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Bat for Lashes in their element
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SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW 'Wicked Witch of the West'
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Al Green at Tulalip Casino - 'Age is but a number'
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Seattle Storm, Choices, and OutDancing at Century Ballroom
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Stay Up Late Show moves to prime time
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Sexuality and Socialism a complex look at Gay history
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World's Greatest Dad charmingly dark
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Twisted Flicks creates unique cinema with a twist
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COMING IN SEPTEMBER: Pink, Pet Shop Boys, and Seattle's own Pearl Jam
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Q-Scopes by Jack Fertig
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Ledisi headlining at Seattle's Benaroya
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Drama at home during 'monkey month'
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Deep Inside Hollywood - Romeo San Vicente
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Book Marks
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World's Greatest Dad charmingly dark
by Scott Rice - SGN Contributing Writer

World's Greatest Dad
Now Playing


Humans love labels. We like to know what things are. We like everything to fit into a prescribed box with a tidy label. Movies are no exception.

There are action flicks, dramas, dramedies, comedies, costume dramas, horror movies, sci-fi films, suspense thrillers, and black comedies. Hollywood is usually heavily invested in making certain you know exactly what you're watching. Hollywood knows we like boxes.

In spite of the fact that this is a good movie, our desire for movies to fit into a prescribed genre is just one reason why World's Greatest Dad is a tough film to love. It simply refuses to fit into a box.

Though it may be dramedy, dark comic drama, or black comedy, World's Greatest Dad starts out looking like any number of Robin Williams vehicles. It even reminded me of a low-rent version of Dead Poets Society for the first 20 minutes. But then it takes a charmingly dark turn.

Lance Clayton (Williams) is a frustrated writer and single dad making a living by teaching high school while he collects rejection letters. His son Kyle (Daryl Sabara) is a knuckle-dragging little jerk with a penchant for autoerotic asphyxiation.

About 20 minutes in, Kyle dies and the fun begins. Lance fakes a book of Kyle's writing and suddenly Kyle is posthumously turned into a misunderstood teenaged martyr complete with his own line of T-shirts.

The movie is more complicated than my woefully inadequate synopsis. Trust me, it will be more fun if you go see the movie and fill in the gaps yourself. However, I will tell you this film is about how humans create affirmation for themselves. It's also about the pitfalls of ethics and rehabbing the dead. It's about doing things for complicated reasons that seem altruistic and selfish at the same time. It's about how our actions and intentions rarely fit into a prescribed box with an easy label.

Williams is pleasantly restrained as the everyman who's given up on fame and fortune. I often forget that he can act if he gets some honest direction. The other adult actors are stuck with flat, stereotypical characters whose central purposes are allegorical - sort of. You have the pretty girlfriend who's waiting on a better deal. You have the intelligent jock who has it all, including a shot at being the better deal. These aren't really characters so much as stand-ins for what makes us tick: jealousy and desire.

It's the kids who shine in the acting department. Sabara is terrific as the oafish lump with a dirty mind and a nasty mouth. The role is thankless, but Sabara owns it from the start. And just when you're thinking you wish he'd die, he does.

A couple of other youngsters give standout performances, as well. Evan Martin plays Andrew, Kyle's best friend. He's perfect as the awkward teen who'll do anything to keep from going home to his alcoholic mother. It's never stated overtly, but I somehow felt that Andrew was more interested in Lance as an alternative father figure than Kyle as a friend and Martin makes that happen with sophisticated subtlety.

Lorraine Nicholson (yes, she's Jack's daughter) proves that acting can be genetic as she steals scenes playing a goth girl who falls for a dead boy. Though every goth girl worth her salt falls for a dead boy at some point, Nicholson escapes the quicksand that often mires actors portraying such stereotypical characters.

Bobcat Goldthwait is quickly becoming the Terrence Malick of black comedy: World's Greatest Dad, his second feature film, comes 18 years after his directorial debut, Shakes the Clown, a film I have loved from the start. While Shakes the Clown never lets you forget it's a black comedy, World's Greatest Dad tries to deny it at every turn. In the end, World's Greatest Dad is, though tinged with moments of high drama, most assuredly a black comedy - and a good one at that.


Twisted Flicks creates unique cinema with a twist
by James Whitely - SGN Contributing Writer

There is nothing quite like Twisted Flicks, the improvised movie night put on by the local improvisational acting nonprofit, Wing-It Productions. On the last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of every month, the crew of Twisted Flicks shows a classic and often cheesy sci-fi movie without its original soundtrack. All of the dialog, music, and sound effects are improvised live by a team of improvisers, based on suggestions from the audience.

So, how does something like this work?

Before the show, the improvisers move through the audience asking questions and taking suggestions. The director then introduces himself while the actors discuss how they will take the suggestions of the audience and integrate them into their characters. The team then introduces their characters and how they will utilize the chosen suggestions. Often the most unique suggestions are chosen.

The audience is then asked to make up the first, middle, and last line of the movie and the flick begins. The music soundtrack is also improvised live by the talented Rob Scherzer.

The director, Mike Christensen, has been twisting flicks since the movie night's conception 11 years ago. He's directed the project the entire time. Christensen speculates that Twisted Flicks has twisted nearly 100 different films since the beginning,

Such classics as: Attack of the Puppet People, The Brain from Planet Arous, War of the Worlds, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Bruce Li. Vs. Ninja, Revenge of the Creature, The Deadly Mantis, and The Alligator People have all been twisted by the talented crew of entertainers. Even James Bond has made an appearance in Twisted Flicks in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

The movies that Twisted Flicks does are, according to Christensen, about 90% sci-fi. "We look for movies with a fairly ridiculous premise, ones that take themselves very seriously and have a variety of characters, which we can have a lot of fun with," Christensen said.

But some movies, however ridiculous are just too bad technically for Twisted Flicks to do.

Christensen is happy to take movie suggestions for future flicks as well. "We're looking for a good western, war movies, spy thrillers, or Seattle movies," he said.

It's always a surprise at Twisted Flicks. This month's flick is It! The Terror From Beyond Space, an old black-and-white B movie playing September 24, 25, and 26. According to Christensen, "It's the 1958 inspiration for Ridley Scott's Alien."

Twisted Flicks is put on at Seattle's Historic University Theater at 5510 University Way NE. Popcorn, snacks, beer, and cocktails are always available. The doors open at 7:30 and the show begins at 8:00. Admission is $10 with $1 off if you bring a can or box of food to be donated to Northwest Harvest. For more information, visit twistedflicks.com.









 
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