I didn’t really know what kind of shenanigans I’d be getting myself into this past weekend, otherwise I’d have made mention in my previous post. But, I actually got to do something pretty cool this past weekend…attend part of the opening weekend festivities of the new Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson.

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For those of you that don’t know, the Alamo Drafthouse is, in their words and I agree, a theater franchise made by movie fans, for movie fans. The hallmarks of the Drafthouse that make it great are…
1) Absolutely no talking or texting once the lights go down. In most theaters it’s just frowned upon. Here, you get one warning before you’re ejected with no refund.
2) No kids, get ’em out. They’re okay at certain movies, but for most…find a baby sitter.
3) Good food, original beverages, and an aim at supporting local breweries.
4) Exceptional presentation quality, the Richardson location, for example, has 4K projectors in its’ theaters. (Highest resolution available at this point)
5) This is a home for cinema classics and special events. They know who their audience is, and know that doing classics and unique showings will keep the cinephiles at their doorstep.

The lobby of every Alamo Drafthouse has a lobby unique to the atmosphere of the area in which the theater is located. For Richardson, with the Texas Instruments HQ virtually just next door, and the mid-century modern architecture of the surrounding area, the Richardson lobby has been given a post-modern technology feel to it. And attuned to that, the theme was set for the special movies and events being featured on their soft launch weekend: Robots! Special titles and events featured this past weekend included The Master Pancake Theater‘s take on Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), The Iron Giant (1999) in 35mm, Robot Jox (1989) in 35mm, *Batteries Not Included (1987) in 35mm, Short Circuit (1986), The Transformers: The Movie (1986) in 35mm, The Terminator (1984), Logan’s Run (1976, filmed in Dallas), Forbidden Planet (1956), and finally, the one that I got to see, Fritz Lang’s The Complete Metropolis (1927) with 25 minutes of long lost footage, and orchestration by the Dallas-based improvisational ensemble: BL Lacerta.

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In my eyes, this was pretty much the Sci-Fi movie that opened up the Sci-Fi genre. Metropolis was certainly the first full feature-length Sci-Fi film, running 153 minutes in it’s original condiiton. It featured one of cinemas first robots, and arguably cinemas first android. A sizable amount of the film had been lost over time, but in 2008, an original cut was found in a cinema museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The film was slightly degraded, but most of the film was salvaged and adequately restored to include up to 148 of the original 153 minutes of film. Metropolis was a German silent film, with title cards and accompanying orchestration. The version I got to see was adapted to have English title cards, and some summarization for the parts that couldn’t be restored well enough to be included. It’s a shame that this film wasn’t respected near enough as it should have been when it was originally released. I guess German expressionist science fiction just wasn’t that well accepted back in 1927. I’d have thought that audiences would go for Brigitte Helm though, even by modern standards she’s pretty foxy.

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Having the BL Lacerta Improvisational Ensemble there was such a treat. They completely made up the score as they went along, and even though, in my opinion, it took them about 10 minutes or so to gain a little bit of traction, they made the whole experience breathtaking. 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have thought that any film made before 1986 could give me goosebumps, but with BL Lacerta driving the movie forward, I certainly got them.

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There will literally never be anything like it again. Like I said, they were making it up as they went along.

Adding an experience like that onto my film résumé is a once in a lifetime experience for me. I mean, I got to see the original Alien (1979) in theater at Cinemark earlier this summer, but that’s just not the same thing at all. This is arguably the Holy Grail of Sci-Fi films, the progenitor of the genre. Films like this aren’t going to cross my doorstep that often, but the great thing about Alamo Drafthouse is that they’ll certainly try to do it more often.

I also saw Elysium while I was out there, but as I’ve already gone on a long exposition on the Drafthouse and Metropolis, so I’ll save that review for next week. I’d have added a score to my little trope through Metropolis up there, but that movie is honestly well above me. It’d feel wrong for me to render any kind of judgement to a film so classic other than awe, so I’ll just say that it broke my scale.

