He Watched It Sober.

Trust us. We won't let this happen to you.

Oh, Hi B-Fest 2010.

You Are My Best Friend

24-Hours! 17 Films! Lingering Quaidiation!

I Love the Smell of Nerd-Funk in the Morning.

Or, This is what Happens when You Bring a Knife to a Bazooka Fight.





Part II


The Line Up:

Crippled Masters



Mystery Short

Wizard of Speed & Time

Plan 9 from Outer Space

Mystery Short

The Room

Hard Ticket to Hawaii

Black Shampoo

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

Troll 2

Live it Up!

Fiend Without a Face


War of the Robots

The Giant Claw


Sights &
  McCormick Auditorium
  Northwestern University
  Jan. 29-30
  6pm to 6pm
McCormick Auditorium
(My home away from home.)

We must be living right or something because the trip to the campus didn't take near as long as I feared. And with the van safely tucked away in the handy parking garage, we armed up and stormed the hill to the Norris Center. Inside, we reunited with several others in the auditorium while staking out our usual seats. I also spy a few more familiar faces lurking about, including the newly christened Dr. Christian Lemur, Paradox, Joe Bannerman, Sgt. Andrew from Badmovies.org and Marissa with her promised can of Fabreeze to help keep the Nerd Funk down. After a little commiserating over what was about to come, Skip hands over our tickets, and with that we headed back down to the cafeteria for some much needed grub before taking on the Amazing and Colossal Film Festival.

Alas, the cafeteria was already closed, which means we had to fall back on the old reliable Sbarro's pizzeria. And as the old joke goes, Sbarro's is Italian for cardboard with cheese on it. We settled into some seats in the newly redecorated lounge and made with the greasy nom-nom-nom -- just be careful you don't eat the paper plate, thinking its part of the crust.

As full as we were gonna get, we headed back to the theater. Luck was still with us as we were safely nestled amongst some familiar faces and good riffers. Believe me, by hour 10 of this thing that is very, very important. And as six o'clock approached, there were a couple of disorganized attempts to get everyone out of the theater for a ticket check and programs in the form of another excellent piece of art courtesy of Mitch O'Connell. Awesome job as always. Then, it was back to my seat, where I cracked open a pop and dug out a granola bar as A&O took the stage and welcomed everyone to thunderous applause. And with that, the lights dimmed and we waited for the first digitally-projected feature to fire up. And waited. And waited. And then we waited some more as the dreaded blue-screen of death stubbornly refused to yield. Uh-oh ... Some twenty minutes later, somebody finally pushed the right combination of buttons and the first feature at long last cued up. Unfortunately, this hiccup proved to be a trend, but, we'll worry about that later. For now, let's get to it...

The Crippled Masters

(Will rip your throat out with its toes.)

After the false start and ensuing delay, when the first film finally started, we hit the ground running when the hero of our piece's arms also hit the ground after being lopped off at the behest of the bad guy, Ninja Kong (-- at least that's how I heard his name). As expected, it takes awhile for our boy to adjust to his new situation. And after getting beaten up at a restaurant and nearly drowned, he hits rock bottom when a farmer catches him eating out of his pig's feeding trough. One montage later, though, our hero has adjusted to his handicap and seems content.

Meanwhile, the guy who chopped his arms off does something to piss Ninja Kong and his ever morphing facial scar off -- not to mention the stainless steel hump on his back (and how long has THAT been there?) -- which gets his legs an acid bath, rendering them useless. Then, Armless finds Legless and is determined to torture him to death for what he did earlier. But, due to the timely intervention of some kooky old coot they make peace. Shaolin Cooter then teaches them Kung-Fu and convinces them to steal Ninja Kong's My Little Ponies first before pulling a Master-Blaster on the bad guy and pounding his ass flat.

