February 28, 2011

DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE @ Toronto Underground Cinema

Who will stand up for the criticized, the panned, and the hated? Which movie critics are brave enough to DEFEND THE INDEFENSIBLE?

Starting March 4th, The Toronto Underground Cinema will be host to an exciting, new monthly film series: DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE. The series is a monthly examination of overlooked, panned, and shunned films defended by local film scholars, writers, and bloggers. Every Friday night, the DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE film series will pair an emcee and critic to screen and then interrogate and defend films considered contentious by the critical and genre-fan community.

As a blogger and film reviewer, I find myself from time to time coming to passionate defense of films that others have panned (for example: see my long-standing disagreement with Mail Order Zombie host Brother D about the merits of Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror). That's why I'm very excited about seeing DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE at the Toronto Underground Cinema.
This Friday, DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE debuts with a Double Bill:
March 4th: Special Series Opening Double Bill ($15 double bill)

LOCATION: Toronto Underground Cinema (186 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, Ontario)

7pm: Alien Resurrection, Defended by Norman Wilner (Now, MSN). Hosted by John Semley (Torontoist, amongst others)

9:30pm: Freddy Got Fingered, Defended by John Semley. Hosted by Norman Wilner

 If you're a film fan, critic, or just a fan of movie debate and the enduring struggle of the underdog, come out and enjoy DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE.

Full press release and details after the jump


Andrew Parker and Toronto Underground Cinema proudly present the DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE film series starting MARCH 4, 2011.
Film criticism is a strange business these days.  In years prior to the rise of the Internet, it seemed like only a select few knowledgeable film critics held sway over the fickle viewing public. Now, it seems as if everyone is entitled to voicing their opinions no matter how strange or unpopular they might be. These conversations have lead to more heated arguments about films that in many cases, might not even be worth talking about. Even the most marginal of films can inspire passionate arguments amongst defenders and detractors. With that in mind Toronto blogger Andrew Parker devised the idea for the DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE film series: a monthly exploration of films that time has either been unkind to or overlooked (or possibly should never be seen again) hosted by local film scholars, writers, and bloggers and designed to better educate the public that film criticism still matters even at it’s silliest.

After lengthy correspondence with several local film writers and various local film buffs, Andrew cultivated a list of suggestions of films that were liked by very few, but could be defended by one singular person very well. From this new list of films Andrew went back to the same writers and asked which of the films the other writers hated the most. Each screening will have a pair of local critics squaring off one on one in a discussion of some of the most divisive films in recent memory.

How it works:

-The evening will be hosted by an emcee that cannot stand the film screening that evening. This person will come on stage first to explain just why the film the audience is about to see is terrible and why the evening’s main presenter is wrong to defend it. This is all in good-natured fun and it will be dealt with in both a humourous and analytical fashion. The evenings should be thought of as a film school version of Fight Club crossed with the bravado of a professional wrestling match with a dash of old school Siskel and Ebert.

-Following the introduction by the evening’s host, our defender will take the stage and explain why the film about to be screened is a good film. This is an uphill battle not only because they are following someone who just blasted the movie about to be screened, but also because simply saying a film is entertaining is not a good explanation. All defenses must be grounded in some sort of close viewing of the film or in some sort of film theory. All defenses must be based somewhat in fact and no one can coast on the entertainment value of a film alone.

-The film will then be screened (in 35mm whenever possible and applicable) and following the film, the emcee and defender will once again take the stage for a brief recap of their arguments before turning over questioning to the audience that just viewed the film. For one of the first times ever in a public forum, a film writer will have to defend an unpopular viewpoint to the very public they have been writing for in the first place. Knowing that some people do not want to sit through these films for a second time, a special offer will be made to those who want to join in the discussion to come in after the film has screened to ask questions for a reduced admission price of $2 (all of which will be given to charity).

DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE will be held once a month (on Fridays) at the TORONTO UNDERGROUND CINEMA(186 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, Ontario). Admission is $10 per screening with a portion of the proceeds to go to charities agreed upon by the evening’s emcee and defender. Much like Celebrity Jeopardy these people have been gracious enough to donate their time and energy for some truly great causes. People wishing to join the discussion, but not watch the film will be admitted at the end of the film for $2 to join in the Q&A session, all of which will be donated to the charities being represented that evening. All tickets available at the door with no advanced ticketing. Some films will also include special guests involved with the making of the films being screened and some screenings will also include bonus auctions for various charities.

(Films to be shown on 35mm when available. Films and Guests are subject to change.)
March 4th: Special Series Opening Double Bill ($15 double bill)
7pm: Alien Resurrection, Defended by Norman Wilner (NowMSN). Hosted by John Semley (Torontoist, amongst others)

9:30pm: Freddy Got Fingered, Defended by John Semley. Hosted by Norman Wilner

April 1st: Special April Fool’s Day Critic Battle Royale

7pm MacGruber, Featuring Will Sloan (The Varsity, Exclaim), Adam Nayman (Eye Weekly), Norman Wilner, and many more. Special guests and prizes!

April 15th: One of Our Own Night

7pm Speed Racer Defended by Toronto Underground Cinema’s Animation Series coordinator Peter Kuplowsky. Hosted by Adam Nayman

May 20th: The Tag Team Title Match

7pm Observe and Report Defended by Will Sloan and series creator Andrew Parker. Hosted by John Semley and Adam Nayman

June 24th: Ashton Kutcher Appreciation Night

7pm The Butterfly Effect Defended by Adam Nayman. Hosted by Norman Wilner

July 29th:  The Series Organizers Face/Off (Special Double Bill with guests TBA)

7pm Equilibrium Defended by Sasha James (The Final Girl Project). Hosted by Andrew Parker

9:30pm Jennifer’s Body Defended by Andrew Parker. Hosted by Sasha James

August TBD

Special blogger hosted and defended evenings with various guests and films still to be determined

There will be no September screenings due to TIFF.

October TBD: Horror Sequels That (Don’t?) Suck presented by Brian McKechnie (CityTV, Criticize This!)

7pm:  Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives!
9:30pm: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare
Please send any questions, comments, press inquiries,ticket and interview requests, or requests to get involved to indefensiblemovieseries@gmail.com.