It’s no secret, I love my Sci-Fi movies. It’s a big love of mine. I love it even more when I find out that quite a few movies that I enjoy have little Easter Eggs hidden in them. It’s a fairly often occurence nowadays, and most people know to look out for them, but not a lot of people know where the term or the practice of including Easter eggs came from. The term Easter Egg, as it applies to movies, can be attributed to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. One day, for whatever reason, they decided to have an actual easter egg hunt on set, and some of the eggs were hidden so well that they weren’t found by the time they had to resume filming the next day. Some of those unfound eggs found there way into the shots of the film, and into the final cut.

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So quite literally, the first Easter Eggs in film were actual easter eggs. Easter Eggs have become a little more elaborate, deliberate, and figurative since then, and I wanted to account a few of my more favorite ones that I’ve seen crop up in films I like.
Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999) Okay, yea, I lied. Not one of my more favorite films, but it does have an awesome Easter Egg in it. When Queen Amidala calls for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum, the shot moves around to look at the reaction of various other species and nations. If you’re looking closely, you might notice something.

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Don’t see it? Look a little closer…

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Yep, those are the Extra Terrestrials from Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982). That little bugger that Elliot was hanging out with in 1982 probably had Yoda on speed dial.
I Am Legend (2007) At Comic-Con earlier this summer, it was announced that Superman would return in 2015, facing off against rival superhero, Batman. This was a graphic they provided at the announcement…

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For many, this graphic looked very familiar…very very familiar.

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They may have predicted it to happen about 5 years too early, but the I Am Legend filmmakers had it spot on. I mean, I bet when someone from Zack Snyder’s Batman vs. Superman camp were coming up with promo materials for Comic-Con this year, someone was like, “Hey, they had a good poster in I Am Legend…let’s use that.” The awesome thing about this, is that it didn’t become an Easter Egg until 6 years after the film’s release.
Star Trek (2009) There were a lot of mixed emotions when J.J. Abrams was appointed as the Director of the upcoming Star Wars Episode 7, mainly lots of people, myself included, that didn’t want to see someone that has had some influence of the Star Trek universe to have the same influence over the Star Wars universe. The fact is though, Abrams has already allowed a little mixing of the two universes. Many of you may have missed R2D2 popping up for a split second in the 2009 Star Trek, but he was there. When the Enterprise emerged from warp into the debris of the fallen Star Fleet ships around Vulcan, this little guy popped up in front of the view screen…

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Yep, that’s R2 in all his glory bouncing off the windshield of the Enterprise, tossed aside like a bug off windshield wipers. ::Sigh:: You’ve actually got the pranksters at Industrial Light and Magic to thank for this. Apparently they like to toss R2 into a lot of the projects they help out with. Supposedly R2 also popped up in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen when Optimus Prime was gearing up towards the end. Who knows all where the ILM boys stuck that little guy.
Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Temple of Doom (1984) You might be shocked to hear that the Easter Eggs that has been found in Indiana Jones are ones from Star Wars. What Indie failed to realize while digging around for the long lost Ark of the Covenant, that he’d already found it…perhaps in a previous life, a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…from anywhere else. What Dr. Jones failed to realize while tomb raiding were a couple of his old friends immortalized in the hieroglyphics behind him.

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There’s also another one that pops up in the Temple of Doom right in the beginning. The night club that Indie finds himself in, where he first meets Willie is none other than, Club Obi Wan.

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Lucas and Spielberg were pretty tight back in those days.
I’ve got one more for you, and it’s really a bit of a stretch, so bare with me.
Iron Man (2008) When Tony Stark finally escapes captivity and returns to America, he asks for two things: an American cheeseburger, and a press conference. A cut or two later, when Stark steps out of the car and is greeted by Obadiah, he has a Burger King cheeseburger in hand (I would love to provide you with a screenshot, but the internet has actually failed me this time, you’ll have to watch it for yourself to confirm). The Easter Egg here is the BK cheeseburger, if you know enough about Robert Downey Junior‘s life. In 2003, before RDJ had turned his life around, he was driving around with what he described as “tons of f—ing dope” in his car, and decided to stop for a burger…at Burger King. He said that the burger was so terrible, that he felt that something terrible was going to soon happen, so he tossed all his drugs into the ocean, and decided then and there he was going to turn his life around. He credits Burger King for being the catalyst that got his life back on the right track, and the inclusion of the cheeseburger scene in Iron Man was RDJ’s way of making a metaphor of his own life, as having the cheeseburger was the last thing Stark did before announcing he was turning his company around.

