Friday, November 13, 2009

"A Mixed Tape Testimonial" by Kirby Lewis

The Carousel runs a series of old movies throughout the year and during the 2009-2010 season, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was one of those films. Partly filmed in Wilmington, NC, it remains one of the most reminiscent movies of my generation's childhood.

When I came to the showing this summer, I knew I was going to enjoy it, but I was not prepared for how much the viewing was going to affect me. Showing in Theater Eight of the Carousel ('The Big One'), I had plenty of seating options; I chose the middle, 2/3 up. As people filed in, you could sense the anticipation rising. Suddenly I felt my attention shift, and I was viewing everyone in the room 20 years ago. I saw an audience of five and six-year-olds, oversized shirts swallowing them whole, the magnetic jewelry and temporary tattoos barely visible as the inner child broke free of the adult shell.

As the movie started, goose bumps washed over my skin as the years melted off. I've seen 'Ninja Turtles' so many times over so many years, but no viewing was like this. The gasping, the cheering, the laughing; these all serve as a bond. You realize how many people grew up feeling the same way you did about the same thing.

There then exists an unspoken, unacknowledged connection between strangers that goes beyond conversation. It reaches inside all of us, to the child we were and the way we saw 2 decades ago.

Thank you, Joe Scott, for making this happen.


And thank you Kirby, for writing. It takes a lot more folks than just me to make Mixed Tape happen - Rachel, Mike, Ian, Nathan, Kelly, and Chris for starters - but I am extremely flattered all the same.

Actually, your letter reminded me of a scene from the lesser sequel to Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Big Top Pee Wee, which takes place at the 4:20 minute mark below:

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A spanking for the senses: James Cameron's "Aliens"


If you listened to the show this week, you might remember that I mentioned Roger Ebert's somewhat puzzling review of James Cameron's 'Aliens.'

He bows to the film's many technical accomplishments, but what makes Ebert's take on the property so unique is that he is essentially faulting it for being such a taught, well-made thriller.

"Aliens" is absolutely, painfully and unremittingly intense for at least its last hour. Weaver goes into battle to save her colleagues, herself and the little girl, and the aliens drop from the ceiling, pop up out of the floor and crawl out of the ventilation shafts. (In one of the movie's less plausible moments, one alien even seems to know how to work the elevator buttons.) I have never seen a movie that maintains such a pitch of intensity for so long; it's like being on some kind of hair-raising carnival ride that never stops.

I don't know how else to describe this: The movie made me feel bad. It filled me with feelings of unease and disquiet and anxiety. I walked outside and I didn't want to talk to anyone. I was drained. I'm not sure "Aliens" is what we mean by entertainment. Yet I have to be accurate about this movie: It is a superb example of filmmaking craft.

Because of this, the Eeb gave the film three and a half stars instead of the four it so clearly deserves. But I guess if one would ever find fault with a film for being intense, it is Aliens.

As I described it to an old buddy of mine back in high school, the movie is a "spanking for the senses." Whether it's through lighting, editing, special effects, or the score James Horner wrote for the film, the second half of the movie does everything it can to scare the crap out of the audience. I was reminded of this while playing James Horner's score in the background of our last show. I'm the only one who can hear the audio due to the fact that there's one set of headphones in the studio, and while Horner would attempt to lull my attention with tubas and violin there were a few moments where he would suddenly POUNCE my ears with a shrilling blast of woodwinds.

It made me jump, throwing me off my script, and I can imagine Cameron would be glad to know that even the audio portion of his film still has that power.


The Mixed Tape Film Series presents James Cameron's Aliens tonight at 7:30 and 10 p.m. at the Carousel Luxury Cinemas on 1305 Battleground Ave. in Greensboro. Tickets are $4 each and are available here.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

[PODCAST] The Second Amendment of the World


On this week’s episode of The Movie Show, Joe and Mike get viewers ready for Thursday’s (Nov. 5) screening of Aliens at the Carousel Luxury Cinemas (tickets here). Also, they review Michael Jackson: This Is It and Amelia before dishing on the potential demise of Miramax, a sequel for ‘Roger Rabit’ and Bronson star Tom Hardy’s big break.

Stream it!