Thursday, January 10, 2008

Rico at the Ritz

I'm a huge fan of Napoleon Dynamite, the 2004 movie directed by Jared Hess that launched the career of Jon Heder. I think it's unbelievably original, hilariously funny, and perfectly captures the realities of teenage angst and awkwardness. In fact, I think the film can be used to judge a person's character, and if you didn't like the movie, "I wish you would just get out of my life and shut up."

Anyway, Jon Gries, who played Napoleon's "Uncle Rico," made an appearance at Alamo Drafthouse before the movie started last night. He graciously answered a few questions and put to rest the rumor that he is a vegetarian, thus squelching the much-circulated explanation for why Rico can be seen spitting out his steak into a napkin, seconds before pelting Napoleon with Kip's steak. It turns out that the steak was simply "horrid." Gries also mentioned that the clothes Rico wore were indeed real, polyester, and came from Salt Lake City. That explains so much! And remember the scene where Rico and Kip have badges made to look "official" as they peddle their plastic bowls? Well, there was a fly buzzing around the set, and it flew by Rico in time for him to react in a funny way, so the footage was kept.

Overall, I was a little disappointed that Gries didn't stay for very long. He had another engagement in the theater across the hall, where some viewers paid $60 a pop (Lucky!) to enjoy a feast of Tina Quesadillas, Delicious Bass, Onion Soup, and Steak Facials. Those of us in the cheap seats did get little baggies of tater tots, perfectly timed to be passed out as the "Gimme all your tots!" scene appeared on screen. It was fun to see the movie again, especially at the Ritz, the new location for the Drafthouse downtown.

On a side note, as we waited to enter the theater, a huge crowd of what can only be described as the most awkward and nerdy-looking adults I've ever encountered in my life (and I've been to a Linux conference with my husband before) poured out of the auditorium, along with the overwhelming scent of movie popcorn. Shortly after that, we learned that they were astrophysicists in town for a conference, and they'd been treated to a screening of Real Genius, complete with a deluge of popcorn that filled the theater.

Only in Austin!