i left the house around 11:30 for elias' annual birthday marathon. for this special occasion i wore my red jeans for the first time. it's been more than a year since the central square wendy's closed down so now my only food option1 was moody's falafel palace, where i picked up a lamb gyro sandwich ($5.50) before arriving at elias' place at 11:45. i'd also brought a case of seagram's ginger ale.2 mike arrived a minute after me, stopping by mary chung's for his traditional marathon meal of chinese takeout. we had our pre-marathon chitchat in the kitchen, where i got some more details about alvida's delivery and learned from mike that they put fish bladders (called isinglass) in guinness (much to chagrin of vegans like his wife kathy). elias' sister chloe drove down from vermont with her friend carrie.
the theme this year was twelve from 2012, with one exception of a choice of 2 baby-themed movies from the 80's.
the norwegian thriller headhunters won over crime drama killer joe for the first movie. i voted for headhunters because it was a better movie; killer joe is more of a film about strange characters, with some memorably shocking scenes. probably only elias and i had already seen headhunters before. i was so impressed with the movie that i mentioned it back in july 2012.
sam had arrived to vote on the second movie, which turned out to be finnish iron sky, a scifi parody about a nazi moon base on the dark side of the moon and its subsequent invasion of earth. the losing choice was looper, which was the movie i voted for. i'd seen looper a bunch of times already, but i could easily watch it again. i'd also seen iron sky but didn't think much of it. it is a good movie for a crowd because it has its fun and outrageous moments, like the black astronaut who gets turn white, or the running joke of a sarah palin-like character as the american president. the movie uses a lot of blue screen and reminded me of sky captain and the world of tomorrow (2004), a neglected scifi gem starring jude law, gwyneth paltrow, and angelina jolie.
next up was searching for sugar man, the first documentary to play at one of these movie marathons. it beat moonrise kingdom. i'd seen both movies as well (moonrise kingdom i fast-forward-watched, that how much i was disinterested in seeing it). not a lot of people had seen sugar man but i think they liked the documentary because it has a pretty inspiring story, about an early 70's detroit folk singer who never made it big in the US bit apparently became the de facto anti-establishment soundtrack for the anti-apartheid movement in south africa. rumored to have committed suicide, its the story of how south african fans searching for the truth about his demise ended up discovering the artist was still alive and subsequently invited to south africa for a comeback tour.
the 80's baby movie filled the 6:00 timeslot. she's having a baby (1988) won against three men and a baby (1987). i voted for she's having a baby because i wanted to see a young elizabeth mcgovern after watching her play lady grantham in downton abbey, even though i also really wanted to steve gutenberg in three men and a baby. she's having a baby is an awful movie, mostly about the insecurities of a young newlywed man (kevin bacon) against the backdrop of late 80's hedonism and suburban consumerism. the actual baby part doesn't arrive until the end of the movie (spoiler!). also noteworthy is a very young (and very hairy) alec baldwin. the best part of the whole movie is actually the end credits, where various 80's celebrities pitch baby names.
the primetime 8:00 block was reserved for the cabin in the woods. elias had been touting how good cabin was all day long that there was little chance john dies at the end would win, even though the final vote was 7-3. once again, i'd seen both movies. john dies at the end is a weird movie, one that i neither understood or liked. there's no comparison to cabin, a film i'd seen enough times i could describe the entire movie scene by scene and repeat back most of the dialog. it was nice rewatching the movie with an audience; i knew when the scares were, but it was great seeing people react, jumping out of their seats or cringing at the gory bits.
i voted for detention - a film i'd never seen before - just because i'd fast-forward-watched chronicle and didn't think much of it. chronicle ended up winning the evening, and watching it a second made me like it a bit more. i don't care much for the hand-held cinéma vérité film genre, and parts of the movie i was distractingly wondering how a simple hand-held camera could capture footage of that quality (obviously the filmmakers used better cameras). the movie ended with the possibly of a sequel.
as per tradition, there was also a trivia contest. i ended up taking first place, with sam a point behind me, and mike in third place. given the choice between a prize of a sugar man music cd or a copy of the film 2012, everyone picked the cd. i think the only question i missed was the correct spelling of matthew mcconaughey's last name.
if i had a pick of 2012 films, i would've proposed the grey, that liam neeson action thriller where he gets stranded in the forest and fight with wolves. i haven't seen the movie but i'm definitely curious. another one would be the 21 jump street remake; it's kind of a mass-market choice but it's a funny movie for anyone who hasn't seen it and it also has elements of 80's nostalgia i'm very fond of. one more trashy action film might be lockout, that scifi fare written/produced by luc besson starring guy pearce as an old-school wise-cracking action hero sent to a maximum security prison in space to rescue the president's daughter. and finally i'd pick butter, a campy comedy made in 2011 but released in 2012, about the cutthroat world of butter sculpting, starring jennifer garner, olivia wilde, and hugh jackman.
one of the most interesting things i saw today was a jar of homemade-moonshine jaime had brought over. i tried it and it tasted pretty good, a complex sweet burning flavor, that he said was a simple combination of potatoes, tomato paste, and sugar. he also told me it was 200 proof but i think he was just joking. it was so strong that i could only drink it in sips otherwise i'd choke from the overpowering fumes. i only got to ask him a few simple questions about it but i really want to pick his brain, because i was thinking about getting into some backyard distillation a few years ago, but didn't think it was legal, or possibly too complicated to succeed. but now i know it can be done! so that's going to be my new project.
and even though brazilian dan couldn't be with us physically, a few times during the movie marathon his AIM status (beppo4xxx) would get displayed on the upper right corner of the screen. only those in the know knew who it was.
even though i had my bike, i walked back to harvard square with sam, which gave us a chance to catch up. the closer we got to the square, the higher the concentration of young people in various states of party attire. i was surprised to see harvard square so abuzz with action so close to midnight; i always thought the place would be dead around that time. bars sustain a lot of the nightlife, but i think an influx of late-night eateries have made the place attractive to young folks.
around 1:30 i suddenly realized my tomatoes were still in the backyard; i'd left them there in the morning so they could get some sun. i quickly ran out and brought them back inside.
1 i did think about going to the chipotle that opened up where wendy's used to be (i enjoy the burrito bowl), but decided on gyro instead.
2 i knew seagram's made wine coolers, but ginger ale as well? it was worth a try, but i didn't find it to be noteworthy. i think canada dry or schweppe's have better ginger ales (although my favorite is the market basket brand chelmsford golden ginger ale).
Gene Loves Jezebel - "Desire (Come And Get It)"