I could not agree more. I know that Michael Parks will not be nominated or win any awards for his performance but he should, he was off the chart.

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 was a helluva night!

THE KID'S Saturday Night

(Reel Rhino note: The Kid is our resident Kevin Smith expert.)

As has been mentioned before on Rhino's blog, I am a big Kevin Smith fan. So I have been following Red State for years, through the ups and downs of financing and getting the movie made. So it was very exciting that the Red State USA Tour was making it's way to KC. Even more exciting was the news that Megan Phelps would be in attendance and wold be joining Kevin on stage after the movie to give her thoughts. It seemed for the making of a very interesting and funny evening. But more on that in a minute.

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.

So I was somewhat disappointed Megan would not be sharing her thoughts but hey, to hell with her (tee hee hee). The Q and A then went along just fine and normal until Josh and Libby Phelps stepped up to the mic, announcing that not all the Phelps had left early. Josh and Libby being some of the few Phelps who have "escaped" from the WBC and are now trying to lead normal lives where God doesn't hate everything from New Zealand to Rainbow Bright. Kevin quickly brought them up on stage and gave them a place to sit and a microphone and had a conversation with them. I don't want to spoil any of what they had to say here (I couldn't do it justice anyway) but suffice to say it was moving, funny, and heart breaking. While it would have been interesting to see Kevin and Megan go at it...I think we can all imagine what that would be like. Megan and the rest of the WBC are kind of like a broken record at this point, so I'm not sure she would have had anything original to say. Libby and Josh were far more fascinating and I am thankful that they were able to get up in front of a couple thousand people and tell their story.

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 ( 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!

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