While Billington opted for a passive-aggressive move, I prefer to go straight-up Falling Down vigilante. If I see a glowing light in the auditorium, I’ll flash my phone’s screen directly in the offender’s eyes. If there’s a loud talker behind me, the kind of person who solves an onscreen mystery aloud, I’ll turn around to face them: “You’re the smartest person in the theater. Can you shut the fuck up so the rest of us don’t seem so dumb?”
The Hollywood Theatre and The Portland Mercury take the third approach to the plague of loudmouths and cellphone addicts: Lock them all in a room together. And so was born Hecklevision, a monthly screening of an awful movie where patrons send comments via text message, which then scroll onscreen. It’s like a text-based version of Mystery Science Theater 3000, with emoticons and horrible grammatical errors instead of robots.
This month’s offering, Super Mario Bros., is certainly a deserving target. You’re not going to find too many people irritated about the audience snickering while an overalls-wearing Bob Hoskins fights a peroxide-haired Dennis Hopper. But maybe this needs to go a little further. Perhaps we’ll soon have to choose just what kind of cinematic experience we desire: Do you want to watch the brooding kidnapping drama Prisoners in a theater where everyone is typing constant, poorly spelled updates (“daaaaamn, Hugh Jackmons is maaaaad”). Or do you pick the theater where you lose an eye if your phone rings? Until then, if you want to text without retaliation, you’re stuck watching Super Mario Bros. Deal with it (“OMG, no Goombahs?! ROTFL! WTF.”). Hollywood Theatre. 7:30 pm Friday, Sept. 27.
Meanwhile, the programming at Cinema 21 caters to a wholly different kind of maligned moviegoer—viewers who can’t help but sing aloud when they recognize a song in a movie (you may have watched Dazed & Confused with this sort of terrible human being). With its Sound of Music sing-along, the cinema creates an alternate universe to Rocky Horror, with the transvestite Transylvanians replaced by white people in puffy Alpine garb.
During these events, costumed masses treat the film like group karaoke as the words flash onscreen. No pitch is perfect. No song shall emerge unscathed. No matter how cheesy, such events help make moviegoing more social, with moviegoers actually engaging with one another over a shared love of slaughtering “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.” Just please don’t spread that love by posting it to Facebook. This is Austria, not goddamn Hecklevision.
The Clinton Street Theater has two programs dedicated to putting musicians on film. Sunday’s Les Blank Personalities retrospective explores the works of the late documentarian, whose 50-year career focused mainly on American traditional musicians. Catch two documentaries about singing cowboy Gerry Gaxiola, as well as Gap-Toothed Women, a documentary about gap-toothed women. And on Saturday, the theater will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the infamous short film The Truth About Beef Jerky, about a deranged hunting fanatic and classic-rock guitarist named Count Nugent who goes all “Most Dangerous Game” on a bunch of hippies. Clinton Street Theater. The Truth About Beef Jerky is at 2 pm Saturday, Sept. 28. The Les Blank program begins at 7 pm Sunday, Sept. 29.
- Revel in the glory of Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz while shooting in the air and saying “Aaaaah.” Laurelhurst. Sept. 27-Oct. 3.
- Come for the macabre humor, stay for M.C. Hammer’s “Addams Groove” during a screening of The Addams Family. Academy. Sept. 27-Oct. 3.
- The film that defined a generation, The Room, returns to be studied. Cinema 21. 10:45 pm Friday, Sept. 27.
- Jean Renoir explores comedy and fantasy in The Golden Coach—and then goes back to making stoic and glacial dramas. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium. 7 pm Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 28-29.
- B-Movie Bingo is back with Class of 1999, which features no Prince songs but does have Malcolm McDowell as a principal who replaces his teachers with evil robots… one of whom is Pam Grier. Hollywood Theatre. 7:30 pm Tuesday, Oct. 1.