Hey you guys
I know it's been longer than a camel's dong since I last rapped at you in a non-My Year Of Flops context but last night I totally saw the holy living fuck out of The Condemned. You'll have to read my forthcoming review to find out whether this World Wrestling Entertainment-produced "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vehicle about ten death row inmates forced to fight to the death represents the pinnacle of Western Culture or is merely a lock for this year's best Picture Oscar. But I can tell you that Stone Cold Steve Austin was at the screening, which added a surreal element to the whole evening.
Before the screeening "Stone Cold" introduced the movie by pointing out that there were lots of intentionally funny parts of the movie the audience should feel free to laugh at. So when Austin's bad-ass character tells an evil authority figure that he hails from "A small fishing town called "Go Fuck Your Mama" the audience laughed soundly knowing that Austin wouldn't stroll over and punch them in the face for giggling during one of his big dramatic moments.
For much of the screenings I was much too immersed in the onscreen drama (expect Vinnie Jones to score big come Awards time!) to think about anything else but when Austin's character appears to die I reflexively glanced over at Austin in his seat by the exit to see how he was responding to his onscreen faux-death, then felt extremely silly for doing so. What exactly did I expect to find? Austin sobbing uncontrollably at the fake-passing of his big-screen surrogate?
The Condemned is even sleazier and more ridiculous than its premise and cast would suggest but I actively refrained from snickering too loudly at any point out of fear that Austin would come over, rip out my spine and force-feed it to me in one fluid motion. Of course snickering during films is bad form even when the looming threat of physical violence is wholly absent. So here's my question for you, dear readers. Have you ever been in a situation where seeing a movie alongside the star/writer/director/producer changed your experience of seeing the movie? Did it make it better? Worse? Weirder? I remember once seeing a terrible, locally-made movie in Madison where the filmmaker literally sat by the exit during every screening so you couldn't flee in horror without sending this dude the very clear message that his movie sucks and he shouldn't quit his day job (which was teaching film, naturally).