I don’t even know where to start.
Well, it was a screening of three movies, so how about we start with three different writers telling you how their night was at this amazingly special event?
A few weeks before the event, I was made aware of a special Alamo Drafthouse screening of The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy (also known as the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy or the Cornetto Trilogy – which gets its name from the appearance of Cornetto ice cream in each of the three films). But was I lucky enough to be a part of it? Not at first, but one afternoon my Buddy AV let me know via Instant messenger that he got me a ticket. OK I was in! Well, not exactly.
That’s where the fun began. The closer we got to the date of the screening I was told that we needed to show up the morning of the triple screening to the New Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline theater and wait in a line.
I arrived at 7:30 AM after exchanging a few text messages with friends saying that the line was growing and I better hurry up and get there. I drove my white beast of a truck at record speeds across town to get in line. As I pulled up I was greeted with a depressing snake of a line that wasn’t even supposed to exist but I climbed out of my truck into the grey Austin skies and ran over to the end and plopped myself down as I scanned for familiar faces, hoping my buddy had made it earlier and got in line. Unfortunately he was too much like me and also showed up a few minutes late, putting him at the end of a very long-ass line.
Despite the length it was a great time waiting and touching base with like-minded friends I hadn’t seen since the last event.
It was a long six hours but completely worth it. It was a great opportunity to see all three films back to back. Tim League entered the spotlight with Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in person for a fun Q&A. I was able to take some great shots of Edger, Simon and Nick.
Wow, what a crazy Saturday. My day began by getting up at 6:20 in the morning and scrambling to drive to the Drafthouse, but then I heard bad news from my friend Chris who was in line already: The line was full-up. Thankfully Chris had one extra ticket he was getting which I accepted. And boy was I lucky.
I loaded up my car with a Martin Ansin Scott Pilgrim print to have Edgar sign and arrived to the Drafthouse at 2:00 to find a small crowd gathered inside. Lines are a thing of the past now that all seats are reserved ahead of time at the Drafthouse. It makes for more opportunities to walk around and talk to others. I spotted Justin Ishmael and the whole Mondo crew, but I just kind of figured they were there to have a good time.
Eventually we were lead to the theater where I was blown away. We had leather seats, small tables (so you don’t have to duck under a railing to leave your seat), and true stadium seating. I did not see a bad seat in the house; you could see the screen from any seat just perfectly. After we got seated and the movies started showing, I noticed the wait staff was dressed up in theme with the movies. Our waitress was dressed up as a zombie for Shaun of the Dead and a police officer for Hot Fuzz. I didn’t see her at all during The World’s End. Maybe she was watching the movie, too? If so, lucky her, because The World’s End was amazing. You will want to see that movie.
We watched all three films starting from Shaun of the Dead and ending with The World’s End. Tim League went up and talked about each movie before they began. He was definitely super pumped about each movie.
Edgar Wright didn’t show up until after The World’s End, but he brought two other guests – Simon Pegg and Nick Frost – for a special Q&A session on stage. Whoa! Nick Frost was wearing a UT football jersey, and Simon Pegg was wearing a crazy cowboy outfit, so they were definitely rocking it in a theme of their own – Texas!
The Q&A went on for some time, and then we heard the announcement about a mofo’n Tyler Stout poster! The crowd went wild. People were screaming. Okay, maybe it wasn’t like that, but I was amazed. Then…the projector did not show the poster on screen. We had to watch a really crazy music video first that gave me a huge headache. It was a Cornetto Trilogy music video that used different sounds from the movie to make music. Oh, boy.
After that weird music video, we finally got to see the Tyler Stout poster, and it was as amazing as I imagined it would be. As an added bonus, they were all signed by the cast. But wait, what about the Ansin Scott Pilgrim print I brought to have signed? Yeah, I couldn’t get it signed. Edgar, Scott, and Nick left as soon as they arrived. That is just a super minor complaint, but in the grand scheme of things, I am totally thankful to have this opportunity to go to such a historical event and have such a sweet souvenir.
This was an event that I simply could not miss. There’s so much history that is tied in with myself, my son, and these amazing films that it’s almost impossible to separate my personal life from them. Let me start from the beginning…
In April of 2004, I set off to watch a double feature at the Malco Studio on the Square theater in Memphis, TN with my beautiful wife. The first movie we were set to watch was Garden State, followed by a film that was sold to me by many amazing reviews I had read on AICN. I decided I wanted to go into this film blind, and I am so thankful I did as it was a film experience of which I had never encountered before. Edgar Wright’s ability to go from laugh-out-loud scenes to absolutely horrific and heart-breaking scenes of terror and violence left me utterly floored. I immediately fell in love with Shaun of the Dead and the characters that inhabited it.
A few month later I was able to introduce my son Logan (who was almost ten at the time) to the film. I have never more enjoyed watching his reaction to a film of which I consider to be of the highest caliber. He had the same immediate reaction that I did, and I knew that this was going to be that special film that bonded us forever unlike any other film; none since have even been able to come close.
Logan would go on to be Shaun for the next four consecutive Halloweens.
On March 1st, 2007, I was lucky enough to attend Hot Fuzztival at the original Alamo Drafthouse with my son (who was then just close to finishing the sixth grade), and my best friend. That would be the first and last time I ever attended that theater, as the original Alamo Drafthouse would close within a month making way for the newer, more plush, Alamo Ritz located just a few blocks away. I had read so much about the Alamo Drafthouse over the years on AICN, and to this day still feel so fortunate I got to participate in the best film experience of my life at the original location of the greatest theater known to mankind.
