Search This Blog

Thursday, March 7, 2019


For those of you who don’t know me personally or are newcomers to the blog,
this will be the first time you’re hearing about the mysterious thing
called Fest.  For those who have heard of it, bear with me while I recap
some things. Approximately 28 years ago, a group of friends in Boston
got together on a cold winter day to watch some movies.  It wasn’t just
any get together though. Two members of the group, Mike Carvalho and
Lynn Mason were (and are) movie hounds. They love seeking out the old,
the strange, the foreign and sometimes the forgotten when it comes to
cinema and they curated a list of films to show that would stretch an
entire 24 hours.

I’m not sure of the size of the first crowd but I have heard at least five
people say they were there. By all accounts it was interesting, but didn’t
go exactly the way they wanted it to go. In fact, that would have been
the only time they held it if not for Lynn bugging the absolute shit out
of Mike two years later saying that they HAD to try it again.  This time
they made some rule changes. The starting time was moved to early evening
on Friday. They scheduled breaks a little better and figured out ideal
running times for the movies they showed.

That was the beginning of the yearly tradition that is the 24 Hour Film
Fest.  I’ve had the pleasure of attending nine of them and when I say
pleasure, that’s not me being sarcastic.  I absolutely love “Fest”.

Last weekend, I attended number Fest 27.  It was one of (if not the) best
I’ve attended.  This year’s line up included an early talkie, an Indian
horror/fantasy film, a Japanese zombie film/comedy that was one of the
most creative things I’ve ever seen and nine more that I would recommend
to almost anyone.  Since we tend to talk about movies on this blog a bit,
I thought I’d run down some of my favorites from this year’s lineup. You
could do a lot worse than to seek these out!

First up, the crowd favorite, was the Japanese produced One Cut For The
Dead.  This one is going to be a bit hard to find due to a screwup by
Amazon who illegally listed it as a streaming title for a short period
before pulling it down.  This brought up massive piracy issues and a true
authorized U.S. release is not currently in the works. However, you can
find a UK release and it’s well worth getting.  The premise is a director
is tasked with shooting a livestream zombie film in one take. I don’t
want to explain things further because half the fun of this film is seeing
exactly what they’ve done.  Let’s just say that the zombie parts are scary
and the comedy parts are laugh out loud funny.

Another favorite of mine was the 1930 production of Moby Dick starring
John Barrymore. Now, if you are an author or just a well read lover of the
classics, I feel you need to see this one.  The writers and director had
no intention of making a true adaptation of Moby Dick. Instead, they made
a love story where Captain Ahab is a loveable drunk who falls in love with
a woman in port and does his best to clean up and woo her.  Sure, there’s
a white whale (well, a black whale with a white patch on its back).
There’s also Ahab himself and Queequeg. Other than that though, there’s
not another reference from the source material that I could spot. It’s
well made for the time, but just hilarious to watch for the way they
butchered the novel. There isn't any YouTube link to this one. Sorry.

If you want to see a majestic, insanely cool fantasy story, then check
out Tumbaad.  This is streaming on Amazon Prime and tells the story of a
cursed treasure in the heart of a castle in India and the young boy who
figures out the secret of how to get it.  The film then follows him through
his life as he exploits the source of the treasure again and again with
semi-disastrous consequences. It’s got old witches, demons, adventure
and lots and lots of rain.  I highly, highly recommend this one.

Speaking of witches and demons and foreign films, you should definitely
check out Livid.  It’s a beautifully creepy French film that tells the
story of a young hospice nurse who is learning her new route. She finds
that a wealthy old woman on her deathbed is on her route, she and her
boyfriend decide to rip off the mansion.  Obviously, things don’t go as
planned. It’s a fantastic film and will be one of the first that I watch
a second time.

The last one that I want to recommend was one I didn’t expect to love as
much as I do.  It’s a comedy from the 1980’s called Nice Girls Don’t
Explode. It’s about a young girl who’s special fire starting powers seem
to come forward only when she’s excited.  This becomes a problem as she’s
hit puberty and wants to start dating. There are some great laugh out
loud moments throughout and it’s a shame this didn’t get a bigger
following at the time.  

The full lineup is below and to be honest, except for Rock and Roll
Nightmare which is fun to watch with a crowd just so you can make fun of
it, all of the rest I would recommend in a heartbeat.  

Rock and Roll Nightmare
One Cut for the Dead
Moby Dick
Deadly Eyes
Dark House
Tourist Trap
Would You Rather?
The Evil Within
Race With The Devil
Nice Girls Don't Explode

Fest is truly one of the highlights to my year and it’s because everyone
who attends is just so damn fun to watch movies with.  Thanks again to
Mike and Lynn for putting this on every year and special thanks to Karen
Mike’s longsuffering wife) for allowing this insanity to go on.  She
leaves for the weekend each year, but is sure to call us midway through to
loudly call us all “idiots” via speaker phone.

Next week, we’ll get back to the Forgotten Gems columns on Thursdays and
you can look forward to some book updates coming soon.  I can promise you
now, 2019 is going to be a fun, fun year!

No comments: