Brattle Theater’s Trailer Treats great fun, but…

The 6th annual Brattle Theater Trailer Treats and Trailer Smackdown competition was held last night (July 17) at the historic Brattle Theater in Cambridge. This little party is always a lot of fun, and last night’s show was no exception.

As always the evening started out with a country/western band playing while the patrons ate. I have to admit that this years’ food selection was a MAJOR letdown. Maybe we were expecting too much, as last year the event was catered by West Newton’s excellent Blue Ribbon BBQ. This year, the most the theater could muster was hot dogs, potato salad, beans, and a few snacks from the local BJ’s Warehouse, most of which were pretty bad, particulary the potato salad, which was too spicy and dry enough to spackle walls with. And we weren’t the only ones disappointed; while in line for the hot dog I never got (the volunteers manning the food table were super nice, but totally focused on the wrong end of the line), I overheard three people, one identified as a member of the Brattle board, and the other two identified as major donors to the theater, all complaining about the horrible food selection this year, and that they apparently weren’t donating enough if the theater couldn’t manage more than what they provided this year. The donors, an older husband and wife, looked particularly disgusted at the small spread. Perhaps, like us, they were expecting last years’absolutely delicious fare.

Music was provided by country band A11, and wasn’t too bad, considering that I really disliked last years’ band. How about getting some southern fried rock next year, guys?

Then the main event kicked in – the trailers. The entire premise of the Trailer Treats show is an hour or so of great, often hilarious, rarely-seen vintage movie trailers, and again the Brattle didn’t disappoint. Some of the trailers included this year were "Lifeforce", "Battle Beyond The Stars", "Telefon", "Moonraker", "Bad Dreams", "The Company Of Wolves", and over two dozen others. Nothing quite as hiliarous and scary as last year, when "Xanadu" and "Phantom Of The Paradise" were among the offerings. This year’s selections seemed to lean towards horror and science fiction more, which is good, because those kind of trailers often feel totally cheesy a few years later. Witness the hilarious laughter when the announcer mentioned that the effects for "Lifeforce" were done by the team who did the effects for "Star Trek:The Next Generation" (which, as fans know, were practically non-existant). 

THen it was time for the other main event – the Trailer Smackdown competition. Open to anyone who wants to participate, the contest involves making a 2 minute trailer for a bogus movie with a title supplied by the Brattle; in this years’ case, the title was "86", and there were a number of excellent twists on the title, ranging from the slang meaning of killing someone to the use of the number as a year.

This years’ competition featured TRAILER SMACKDOWN Entries from:
Bob Colman
Zaccur Fettig
Paul Kelly
Sean O’Bryan
Hyun Supul
Team Polakiewicz/Van Dreason
Justin Termini
We’re A Bike Gang Pictures

The entries ranged from an animated spoof of "Gladiator" or "300" with bunnies and cats (at least I think they were cats) to sendups of slasher films, to the audience winner, Justin Termini’s hiliarious French Film Noir spoof. Congratulations to Justin, and thanks to ALL the above participants for once again making the Trailer Smackdown competition one of the highlights of the evening.

While the votes for the Smackdown were being tabulated, we were treated to more trailers, this time, a series of Kung Fu trailers that also ran last year, picked no doubt because you can see them over and over again and never fail to completely crack up – for movies like Sonny Chiba as "The Bodyguard" (VIVA! CHIBA! VIVA! CHIBA!) and something that the american distributors named "Deep Thrust". And of course, the obligatory showing of the classic Bugs Bunny cartoon Hillbilly Hare, which ties in nicely to the whole "trailer" theme of the night.

All in all, food aside, the Trailer Treats show at the Brattle was a fun night out for us and our friends, and we’ll be back to do it again next year!  And be sure to check out this weekend’s edition of Subject:CINEMA for a complete discussion of the show!