The Fuzztival was conceived by Wright and was to be a five-film marathon, the first four being classic cop films handpicked by Wright, followed by the Austin debut of Hot Fuzz. The day started with Electric Glide in Blue, followed by Super Cop 2, Sudden Impact, and Freebie and the Bean. The real stand out for me was Freebie and the Bean, and I recall Edgar thinking twice about bringing it as part of him worried it might actually upstage the film he had brought to debut at the sold-out theater. F&TB is a classic and a film I would encourage any true film buff to put at the top of their must-see list!
After almost nine hours of food, drink, and classic cop films, it was time to settle in and watch the film we were so anxiously awaiting. Could Wright, Pegg, and Frost recapture the magic they had with SOTD, or was this to be one of those unfortunate stories where a director peaked with his directorial debut, never able again to live up to the promise he showed early on in his career?
As any of you who have seen Hot Fuzz already know, these guys are no one-trick ponies. Hot Fuzz killed, and as the credits finished rolling and the lights came up, Edgar, Simon, and Nick were introduced to an uproarious standing ovation. Everyone in the theater that night knew one thing for sure, these guys were the real deal and the potential surrounding them as creative collaborators was limitless.
That day in particular was an extremely important and life altering event for me for a completely different reason unrelated to the films of Edgar Wright. It was the day I picked up a screen print to commemorate the best film experience I had ever had in a theater. It was signed by the trio, and immediately hung in a frame as soon as I got home.
Days after the event, I found myself just drawn to this amazing poster and found myself Googling some unknown artist by the name of Tyler Stout so I could drop him and e-mail and express what a fan I was of his work. Six years and forty prints later, I consider myself to be one of his biggest fans and found a good friend in the process. I started the Tyler Stout Fan Page on Facebook, have met and made many great friends through that, and have been given the opportunity to help others through charitable contributions performed in conjunction with the fan page and Tyler. All of this was spawned by one fateful day spent in a theater filled with fellow fans of film, a day that has impacted my life in innumerable, positive ways.
Fast forward 505 days and Logan and I found ourselves at the Alamo Ritz, our first time back in Austin since the Fuzztival, for an epic marathon screening of Spaced with Simon and Edgar in attendance. It was held on July 28th, and I was able to add to my Tyler Stout collection in the process by picking up his Spaced print, as well as his “Heroes of the Alamo” print from a little side store that Mondo had setup at the Ritz at the time. This event was slightly trickier to attend as it was invite only via a contest held by Harry Knowles. Basically Harry would be hand picking people based on e-mails he received from them explaining why they deserved to be there. I wrote Harry an impassioned emailed. I sent pictures of Logan from various Halloweens. I sent pictures of us at the Hot Fuzztival. I wanted so much to be there, but I would not allow my hopes to get up as this surely must be a waste of time; Harry would never really read all of the emails he was sure to receive. Then I read THIS! I love how my name was second to last on the list. Way to really make me sweat it out Harry!
Another brilliant day, second only to that of the Fuzztival just a year and a half earlier. I felt blessed beyond words. I was able to acquire theatrical prints of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead (not easy at all to come by) before making the trip, and was fortunate enough that Edgar and Simon were signing after the show. My son’s room was essentially becoming a shrine to the films of these three gentleman that most people haven’t even heard of. To us though, they were cinematic icons we felt fortunate enough to have even the slightest connection with. All three talked to us, shook our hands, and signed my sons SOTD graphic novel at the Fuzztival. They were good people. You just knew it, and felt honored to be a part of their small little fan base before the word broke on what extreme talents these guys were, which somehow, amazingly, the world had not yet picked up on.
After Hot Fuzz came out, rumors started to trickle about a trilogy called the Cornetto Trilogy, aka The Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy. Words can’t even describe how excited we were at the prospect of this. Logan and I would discuss how amazing it would be to make one more trip to Austin to see the debut of this third film. I knew in my heart the odds were slim to none of this ever happening, but I would never let him know that’s what I was thinking.
It was six-and-a-half years from the time we saw Hot Fuzz to when the Austin debut screening of The World’s End was announced. Let me tell you, a lot has changed in six-and-a-half years.
Six years ago, Mondo wasn’t known outside of Austin. Six years ago, Tyler Stout wasn’t a name most poster collectors were even aware of. Six years ago, you could easily buy tickets to a big screening when they dropped online.
Today Mondo is a name recognized all over the country and has countless fans. Tyler Stout is arguably one of the top five biggest names when it comes to artists that create alternative film and gig prints. It’s near impossible to get tickets for any big event screening without either some inside help or a lot of luck. As the old saying goes, “Man, I sure do miss the old days.”
It’s because of all of the reasons mentioned above that I never realistically thought I would be able to land tickets to a premiere screening of The World’s End in Austin. All I can say is that the stars lined up perfectly and everything fell into place. I won’t bore you with the story of how I got the tickets, or how long I had to wait in line. What I will tell you is that I honestly believe it was just meant to be. I wouldn’t have died had we not been able to go, but there definitely would have been an empty feeling moving forward, like the story of my life had a blank page in it somewhere that never got filled out.
Thankfully it never came to that. With my son going in to his senior year, I definitely feel like there’s some closure to this grand adventure we’ve been lucky enough to be able to go on. At the end of the day, despite the cool posters, amazing films, and wonderful atmosphere, it was always about getting to share something very cool and very unique with my son. I know that this has meant every bit to him as it has for me. Seeing the huge smile on his face as he got to watch Shaun of the Dead for the first time on the big screen, just priceless. It will be hard to ever try and top the experience we have shared together with this trilogy, but you can bet your ass I am going to do my best to try!