Thoughts on Fanboys

It was some weeks ago now, but the movie Fanboys—which I had seen trailers for over two years ago, and had been waiting for ever since—was finally released in Toronto.  (It apparently comes to DVD on May 19th, so this review may be somewhat timely after all.)

The movie is set in 1998, and focuses on a group of friends who are die-hard Star Wars fans.  When they discover one of them is terminally ill and won’t live long enough to see the release of The Phantom Menace, they decide to road trip to Skywalker Ranch and break in to see an early cut of the movie.  As you might expect, wackiness ensues.

The story has the trappings of a zany road-trip comedy, but has some slightly more mature character arcs than typical, dealing as it does with death, mortality, and growing up.  It also has plenty of slapstick humour, typical jokes about Trekkies and Star Wars fans, and cameo appearances by actors running the range from Seth Rogen, Kevin Smith, and Jason Mewes to Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, and William Shatner.

The movie has gotten fairly low ratings, but I really liked it.  I may, perhaps, identify a little too closely with the source material, being a die-hard Star Wars fan myself.  And like Hutch, one of the characters in the movie, I used to have a set of all-Rush mixtapes that were the only things to be played in my car.  If you like the classic Star Wars trilogy and know it well enough to get all the references to it, and if you like the slapstick Harold & Kumar/Superbad/American Pie-esque humour, you’ll probably like this movie.

An Evening With Kevin Smith

No, no, not the DVD, the reality.  On Friday, 07 February 2009, I had the good fortune of seeing Kevin Smith live doing his now-famous Q&A sessions at the first of two sold-out shows at the Roy Thomson Hall here in Toronto.  I am happy to report that the pricey tickets were well worth the expense, for Smith provided three solid hours of uproarious and profanity-laced entertainment, and my face was hurting from laughing so much by the time we left.

Smith was introduced by Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz (among other things), who was in Toronto working on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  Wright was entertaining in his own right (oooh, that’s a bad sentence), but Smith quickly stole the show once he came on stage.

Smith started with a monologue, rather scattered, but quite hilarious, especially the bathroom story he trotted out to illustrate why he needed to lose some weight.  (It involved a poker game, a massive crap, a wall-hung toilet in a rather less-than-sturdy wall, and the fact that he’s a front-wiper.)

Ultimately, he moved on to why he loves Canada and his most recent Canadian obsession, in the form of Hockey: A People’s History, and — more specifically — Wayne Gretzky.  (Actually, he was rather enamoured of The Great One’s father, too — who my mother met, and inexplicably got me an autograph from.)

Actually, all of the Canadian content may have come out once the actual Q&A session started, as he tended to take quite a while and go on a stream of consciousness-style journey in response to each question.  In the 2.5 hours he actually spent doing questions, he only really got through about 10 or 12, as each question would start him on a long and meandering — but hilarious — spiel, often only tangentially related to the actual question.

One of the early questions congratulated Jason Mewes on his recent marriage, and so Smith brough him out on stage then, too.  Needless to say, this was rather well-received by the audience.  Much of their hilarious interplay was based around Smith’s recent infatuation with using weed, whereas Mewes had cleaned himself up in recent years.

The show ranged all over the place, with Smith and Mewes having iPhone lightsaber duels, inviting the audience in the seats behind the stage to come and sit on the stage (only a actually made it past the staff), bringing out their wives (Jennifer Schwalbach and Jordan Monsanto), Mewes taking over while Smith went to “adjust his pants”, Smith’s views on parenting, and more.

Unfortunately, they were kept to a strict timeline (apparently due to the cost of using Roy Thomson Hall as a venue), and so the show ended what felt like far too soon, but everyone left quite satisfied.  (Well, except possible those people who were at the front of their respective question lines, but never got their questions answered.)  The show was well worth the price of the tickets — if you like Smith’s movies, and don’t mind a continual stream of profanity and dick and fart jokes, you won’t be disappointed in his live show.

Check out Star Trek — The Motion Picture (Pon Farr Edition)

I came across this video today, which needs to be listened to to be enjoyed, but should not, perhaps, be listened to at work or in another public space. (There are no inappropriate visuals, so in public with headphones is perfectly okay.)

I think this can be enjoyed even if you don’t know much about Star Trek.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Pon Farr Edition) from Darth Mojo on Vimeo.