TWO CIGARS, A HANGOVER AND THE TRUTH: DEADCENTER 2006

FRIDAY
Waking with barely a trace of a hangover, I made it over to the Filmmaker Coffee get together at Stage Center. It was an informal check-in spot for everyone before they started their day storming the festival. Here is where I ran into Paul Osborne again. Scott Storm had to leave town for an emergency trip to Las Vegas (an emergency that occurs at least once in everybody’s lifetime), but Paul was in for the long haul. Dying of malnutrition, we stopped for lunch at a nearby Mexican place and it was here that we discovered liquid Sweet ‘N Low. Neither of us had ever heard of the concept. We had only known of the stuff existing in its powder form, sealed in those tiny little pink packets. But, there it was, a rather big bottle of liquid Sweet ‘N Low. Paul was the first to try it out and by the pained _expression on his face, I could only come to the conclusion that it really, really sucked. So of course I had to put some in my mouth, too. And, yes, it did suck. It’s awful chemical taste resembled that of the filth that geysurs out of severed limbs at GWAR shows. It’s just something you want to avoid tasting all together.

After a quick refresher (the 100 some odd degree weather in the OKC made it mandatory for mid-day trips back to the hotel room to hose down), it was finally movie time, so I headed over to the Harkins Theaters, the local multiplex that had one of its theaters reserved for festival screenings. I would spend most of the rest of my day here.

Last Stop for Paul
If you’ve been meaning to travel the world, this film may perhaps be the boot on your ass to get you going.

“Last Stop for Paul” has us join two friends as they travel the world, spreading the ashes of a dead friend everywhere they go and posing as writers for Frommers travel guides in order to scam free hotel rooms. There’s no real agenda here other than these two guys breaking out of their nine to five monotony to throw themselves into the center of this bizarre world for an endless string of random adventures. It’s like a Mondo movie of sorts as we, along with our two characters, are exposed to different cultures and their quirky underbellies. It’s an eye-opening ride and a totally enriching experience.

Seawood
From my refreshing worldly travels in “Last Stop for Paul,” I found myself faced with the explicit deterioration of one man’s mind. A jolting shift in gears, yes, but that’s what film festivals are all about.

Filmmaker Gary Rhodes turns his camera on jazz musician turned preacher Seawood during his last few years amongst us. The film attempts to gather information from the man himself about his mystery past and what drove him to the lord. Unfortunately, however, Seawood has begun suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. As the film progresses, Seawood’s stories dissolve into senseless ramblings. It’s a difficult watch.

Outside Sales
After that last one, I needed a breather, or maybe a stiff drink, or maybe just a cheerier movie selection. Lucky for me, “Outside Sales” was next up on my schedule. I had heard from a few different people the night before that this was the movie to catch as it promised plenty of laughs, one of these people was the “Outside Sales” filmmaker himself, Blayne Weaver. Go figure. But Blayne seemed like an honest enough guy, so “Outside Sales” jumped to the top of my “must see” list that weekend.

Turns out “Outside Sales” was just the cheery kick in the drawers I needed. This romantic comedy focuses on an office full of colorful salespeople, primarily on Paul Wells. Paul used to be the sales rockstar of the office, but when his new boss stars screwing his wife, Paul loses his nerve. The salesman inside him withers away, leaving him a complete mess. Enter Dagny Green, the hot new kid on the sales block. Paul’s attraction to her invigorates him…until he discovers that she’s been brought in as his replacement. So Paul is forced to pull his head out of his ass, or lose his job to his new crush. Oh, romantic comedies, you can be such harsh bitches!

“Outside Sales” owned me from minute one. These tremendously ridiculous characters come at you fast and furious and the laughs are consistently solid. I was sitting there in theater thinking, “Fuck, this is like the ‘Caddyshack’ of outside sales movies.” I still hold to that comparison, even though the movie does slow down a bit as the relationship between Paul and Dagny builds. But that doesn’t mean the film loses any of its charm, we just shift gears into more of the romantic than the comedy. All in all, it’s a perfect blend. This is a solid movie with a tremendous cast, including filmmaker Blayne Weaver as Paul’s obnoxious boss. Being such a nice guy in person, it was interesting watching Blayne play one of those guys you love to hate, and play it well.

Up next was “Sex Machine.” As mentioned previously, I had already seen this one, but was kinda interested in checking it out with an audience. I lost interest once I saw the swarm of people waiting to get into the screening of “Sex Machine.” I decided to give up the space I would be taking to someone who hadn’t seen the movie yet. Besides, I had just put down three movies, so it was time for a break.

Later that evening, at the “Friday Night Frolic” at IAO Gallery, I caught up with Paul Osborne and Blayne Weaver for beers, giggles and shenanigans. Both were still high from their successful screenings so they were a blast to hang out with. Once the feeling for the Frolic wore down, deadCENTER goddess Cacky Poarch drive Paul and myself to the “Sex Machine” party. As we made our way to her car, there was talk of receiving the Goldfinger treatment. Not sure what she was talking about, but hoping it didn’t involve an empty field and a lot of crying, I was in for the ride. Not long after we pulled away from the curb, the all too familiar theme to “Goldfinger” boomed from our ride’s stereo system. It was a class act ride to the “Sex Machine” party all the way.

And just to make things clear, I was Bond and Paul was M.

Finally got to meet “Sex Machine” director Christopher Sharpe and his wife Leah who co-produced the film with Chris, as well as did production design. I congratulated them on a great movie and an amazing turnout for their screening just a few hours prior. But, time in the OKC seems to move really quickly as it wasn’t long before the bar we were at closed down for the evening. Fortunately, Chris and Leah invited me to come with them to a get together at a friend’s home. Nothing like winding down from a long day with more drinks and great company. I wound up making it back to my hotel room around 5am. Good thing my panels weren’t until later that afternoon.

The story continues in part three of TWO CIGARS, A HANGOVER AND THE TRUTH: DEADCENTER 2006>>>




Posted on June 21, 2006 in Festivals by
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