I remember when I watched that movie for the first time. Seeing RDJ, with his courage steeled and his mission understood, suiting up in the red and gold Mk. 3 armor for the first time. That first viewing is a feeling you can’t ever really recreate. There are plenty of movies and games out there whose turning points make the initial viewing infinitely better than any following occurrence. I would like to venture a ponder out there, and make an inquiry to my audience.
What game or movie would you want to play through/watch again, with no memory, just so that you could have your mind blown for a second time? I’ll go ahead and start us out.
Mass Effect 3 (2012)…the franchise marked the first console games that let you carry on a storyline through a line of games, and was a unique game in that most people who played it chose to design their own character, instead of using the default. You genuinely got attached to your character, and all the supporting cast that you picked up along the way. It was known well ahead of time that this franchise was a trilogy, 3 games and done. So much anticipation was built up around the release of Mass Effect 3. If I could go back and live through that anticipation, and the playthrough to find out how the characters resolve all their conflicts after nearly 5 years of built up dedication…that would be so cool.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)…seeing a childhood favorite cartoon brought into live action for the first time was about as exciting as it gets for a kid.

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Childhood joy is beautiful. But the pure manic drooling excitement of a 4-year-old is something altogether fearful…but innocent. I miss having that same raw enthusiasm. And to think that Megan Fox is now going to be dirtying up the role of April O’Neil…

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::Sigh:: Michael Bay is like a battered wife. He know’s that she is nothing but bad, but he just keeps going back to her. Had I been consulted for the casting of the new TMNT, I would have just dropped this on Michael Bay’s desk…

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He could have done so much better with Miss Winstead.
Speaking of M.E.W. I’ll go ahead and wrap up this exercise with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010). I remember going and seeing this movie in theater on opening day. I had literally no idea what to expect; I hadn’t played the game, nor had I read the mangas. Within the first five minutes, with the video game sound effects, the dry humor, and the lead-in to the title sequence, and I found myself leaning over to my buddy and whispering, “I think I’m in love.”

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Then I saw Mary Elizabeth Winstead playing Ramona for the first time, and I felt an odd tingling somewhere behind my man tackle. Seeing her for the first time with that pink hair, well…it lit my fire. I still think she looks ravishing, but nothing really ever compares to seeing a girl for the first time that matches your proposes specifications for sexy angelic perfection.

Film Title: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

I’m getting caught up in the fair skinned muse. The movie itself was kind of a homage to everything that I love in life; music, video games, beautiful women, bass battles, hidden Easter Eggs, and over the top imagination and creativity. For me, everything little thing in this movie worked, and seeing it come together for the first time in theater, well, I was  writhing in my seat, I’m pretty sure.
Unfortunately, we can never go back, but it’s a nice exercise in nostalgia. So, I ask you, what are some movies, games, and various other media that you’d love the opportunity to experience again for the first time? I’m sure I’m leaving out plenty of good ones, so let me know what I’ve forgotten.

Alrightly then. Before I go, I’d like to make a short Public Service Announcement about Monster Cable®s, for all of my fellow musicians out there.

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I was perusing through one of my favorite news aggregators, and I came across a thread talking about how Monster Cable®s’ instrument cables are essentially ripping your instruments and other hardware to shreds. The way the rumor goes, and it has been confirmed by several other independent sources, is that Monster Cable®s’ 1/4″ instrument cables can range anywhere from .001 to .0015 inches larger in diameter than other 1/4″ cables on the market. That doesn’t sound like much, but when no other cables are capable of making a connection, let alone staying plugged in to your equipment. Let’s compare your guitar regularly functioning individual of the feminine gender. Have that lady deliver a child, and that’s how your guitar is going to feel after a Monster Cable® has had its’ way with her. I for one want to preserve the functionality of all my fair ladies’ holes, so my use of Monster Cable®s will cease today.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for today. Next week I’m thinking of doing another Nerds of the Future segment, talking about the downfall of the Beatles, majestic red meat, and some fancy rides of fiction. I may throw some other stuff in there, but those are the big talking points I’ve got planned right now. Until then…

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– CVSleen

Balsamic and Garlic Marinated Pork Roast

Balsamic and Garlic Marinated Pork Roast

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