Sunday, June 03, 2007

BIFF #1 - Cashback on the Eastside

Well kids, at long last I have been initiated into the world of SIFF. How could I resist when the festival has come to Bellevue - my own backyard?! Ever since my first attempt to attend the festival was thwarted by a random stomach virus that left me with my head in the toilet for the next 12 hours, I've been nervous about the whole thing. Is SIFF to me the movie-going equivalent of syrup of ipecac? Say it isn't so! Thankfully, the whole affair came off without a hitch (save for some confusion at the ticket booth on Thursday).

I must admit: I'm officially hooked.

First my movie buddies and I headed over to the Bellevue Square McDonald's for a little pre-movie treat. As always, I ordered up a girl's Happy Meal, because really, if you're going to give yourself a coronary blockage with all that grease, you're going to want a toy to decorate your hospital room. The boy at the counter interviewed me extensively about the number of McNuggets I would like and the type of beverage I would prefer, but he froze up when I asked what the toy was. I was asking for my movie buddy behind me, who wanted to buy one separately, but he just gestured at a McDonald's bag that was already sitting on the counter.

"Is it a little Shrek guy?" I asked, assuming that the wall-to-wall pictures of Shrek were a good indication.

"No." he replied stone-faced.

Then a girl brought my meal in a Donkey box, with a baby Donkey toy inside - of course. (Note to McDonald's employees: The answer to the question, "Is the Happy Meal toy a little Shrek guy?" is yes. You lost a sale not knowing that one.) I immediately noticed a little speaker on his hindquarters and a switch between his front legs, so I flipped it on, thinking he'd make some sort of noise. Silence. We all thought he was broken, but the instructions revealed that you also have to squeeze his wings together to get him to talk. Hah! I think I've found my new dream job! I used to want to name Cabbage Patch Kids for Coleco, but now I want to be a toy designer at the Happy Meal factory! Can you imagine the proposals for some of these things? All those vestigial buttons that amount to nothing? Sign me up!

We headed over to the movie with about 45 minutes to spare, and already the line was snaking down three flights of stairs. See, Eastsiders love festivals too! If you've never been to Lincoln Square Cinemas, it is truly a sight to behold. The lobby is enormous, and looks more like a flashy Vegas casino than your typical cineplex.

We were shooed into the largest auditorium, and picked out our cushy leather (pleather?) seats. It's first class all the way, though I have no idea when people were supposed to check out the SIFF merchandise, as it had disappeared by the time the movie got out. As if you're going to give up a seat once you've found it or dilly-dally before scoring one. Weird.

But onto the movie itself. Cashback (6/8) is a UK film starring Simon Biggerstaff as Ben, a heartbroken young man who develops a severe case of insomnia after breaking up with his girlfriend. With 8 extra hours to kill every night, he takes a job at a local grocery store where he develops the ability to freeze time. Now, you would think the movie would focus on the time-freezing business, but it is essentially a thoughtful, heartfelt romantic comedy.

The first pleasant surprise is that Simon Biggerstaff is actually Oliver Wood from the Harry Potter movies...The same Oliver Wood who prompted my friend to say, "You know, I feel kind of dirty even saying this, but didn't you think Oliver Wood was cute?" And then I felt a little dirty, because of course I'd noticed that Oliver and his long, dark eyelashes were cute. It's not our fault he was only eighteen!

Cashback finds Simon looking far more legal, and features a nice blend of quirky characters, British wit, and romance. There is also a European amount of nudity in the film, but it's generally presented in a completely non-sexual and inoffensive way. Ben is an artist, and views all forms of the female body as beautiful. All in all, it's quite enjoyable. If you have a chance to catch it at the Neptune on Tuesday - go for it!

I picked up another SIFF guide on my way out, thinking maybe I should add a few movies to my itinerary now that I know how much fun the fest can be. Imagine my horror when I got home and discovered The Man in the Chair playing on Monday afternoon and starring CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER! How could I have missed that? How could my friends (who always point me toward my favorite people) have missed that? Seriously, how many people have an autographed picture of him on their nightstand? Do I need to take my fandom up a notch? Perhaps have a bumper sticker made saying "I Brake For Christopher Plummer" so people can hang their heads out their car windows and tell me when to stop?

I fell into a funk upon realizing that I'd have to get off work, get tickets, and rearrange my Monday evening plans all within 24 hours if I hoped to make the movie, then gave up. I thought about killing myself, but figured I'd get out even less if I'm dead. Next time Christopher, I promise!


Linda said...

OHMYGOSH... Eileen told me last night about the Christopher Plummer movie, and how you JUST found out about it, and how Group Happy Hour at Ruth's Chris was already planned. Sorry about that, but we can toast Chris tonight with Happy Hour cosmos in honor of his film that will be playing at THAT VERY MOMENT. (Sorry to rub it in... but it IS kinda funny!)

Jennifer said...

Aww, he would like that. He's always mentioning how much fun he had during his drinking days...Besides, everything is funny after a few cosmos.

Greg Dunlap said...

Don't worry about missing Man In The Chair, it was absolutely terrible. The most generic, uninspired, trite, contrived garbage I've seen in the entire festival. Although admittedly, the only pleasure from it was watching Plummer and Emmit Walsh chew the scenery.

Vickie said...

Welcome to the world of film-festival addiction. :-)

Jennifer said...

Thanks Greg! Sounds like it's a good thing I didn't slit my wrists over that one. I feel much better :-)