1) some George and Mike Kuchar shorts, which were more instructive from a "I bet these influenced John Waters" point of view than a "these shorts are way cool" pov. Some of the films were fun to watch, but hearing George ramble and having the first film interrupted by Mike accidentally pulling the plug on the video projector will give you an idea of the level of professionalism the Kuchars have achieved over the years (ie not a hell of a lot). Still, a bit of underground cinema history I'd always wanted to experience.
2) Bob and David "Mr. Show" give a free talk about all sorts of stuff. I'd never seen Mr. Show, but the inherent comic ability of Bob and David was apparent from the beginning.This was a "teaser" event for:
3) Bob and Dave present Steven Seagal's "On Deadly Ground". If you thought irony was dead (hey, Time Magazine said it was, or at least, it was immediately post-9-11) the fact that 200-300 people paid $7 to watch a projected DVD of an 8 year old B-action movie with commentary by smartass comedians should tell you otherwise.
And it was hilarious. Granted, most people I know would be able to do a good job of heckling Terton Rinpoche (that's what you're supposed to call Mr. Seagal, since he is a reincarnated Tibetan lama, or didn't you know that?), but Bob and Dave did it extra well.
I'd never seen a Steven Seagal movie before. Had I known that they featured a pear-shaped man (who is allegedly an aikido-master) relying on guns and explosives, rather than fists, to defeat the evil Michael Caine (yes, you need superior firepower to defeat Michael Caine), I might have jumped on the bandwagon much earlier. Also, this is Steven's directorial debut, and his cinematic vision is truly inspiring.
Some highlights from the live commentary:
SS: (in a barfight scene where a bad guy is beating up a drunk Indian): "Why do you want to hurt this little Native man?"
Mr Show commentary: "You know, it's hard to know who to root for here. The bad guy is beating up an alcoholic Indian, but Steven, as director, is perpetuating the myth of Indian alcoholism by including this scene. And "little Native man"?! The only word he's omitted is "adorable"."
SS: (beating up the man who would beat up on the adorable little native man): "What does it take to change the essence of a man?"
I may be misquoting that, but its close to that in ludicrous-ness. the Mr. Show guys stopped the film and rewound it to replay this scene TWICE so that we could appreciate it that much more. The fact that I can't recall the exact words will show how ridiculous the scene is. This movie was made when SS was still a somewhat viable action hero, but had become involved in Tibetan Buddhism, and thus had that Billy Jack combo of pacifism, ass-kicking, and bravado that mix into a salad of lame Eastern mysticism and macho Hollywood black-leather whoop-ass.....except, in this movie, Steven wears a fringed jacket and talks about the environment during his vision-quest, so you know he's keepin' it real.
The fact that Chinese-American actress Joan Chen plays a native Alaskan, and that the bad guys appear to be blown up in a helicopter accident and then are stalking big Steve on the ground moments later are great examples of the careful direction that Steve offers the discerning cineaste.
Should Bob and David come to your town and offer a similar program, I'd give a whole-hearted recommendation. Seven bucks is a small price to pay to change the essence of a man.