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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Films I Saw at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater

Between 2005 and 2008, I used to go to this small indie movie theater on Avenue B in NYC called The Two Boots Pioneer Theater. It's long closed, but I really enjoyed it, and went whenever I saw a mention of a film that looked interesting. I should have gone more often, but I wasn't into cult movies or stuff that was weird for the sake of being weird. They played an interesting variety of films, and I saw them for a $6 student discount. I haven't seen another theater in the city like it since. So I'm writing a list of the films that I saw there, which is unfortunately pretty short.

The Warriors - 1979 retelling of The Odyssey with street gangs. I loved it, I loved its grunginess and sense of danger.

Hair High - animated film that is a cross between Grease and Carrie, from Bill Plympton. A really wonderful film, and I met Bill Plympton at the screening, where he sketched his dog character from his short films for me.

Bram Stoker's Dracula - the Coppola version from 1992. The print seemed to be from 1992, it was that dated-looking. I think the movie is somewhat ridiculous in its storytelling, but it looks like a 1920s silent film in a good way.

The Girl Next Door - Not to be confused with the Risky Business remake, this is based on a sick story from the 1960s about a teenage girl being held captive by a suburban mom and her teen sons, being raped, beaten, starved, and eventually dying of her injuries. This film frightened me to the bone, and is one of the most startling horror films I've ever seen. There's another version of the story as the movie An American Crime, but I don't want to revisit that story, and the big names in the film (Catherine Keener, Ellen Page) are more distracting than when I watched virtual unknowns in the other film.

Air Guitar Nation - A fun documentary about an air guitar competition in Finland, where wannabe rock stars show off their skills at doing air guitar, and are pretty great at mimicking the guitar solos. I even thought I recognized a guy I used to date in it, but I doubt it was him. This documentary played on VH1, so it's gotten around more.

Rock the Bells - Another fun documentary, this one about the Rock the Bells Hip Hop Music Festival, featuring the reunion of all the members of the Wu-Tang Clan. It was fascinating to see how the group dynamics worked, and seeing how RZA is like the daddy/leader of the group, while ODB was unreliable and difficult to get a hold of. Method Man and Redman make a great pair, and the others were cool as well.

Gloria - This film made me a fan of Gena Rowlands for life. It's an effective movie about a woman who has lived a hard life being a mobster's mistress, and is as tough as nails. Through tragic events, she ends up having to take care of a little boy who is being hunted by the mob for information his father had. Gloria isn't a mother in any sense, but she has this great relationship with the kid even if it doesn't seem loving. It is a fascinating movie, and The Professional was definitely influenced by it in terms of events and a relationship between a child and a mysterious neighbor who has criminal ties.

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