The BfD Reunion Conference 2010: Saturday! [Shutter Island, Saturday Drivers, and Nintendo]

Four of the Numerous Images from "The Walls of Fairview" Collection

For some, day 2 of the BfD Reunion Convention started early. For the others, it started late. Because of this, the Convention must have started late, as the early tasks of the day hold no relevance to the weekend story at all. Saturday was an extremely laid back day, in a time in which relaxing is not recommended. We all had business matters to take care of, so that we can take the website further into the new decade. This did not happen (although there were some unsubstantiated rumors of a BfD store in the works, with “The Walls of Fairview” Collection of sketches being a possible starting point for merchandise such as t-shirts and bumper stickers) as it was a day of driving around, watching things unravel, , and letting life happen to us while making observations on the way. It was a day of greasy debauchery and valiant cholesterolization.

The first item on the agenda was a screening of the new film Shutter Island. It stars those really popular guys named Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley. It also introduced an unknown actor named Leo (who was also in that movie with the big boat, or something that has nothing to do with basketball). It was directed by the dude that did The Age of Innocence and Cape Fear, so needless to say, our expectations were both high and doubtful. After all, The Age of Innocence came out 17 years ago, and the man has not done anything even close to living up to it since. The man is much more interested in seeing people shooting guns, or driving around cities. That kind of tomfoolery has no place in American cinema today. The rest of his repertoire post-1993 can be described in the following list:

People Die In a Casino

Dalai Lama Probably Dies

Nic Cage Drives Around for 2 Hours

Daniel-Day Lewis Is Really Tall; Kills People

Some Dude Flies Around For 3 Hours

Bob Dylan Talks For 3 Hours

Everybody Dies

Do any of those movies look interesting to you? Of course not! But with Shutter Island, both Cozo and Roscoe were excited to see Martin Scorsese going back to his roots with a psychological thriller (Because really, Scorsese doing anything else would be like James Cameron making a biopic, or Ridley Scott making something that’s worth a damn). The two cinema warriors show up at the theater, only to find out that the only seats left are in the front 2 rows. Fuck that. So then, ladies and gentlemen, the waiting game commences.

If there’s anything that any BfD member is good at, it is killing time. We make a killing out of killing time. Clocks get murdered whenever we enter a room. We decide to take a trek to Schuler’s Books, which is like a Barnes and Noble, but barn-er and noble-er. The used sections can’t be beat, as they take up half of the store. It’s fucking beautiful. It was there that we came across a new section that’s going to change the world: They actually have a section dedicated to “Used Oversized History”. It really makes one wonder why they wouldn’t lump it next to the “Used History” section, and why they are not together will forever be a mystery. Maybe it’s a parallel universe, where everything is larger, kind of like BigWorld in Mario which has history similar to our normal world, only larger.

Doesn't this cover make you want to read this book to find salvation? Too bad you'll just find some short stories instead of religion.

Within the magnitude of the Used section, Roscoe finds a gem in the form of a fiction compilation from Tim McSweeney. Among the various writings, there’s a piece by that chameleon of actors, Mr. Michael Cera. While its not has flashy as the ones Cozo were showing Roscoe earlier, such as the Newspaper edition and the junk mail collection, it still offers itself up as decent reading material from some great authors. After satisfying Roscoe’s hunger for literature, the duo leaves Schuler’s to satisfy his hunger for food-stuffs. A quick bite later and the two are off to try and watch Shutter Island once again.

On the way back to the theater, The Coze and The Rosc observed a current phenomenon. Everyone who knows anything about traffic patterns knows about Sunday Drivers. They are a rude breed of people that drive at an extremely slow speed in order to get the full effect out of the “day of rest”. It can be easy to say that 2/3 of the drivers on Sundays are guilty of this. During the trek, we observed that Saturday is becoming a day to prepare for Sunday. There are countless amounts of drivers training to take it easy on the day of sabbath. They are slow to leave stop lights, they leave their blinkers on for miles, and most seats are leaned back at the car coasts at 20 MPH. This is all part of a grandiose scheme that will make Saturday into the new Sunday, Sunday into something completely different, or simply merging the 2 days together. Generally, by the attitudes of individuals, one can tell whether or not the day is Saturday or Sunday. This line is becoming much more blurred, as more people treat Saturdays as a day to relax. In the past, Saturday was commonly seen as a day to run errands: get to the bank before 1, get groceries in the afternoon, make large amounts of food in the evening. The Saturday Drivers of the world are starting a movement to change all of this, and skew everything that we all once thought we knew about weekends.

The film was slated to begin showing at 4:00. We arrived promptly at 3:44. Just to get good seats. After 10 minutes of commercials, 18 minutes of trailers commenced. The film started at 4:18, with the company credits ending at 4:19. By 4:20, we were both whisked away to Shutter Island. This is where the trouble began.

"It's a happy-go-lucky day spa... for the criminally insane."

Coze’s Take: There were many great things about this movie. The cinematography was fine by my standards, with some really cool lighting choices to draw tension. The sound design was one of the best that I’ve heard in a long time. The uneasiness of it all just pops out at you, and there are some really efficient uses of some John Cage compositions (which I got wet over). The acting was top notch, with Ben Kingsley being both mysterious and straightforward. The final scene is heart-wrenching. There are many aspects of this film that could make it a complete and enjoyable experience. However, there is one problem: I DIDN’T LIKE THIS MOVIE.

