Friday, July 15, 2011

The Joy of the Bad Trailer

I'm at the Brattle Theater and a bluegrass band is playing. This is rather odd in and of itself; we are in Cambridge MA after all.

There's garden chairs, flags and pink flamingos decorating the stage. I'm not sure if these are the remains of their July decorations, or were put out especially for the night.  It is Cambridge after all.

There's beer being served, and the audience is animatedly talking to one another. I can't really hear what the lead singer is singing, but occasionally they get loud enough to rise above the cacophony. The band would be good if they were easier to hear, or maybe we should have sat closer. This is why Les Paul invented the electric guitar.

This is a movie theater, right?

Yes! It's the Trailer Treats & 2011 Trailer Smackdown event and we're not exactly sure if it's started yet.

The Brattle Theatre is one of the last art house movie theaters in Boston, and the fact that they continue to survive in the heart of Harvard Square is a testament to...well it's pretty amazing really.

Teams have created two minute trailers for sequels to imaginary movies, and the audience is about to get to view the trailers, and then vote to choose the winner. I should admit here that I am related to one of the entrants. We're here to see the competition, and as there are only twelve - fourteen really - entrants, we're thinking that with a bit of luck we'll be out of here in under an hour.

This is the first time we've attended, and we soon discover we have misunderstood some of the details.

The bluegrass band clears the stage, figuratively and literally, and the MC bounces on stage to announce that it's sold out, saying "Thanks for buying tickets, and allowing us to turn people away!"

And then the evening begins proper, but it turns out that tonight's both an homage to the trailer, as well as the Trailer Smackdown, and they start off by showing a collection of - and I'm being polite here - "vintage" & "classic" trailers. We're talking the original Mad Max, Pet Cemetery, Demon Seed, and the original Casino Royale, to name a few. Or how about The President's Analyst, the Gnome Mobile, or Zardoz? [What was Sean Connery thinking? -Ed]

Eventually we get to the screening of the actual trailers for the competition. Nearly all are humorous in tone, and there are some very inventive entries; notably a Labor Day 2: After Birth movie where all the woman of the earth have turned pregnant (with an attitude) and a rather odd nun movie. Production values vary greatly too; but really this competition is about the fun of it, rather than identifying the greatest works of art.

We vote, and more classic trailers were shown before the winners are announced. Truly, it was a fun night, and if you want to make a short movie and see it projected on the big screen, then try out for next years Trailer Smackdown. The entry fee is just $10, and for that you get in for free too.

Brattle Theater: Trailer Treats
Brattle Theater: Trailer Smackdown 2011


This year's winner:

No comments: