Review: Austin's "Butt-numb-a-thon"

For the past ten years, "Aint It Cool News" big cheese Harry Knowles throws a little birthday party for himself. Guests vie for a chance to be part of Harry's entourage and watch movies in a place I consider to be the finest theater in the known world: the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin.

The catch: The event is 24 hours long and you're not allowed to leave.

This menagerie of movies is appropriately known as the "Butt-numb-a-thon" (or simply "BNAT" for the abbreviatorilly proficient). This year, Media Morgue managed to get a first-hand look at the craziness as it unfolded. Our own occasional correspondent Nefertari got picked to attend and has provided us with a lengthy analysis of all the films that were seen. Some are silly. Some are exciting and some haven't been released yet.

Read on.


This past weekend was the 10th year of Harry Knowles’ famous Butt-numb-a-thon. I and my husband, for the first time applied and were accepted to BNAT. We arrived at the Alamo Drafthouse at 10:30am to sign in and pick up our goodie bags. My excitement quickly turned to panic after looking at my seat assignment and noticing that my husband and I had the same seat. Please tell me they didn’t expect us to share a seat for 24 hours, which will just not do! The hubby went to check on it. Turns out it was typo since the seats were added to the theater. That’s right; I sat in a fold chair for twenty four fucking hours! No one can say I’m not hardcore!

Harry rolls in and starts BNAT X by introducing a “big star,” the one and only teen wolf. That was pretty funny. There apparently is some long inside joke about some kid, who goes to these, loves Teen Wolf. So we started watching the movie and about after two minutes, the film started freaking out and we all watched it burn. I actually wanted to see it, so I was a little sad. It was all a big joke on this one kid. Meh.

The real movie that kicked off BNAT was Viva Villa from 1934 with Wallace Berry and Fay Ray. I’d never seen this movie and truly enjoyed it. I thought it was pretty funny! To be honest though, I was having a hard time figuring out which character Fay Ray was playing. I mean I only remember Fay’s super blond hair and all the chicks in this movie had dark hair (for obvious reasons).

Next, we all got to enjoy The Curious Cast of Benjamin Button. I was hoping we would get to see this movie. It was absolutely beautiful! Everyone did an amazing job. Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchet gave some award winning performances. There was whole lot of prosthetic make-up during this movie, and only once did it look sub-par. At one part in the story, the audience received a shot of vodka and caviar to enjoy along with a particular scene. I’m not a big fan of either, but I tried it. It was a pretty cool moment though. I don’t want to give anything away since it’s coming out this Christmas, but it’s a beautiful story, brilliantly told. Yes, I cried.

Brilliantly matched with Benjamin, was 25 minutes of a 3D animated movie called Coraline. I have never heard about this film, but I can’t freakin’ wait till it comes out. This movie is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. I think my mouth was hanging open during twenty out of the twenty-five minutes. The look and story is creepy and pretty all in one. It’s kind of the opposite of Tim Burton. He makes the gothic look fairy tale-ish where this was perfect fairy tale with gothic evil ready to burst out.

Harry set up the next two movies as a “double-feature:” Sahara with Humphrey Bogart and then Valkyrie with Tom Cruise. I enjoyed both. I’d never seen Sahara and thought it was great. I don’t know why there was an another movie named Sahara recently. They have nothing in common. Also, I had no expectations for Valkyrie. I mean Tom Cruise in an eye patch, whatever. Plus we all know how it ends! There were a lot of great actors in this film though. Bill Nighy is always amazing. It was a bit strange that no one used German accents, but oh well.

Up next was 45 minutes of Pixar’s Up. Pardon the pun. Two guys from Pixar showed up to present it. This movie will be the first 3D movie for Pixar. The clip that we watched wasn’t all finished. Some of it was complete, some of it was un-rendered animation, and a tiny part of it was black and white story boards. I was happy to see any of it. The hubby was sad that we saw only forty-five minutes of it. To him, he knew it was going to be great and of course we were going to see this movie. And he’s right. Just seeing the trailer, I thought the movie looked amazing and couldn’t wait to see it. From the trailer, I didn’t know where the movie was going, story wise, but now I know. Again, I’m not going to ruin anything, but it’s a beautiful story. I’m a little surprised how far Pixar is going with the depressing beginning. This is a must see. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

Back to the vintage movies, Harry played Metropolis with the 80s soundtrack. I was freakin’ ecstatic about this movie. Metropolis is one of my favorite movies of all time. The first time I saw this movie, I got to enjoy it with the ridiculously amazing 80s soundtrack. In my opinion, it’s the only way to see Metropolis. I mean, of course you need to see it with the original score, but just once, enjoy it with this.