While watching The Crippled Masters one isn't sure if you should be inspired by what they're watching or feeling guilty for gawking. The slowly choreographed and skip-framed and Foley-enhanced fights don't quite gel, and had me referring to it as Shields and Yarnell's Kung-Fu Theater, earning me the Obscure Quip of the Year Award. And just like last year with the short jokes during The Terror of Tiny Town, I'm not real proud of some of my quips during this thing. So, let's move on, shall we?

(When it flat-lines, do NOT resuscitate.)

Do you remember those old Duracell battery commercials about the artificial family who was always running out of juice at the most inopportune time? Well, if those creeped you out as much as they did me have I got a movie for you. Only in the movie, the plastic automatons just stand around, look out a window, and observe the weather for awhile. Oh, sure, they eventually wander off and wander around a forest for a spell, commenting on the trees and encountering some wildlife. And then they wander into town. And then wander through a party. And then decide to wander back home. There might have been some dialogue, but aside from the Borscht-Bot's lame jokes, I'm hard pressed to recall any. Or the reason why they built themselves a little proto-Wall-E. And I'm not sure why The Dr. Who Death-Mobile with the faulty ED-209 programming is involved, either. But, the important thing to remember is that they all eventually run out of juice, and tacked on happy ending or not, this damned movie came to an end. HOORAY!

Thanks, Ed.

With one notable exception, I despise existential robot movies. And between Caddyshack II and this exercise in Artificial-Stupidity will forever answer the question: Oh, so that's what happened to Allan Arkush.

And due to an extended pre-credit sequence I noticed a young Randy Quaid lurking about as one of the factory workers charged with recovering the renegade robots. This audible realization was soon picked up by several folks around me and every time Mr. Quaid showed up after, someone shouted out a combination of "Hey, it's Randy Quaid" or "I didn't know Randy Quaid was in this movie." This eventually morphed into reading the film's Quaidiation levels, which has now inspired me to rate the rest of the line-up via these parameters like the old Nerd Funk-O-Meter. And I'm also damned proud of the fact that once more, no matter how inadvertently, I've created another, monstrous running gag that will live forever in B-Fest lore. Ah, my work here is done.

Lingering Quaidiation Levels for Heartbeeps:


(From the makers of Enter the Dragon ...What. Really?)

In an effort to establish a base in the middle-eastern country of Parmistan for the newly fangled Star Wars defense initiative, the U.S. Government recruits gymnast Johnny Cabot as a secret-agent to enter "The Game" -- a quirky Parmistanian annual custom that sends several contestants/combatants through a bizarre and death-defying obstacle course because the winner of "The Game" is granted one wish from the Khan, the noble ruler of the land (-- who looks just like Harry Reems). But there's a catch: for not only must the contestants navigate the rough terrain, they only have a certain amount of time to reach certain goals or the Khan's men start shooting at them. And if they manage to survive all of that, the last obstacle is to navigate their way through the City of the Dead, where Parmistan banishes all of their mental patients, who have also turned cannibalistic. Confused? Don't worry, they have a large map and provide a dry run to make it all clear.

Cabot agrees to compete, mostly to find out what happened to his secret-agent father, who entered the contest but was never heard from again, with a side bonus of getting into the daughter of the Khan's pants. But before they send him in, Cabot needs a montage so he can learn the art of Gymkata by blending his gymnastic skills with some kung-fu. Now watch him break off a little Crouching Tiger, Hidden Pommel Horse:


Poor Kurt Thomas. Just when it looked like he was primed and ready to win a gold medal at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow the United States had to go and boycott the games because those darn Soviets were bullying around poor Afghanistan. (The Rambo III-esque irony here is not lost on me.) Alas, his window of opportunity was blown, but I guess Gymkata could sorta serve as a consolation prize. Maybe ... If you squinted ... And what the hell was that falcon all about? And where'd that goat go? And how many times is Johnny's dad gonna die and not die? Uhmmm...

U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

Lingering Quaidiation Levels for Gymkata:
The Raffle Break
(And the Monkey-Boy looks at his ticket. Again!)