After much time for reconciliation, I still can’t put my finger on what urked me about this movie. Maybe it was because of the fact that I waited too long to see it. The trailer was first shown last February, slated for an October release. Then it got pushed back to February. But they didn’t stop showing the trailers. After seeing the previews over 100 times (usually not on purpose), I began to feel like I had already seen this movie, and in many ways, I had. Yes folks, I’m not giving away any major plotlines or twists (because there is a few), but I have to say that if you saw all the trailers and previews for the movie, you have essentially seen the movie. Sure, there’s an extra 2 hours to the experience, but all of the key moments are already revealed to the general public. I went into this movie expecting Scorsese’s Jacob’s Ladder, but instead I got Scorsese’s Shutter Island. I was simply expecting something different, and it isn’t the fault of the movie itself. The trailers led us all to believe that there was something more to be seen, as any trailer would do, but all it did was get our hopes up. I really hate to say this, because I actually do have a lot of respect for the filmmakers involved, but given the context of the story and what it could have been, Shutter Island would have been much better off in somebody else’s hands. If say Lars Von Trier was behind the lens, the film would have been much more thought provoking, intense, and dare I say, scarier.

It was as if I could not be pulled into the movie. In any horror or suspenseful movie, the audience is supposed to step into the shoes of the main character. When the person feels fear, the audience is supposed to feel the same way, as if it was happening to them. I found myself not being scared for me, but scared for the character. I felt very detached from the film entirely. I was hoping and hoping for more bad shit to happen to the characters, which is usually a sign to either a bad horror movie, or a horror movie with a lot of promise that doesn’t deliver properly (this case is the latter). All in all, it really was a great film, but I just couldn’t bring myself to like it, or be a part of the experience. I simply wanted something different.

Roscoe’s Take: After basically having a year of hype for the movie, and then over the course of the day’s events leading up to finally seeing it, the tension in finally being able to see the film was overwhelming. Then the movie started. The first scene set up the tension well, and brought the two detective character’s together in a meeting on the deck of a ship on a misty and choppy ocean, approaching a dark and potentially terrifying island with a mental institution… “For the criminally insane.” With the utterance of that line, I was ripped out of this mood-setting introduction and planted firmly back into the trailer that had been beat into my head for months and months.

I agree with El Cozo that much of the film looks and sounds quite stunning; I especially liked what the filmakers did to give the audience a taste of the main character’s migraines. Having suffered through the occasional migraine myself, I could definitely relate with Ted. Too bad that was the only time I really felt a connection with him. For most of the movie, I was bored. The elements of a great film were all there, good cast with emotional performances, brilliant art direction and cinematography and a sound track to die for. Yet as a whole, the movie left me empty inside.

I think that the over-saturation of the marketing combined with the release date getting pushed back (adding more chances to see the trailers to beat into your head that Scorsese has made an amazing film once again) made the expectations too high; what probably is a pretty good film was marketed as the next modern masterpiece, making me feel like I had seen a mediocre film when I left the theater.

After the screening, we settled back into the convention center, and indulged ourselves in a hearty dinner. The dinner consisted of none other but Skyline Chili Dogs. Fucking amazing. Pure sex on a bun. Words cannot describe the euphoria. It was better than Shutter Island. It was a life changing experience. Roscoe was a little leery of the chili at first, the way Coze talked it up, he wanted something that would make him feel like he was eating a piece of heaven, but after the Shutter Island debacle, his heart wasn’t sure it could take another disappointment. Luckily, Coze knows his way around chili, and the experience ended up being quite enlightening.

With Cozo popping yet another dosage of Tylenol PMs, and with Scotty still nowhere to be found, activities were limited for Saturday evening. Roscoe and Cozo put on their Guz and Loo masks to play some game shows on NES. Instead of going head to head like they had in the past, the two decided to put their differences aside after finishing most of a game of Wheel of Fortune (where Loo totally annihilated Guz). During the final round, in order to bring home a Brand New Deluxe Kitchen, Guz stepped up and helped Loo out of a jam. The two then decided to join forces to bring an end to the The Murphys Reign of Terror and Tyranny on Family Feud.

The Murphys are known for their pass the buck and steal the treasure style of play, where they hope that there are eight or nine answers on the board and a couple of schmucks answered “Potato Salad” to the category  “Things that remind you of your children.” They always pass it over, so you end up playing even if your team lost the showdown. Then, after you fail to produce the obscure answers they swoop in and take it all.

Despite all this, Guz and Loo felt confident in the crack team they had assembled to attempt to overthrow the diabolical Murphys. BfD has spent countless hours training its journalists to also be well versed in useless trivia, especially random surveys taken in the 80s for TV game shows. Even with categories like “Name something you might hear when everything is very still at night”(With eight answers no less),” Name something you are sure to turn off before you leave the house for the day” (Seven answers), and “Name an occupation whose members play golf during business hours” (Five answers) the BfD squad eventually was able to triumph over the Murphys. For those of you with a pioneer spirit the actual answers are listed below. Survey says:

Q: Name something you might hear when everything is very still at night.
A: 1. Crickets            38
   2. Dog barking         10
   3. Faucet              9
   4. Housesettle         7
   5. Clock tick          6
   6. Traffic             5
   7. Frogs               4
   8. Owls                4
Q: Name something you are sure to turn off before you leave the house for the day.

A: 1. Stove               43
   2. Coffee pot          19
   3. Iron                17
   4. Heater              8
   5. Curling iron        4
   6. Lights              3
   7. Television          3
Q: Name an occupation whose members play golf during business hours.
A: 1. Physicians          42
   2. Attorney            38
   3. Bankers             16
   4. Politicians         2
   5. Salesmen            2

…and as the dust settled on another day of conferencing, we all still wondered what great things Sunday would bring us…