Putting those 3D glasses back on, we all got to see two clips from Monsters Vs. Aliens equally about fifteen minutes. Looks good, but we all knew that from the trailer. The 3D is okay, but seems a bit gimmicky. It’s hard to compete with the 3D from Coraline. That made you feel like you were more in the world with the occasional thing coming out at you. Yeah, I’ll go see it. Pixar is still kicking your butt. Oh yeah, the director was there. Conrad something who did Shrek 2, woo…

Harry was on a 3D kick since he got contacts. Finally he can enjoy 3D like all of you stupid non-glasses wearing losers. I on the other hand, put them right over my fancy red sparkly glasses, and dealt with it. The final 3D movie was My Bloody Valentine. We were the very first audience to see it, ever. Jamie King and some other no bodies star in it. Jamie King, some other chick and the director showed up. Props to Jamie though because she had watched everything else with us up until that point. Why am I not talking about the movie? Well, it’s a freaking typical slasher movie. It’s cool that it’s in 3D, but other than that, nothing too special about it. One part did make me scream, so that’s cool.

I Love You Man, was the next movie. Starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segal. I absolutely LOVE LOVE Jason Segal. It also had Rashida Jones formerly from The Office. This was such a cute movie. The premise is this: Paul Rudd is engaged to Rashida. Paul has no friends. The fiancĂ© is concerned, so Paul starts going on man dates. It’s as cute and funny as it sounds. This was probably the last great moment of the night. It’s all down hill from here.

Sam Fuller’s White Dog was up. What a vintage piece of crap. Seriously, the fact that Harry thought it was “actually really good,” makes me question his movie taste. I think it was about two or three in the morning. Everyone’s energy was waning and this was the WORST decision made by Harry. There should have been something to really wake us up. I myself dozed just a bit until the hubby woke me up and ordered me a red bull. As I was coming back from the rest room, I noticed 3/4ths of the theatre was sleeping too. Again, major fail.

Next was two clips of Push, starring “punk” Dakota Fanning and the flame kid from Fantastic Four. Basically someone saw that Heroes was doing well two years ago and decided to make a movie version. Guess they didn’t anticipate that Heroes would eventually blow, and anything similar to it just seems majorly lame.

Then there were two clips of Nicholas Cage’s Knowing. Boring. I don’t even remember what this is about. All I know is that Nic cage is really old and his hair plugs freak me out. It’s time for him to start playing the grandpa, not the leading action hero. Final word: Meh.

Once again, there was another clip of an unfinished movie and not a full film. This time it was Seth Rogan’s Observe and Report. Basically Rogan is a crappy mall cop who wants to see some real action. Guess what, he gets to see some action, but the real cops want to take over. All we saw was about an eight minute trailer. Looks like typical funny Rogan. Probably a renter though.

Then McG himself came up on stage to introduce a clip of Terminator Salvation. McG is a hoot! I love that guy. He of course wanted to bring the whole film since they have a cut, but pointed out the studio chick (who came with him) who wouldn’t let him bring the whole film. All I have to say is that I wasn’t really interested in it, but it looks really good. I’m also impressed that Christian Bale said he wouldn’t do it until they really worked on the characters and the script. I mean it would be nice for them to not just think about how awesome the action scenes could look. Way to go Bale.

The Watchmen was next. I couldn’t freakin’ believe we only got to see twenty two minutes. You might as well not show anything. Ten of those minutes were just the open credits. I’m not going to say anything about this. There was nothing to see! I have no idea what’s going on and I’m pissed I just have to re-watch the first twenty-two minutes again. Jackie something was there who played the guy with the ink blotted mask. That effect looked really good. Oh, and everyone thought this movie was finished. Guess what, it’s not.

The last thing of the night was Che. What a piece of shit. I’m sorry, but I have to say that. Yes, I was pissed that this stupid thing was wrapping up BNAT. Four fucking hours of subtitles is the WORST idea ever. Harry Knowles, epic fail, sir. This was basically two different movies about Che Guevara, played by Benico Del Torro. I understand that Harry started this thing with a revolution movie and ended with a revolution movie, but come on! Really? Wow. I’m feeling that early morning, I’ve been up for twenty-four hours anger all over again.

All in all, BNAT was fun, but the first half of the schedule was WAY better than the second half. It was an experience that I wanted to do just once. Now I’m good to go. Not really necessary to do it again.

1 comment:

John Estrada said...

That's too bad you didn't like Che, I'm looking forward to seeing it. Usually, BNAT end movies are always draining or hard to get through. Very surprised they had you in the folding chair, hardcore indeed. I don't know if my precious cheeks could have handled that. And usually the movie at 2-3 am is just terrible, and usually royally fucked up. A way to usually mess with the crowd. So cool you got to go!


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