A Night At the Thee-Ah-Tah: UHF at the Enzian

I got a notice in my inbox that the Enzian would be playing UHF for free, and since I was broke as shit, it fit my budget perfectly! I invited a friend and we met up for the movie.

[The Enzian did not pay me to write this entry, I just love going there and have for years, and wanted to spread the word!]

Not much of a review today, mostly a ramble due to heightened mental/physical activity this week.

Wednesday happened, as it always did. The usual ‘hump day’ jokes were going to be made, the Administrative Assistant was going to send out a humorous email reminding people to get their FedEx packages organized, and the week would begin its coast toward weekend.

Not Pictured: Joie de Vivre
Not Pictured: Joie de Vivre

So when I got a notice in my inbox that the Enzian would be playing UHF for free, and since I was broke as shit, it fit my budget perfectly! I invited a friend and we met up for the movie.

In my previous entry about the Enzian, I mentioned that it does outdoor, free events from time to time. Of course you’re encouraged to buy drinks and snacks, but due to my aforementioned ‘pre-payday’ state, I was quite broke. My friend ordered shrimp and grits. She, being a connoisseur of such things, pronounced them her favorite.

A Central Florida evening, complete with mosquitoes and bats
A Central Florida evening, complete with mosquitoes, thunder, and bats!

UHF is the story of George Newman, a class-A shiftless dreamer type who’s lost every job he’s had. He lucks into ownership of a tv station with a grand total of about 6 viewers, and despairs before he hits on the magic formula of putting the janitor in charge of a failing children’s show. There are some ups and downs, rags to riches, and though a lot of those cliches are present they at least feel fresher than not. The random, crazyass skits and wacky characters in the film keep it interesting, and its celebration of strange people and inclusivity is very much in the vein of Revenge of the Nerds. 

Upon viewing it again with a friend who’d never seen it, I recognize that much of the appeal is based on nostalgia. That said, new fans might like the film because of its bizarre humor and also as a novelty since it contains a pre-breakdown Michael Richards, in one of his most insanely hilarious roles.

It holds a special place in my heart because UHF is one of the first movies I saw in the theater without parents. A friend and I were visiting my family in South Georgia and my aunt dropped us off at the theater to see it. THAT IS HOW OLD I AM. Granted, nowadays 10 is a little young to be unattended at a theater, but it was a theater in a small town where everyone knew everyone– and we were the only people in the theater. We ran up and down the aisles yelling and generally Being Loud. I don’t know, I still love it and it’ll always be one of my faves.

We've all had those thoughts, Al.
We’ve all had those thoughts, Al.

UHF is not available on Netflix.

A Night at the Thee-Ah-Tah – Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior At the Enzian

In Which The Author Leaves The House in the Company of Friends, Good Food, and Post-Apocalyptic Cannibal Cults.

[The Enzian did not pay me to write this entry, I just love going there and have for years, and wanted to spread the word!]

Last night I scurried forth from my bolthole for a special occasion: Orlando’s own local independent theater The Enzian was showing Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. Rejoice!

Exterior 5

The Enzian’s been around since 1985. I saw my first film there in 1997, Ma Vie En Rose, so right away you can see it has quite a variety. It’s the kind of place for people who just flat out love movies and good stories, like the Alamo Drafthouse. During the Florida FiIm Festival (yes, Florida has a film festival and it’s not just police dash cam vids of drunk people falling down or setting things on fire) the Enzian becomes a nerve center of activities: they show a lot of films there, and they have discussions with filmmakers and actors. Gabriel Byrne and Helen Mirren have attended, and I believe my former Creative Writing teacher Pat Rushin did an appearance as well.

Eden bar

The Enzian has a sweet bar outside with all kinds of drinks from domestic beers to cocktails containing absinthe, flavored whiskey, and moonshine. Inside, they offer a full menu of oodles of goodies, like sandwiches, tomato cream soup, and/or truffle parmesan fries. They also do free movies on the lawn sometimes, or other film events around town. The bar/patio is shaded by gigantic live oaks and has a fountain, so it’s a nice place to unwind.

Films I’ve seen at the Enzian:

  • Ma Vie En Rose
  • The Dinner Game (French)
  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • What We Do In The Shadows
  • So I Married an Axe Murderer
  • Aliens (on birthday last year- they do horror movies in October!)
  • Pumpkinhead
  • The Host (Korean horror/sci-fi, not the Twilight thing)
  • A Very Long Engagement
  • Let the Right One In (Swedish)
  • Micmacs
  • Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  • Babe: Pig in the City (I have no shame about crying in front of people during this movie)
  • Mirrormask
  • Gone With the Wind
  • Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
  • Oldboy (original)
  • Big Trouble in Little China
  • Primer (the science fiction one)
  • Film festival shorts
  • The Troll Hunter

And so many more! I can’t list them all!

As mentioned above, the Enzian does horror movies during the month of October – I’m already planning to see Shaun of the Dead and probably Beetlejuice, too.

I met up with a bunch of friends who are movie nerds like myself and we had a damn good time. I thought I saw Road Warrior like 20 years ago but apparently I was thinking of the first Mad Max, when he’s a cop. Ah well!

In lieu of a real review, here are my thoughts:

  • More in line with Fury Road than Thunderdome, although I still love all three
  • More feminist than I would have guessed (the female warrior was badass; there was also a chick who had the option to escape and did the honorable thing by staying with her people; women sat on the council and took up arms)
  • The Feral Kid was the best
  • Lord Humungus’s thighs needed their own credit. That dude was walking beef.
  • One complaint – I couldn’t get over the assless chaps the raiders wore. Hell, just wearing shorts in Central Florida summer can get you burned on a cloth carseat, so Australian post-apocalyptic desert-wear should offer more protection from leather motorcycle saddles baked by the sun. Just a thought. Also I imagined the actor playing Wez was having fun as he flashed his cheeks at the camera with joyful abandon. It was a full moon at noon over the Aussie desert, y’all
  • Jedidiah The Gyro Copter Pilot was also the best

SO! If you find yourself in Orlando, consider taking a day off from a theme park and hitting the Enzian for some REAL Central Florida flavor. I like roller coasters as much as the next person, but sometimes need a break from the sweaty throngs.

[EDIT: It only hit me this morning, the delicious irony of going to a high art movie theater to watch nitro-cannibals ride around on flaming motorcycles in assless chaps. But whatev-  they wouldn’t show it if they didn’t love movies!]