Nine years. Nine. 9. IX. Nein. Neuve. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, ate, nine years and I still haven't won anything at the raffle. I was one number off for one of the copy's of The Picasso Trigger, and several of us found it very amusing that all three copies of that Andy Sidaris flick were awarded to someone of the female gender, which will make a lot more sense a little later in the write-up, so stick around.

With all the technical delays, the schedule has been kind of shot to hell already, but it really doesn't matter all that much. And as folks mill around, waiting for them to crank up The Wizard of Speed and Time, we all got a pleasant little surprise first.

Mystery Short #1

(One Froggy Evening)

From French midgets wrestling over a pillow, to vintage porn loops, to singing monkeys prancing around in soiled diapers, to an extended look at Japanese folk music, it has been my experience that the Mystery Shorts they usually spring on us during B-Fest tend to screw with your head or hammer you into your seat like a big square-peg into a tiny round hole. This would probably explain the cheer when the familiar chorus of "Merry-Go Round Broke Down" came over the speakers and we were all treated to the Chuck Jones' classic, One Froggy Evening.

I kind've hoped that would be a positive omen for the other shorts to follow, but, as usual, I was wrong. He typed ominously...

Lingering Quaidiation Levels for One Froggy Evening:

The Wizard of Speed and Time
(Forwards and sdrawkcab.)

As we approached the midnight hour, it was time to once more break out this kooky short about the super-sonic wizard, who has a little trouble with discarded banana peels and recalcitrant movie slate clappers. Run. Run. Run. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. Run. Run. Run. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. Fun. Fun. Fun. And all of this kinetic discharge gets everyone pumped up and ready for the overnight stretch.

And I'm also happy to report it appears that A&O has finally managed to secure a newer print, restoring, by estimation, almost a minute of footage, as the old one had been chewed up, spat out and beaten to a pulp over the years of use and esuba. This is welcomed news, because I refuse to let this short go the way of What is Communism?

Lingering Quaidiation Levels for The Wizard of Speed & Time:

Plan 9 from Outer Space

(Plus Solarmanite & You.)

Once again I prove Eros and Tana were right, that we of Earth are idiots with stupid, stupid minds, when I refused to leave the theater and sat through Plan 9 again for the ninth year in a row. Maybe it's the calls of Bela, Not Bela and Tor, or Wicker and Rattan, or the paper plate showers whenever those U.F.O.'s show up, who knows. Of course I, like everyone else, is barely paying attention to the movie and am more riveted on what's been scribbled on those plates that've crashed into you. I'm not sure when that started, but it's been elevated to a true art form by some folks who do elaborate stencil memorials to actors who've passed away the previous year. The Rob brothers behind me got one of Patrick Swayze, and I probably would have given my left nut for one with Dom DeLuise in his Captain Chaos gear.

The highlight of this year's screening was the welcome return of the stage skit that helped explain how Solarmanite works. The lowlight was some idiot in the rear who incessantly insisted that we should stop the movie and watch Albert Brook's Broadcast News because, and I quote, "It's a good movie." Dude, are you ever in the wrong place. You're also an idiot. Please shut up. I'm not proud of joining in on the chant of "Shut up, asshole" -- little pitchers have big ears and all that, but I have no problem with its general sentiment. Hypocritical? Maybe. I'm just as obnoxious as the next guy during this thing, but I also know when it's time to cut bait on a joke. 

Lingering Quaidiation Levels for Plan 9 from Outer Space:

It's After Midnight.
Time for Some Naughty Bits.
Onward, Brave Souls, to Part III.
Take a Gander at Our B-Fest 2010 Photos!

Originally Posted: 02/16/10

Knuckled-out by Chad Plambeck: misspeller of words, butcher of all things grammatical, and king of the run on sentence. Copy and paste at your own legal risk. Questions? Comments? Shoot us an e-mail.
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