Monday, November 30, 2009

Pseudo Psi-Fi Classique- Gentlemen Broncos

When the movie ended, a twelve or so year old girl sitting couple of rows behind me said to her family,

"That was officially the weirdest movie I have ever seen. Mom would have hated it."

My mom would have hated it too, but my own opinion of the strange movie was less immediate than the twelve year old's. I knew that I had been thoroughly entertained, but was still a bit unsure how much I really liked the awkward comedy about Benjamin Purvis, a home schooled teen with aspirations of someday becoming a published science fiction writer.

The story was simple enough. When Ben attends a writer's camp for home schoolers, he is thrilled to discover that one of the guest presenters there is Dr. Ronald Chevalier, his favorite science fiction author who
announces that he'll be judging a science fiction writing competition resulting in the publication of the winning entry. Ben enters his own, hand-written sci-fi novel, titled Yeast Lords, and is later disappointed when he discovers that his work has been plagiarized by Chevalier.

An imposed friend of Ben's named Lonny Donahoe also has interest in Yeast Lords and creates a short film starring some of Ben's friends. Donahoe's modifications and interpretations of Yeast Lords cause Ben to regret his decision to allow the film to be made.

While browsing in a bookstore, Ben stumbles across Chevalier's newly published interpretation of
Yeast Lords titled Brutus and Balzaak, and is furious. Ben takes matters into his own hands and after a whirlwind of events, procures poetic justice for himself, and a happy ending for the audience. Formulae, but still fun.I remained in my seat until all of the credits had run because I suspected there would be a final scene... I was glad that I waited because I was rewarded with a splendid scene that I won't reveal to any readers who may not want to know how it ends.

I didn't have many expectations for this movie even though I have been anticipating its release for a year or so. I first learned about Gentlemen Broncos while interviewing Alan Bradshaw for a post I wrote last year. Alan told me that a scene from the movie had been filmed in the lobby of the Ritz Theater and that other scenes had been shot at his dome shaped home near the Motor Vu Drive-In Theater in Erda. When I watched Gentlemen Broncos, I paid close attention to the lobby scene, and was a bit disappointed that the early 60's era velvet Mexican clown paintings hanging in the Ritz lobby weren't featured. However, I was happy to see that the door to the cry room was in full view. When I was very young, my mom had to take me into that cry room during my very first big-screen experience, when Mary Poppins became too much for me. I had hoped to see Gentlemen Broncos at the Ritz when I was in Tooele last week, but found that it wasn't playing there. In fact, it was only playing at one theater in the entire Salt Lake area.

The Broadway Theater in Salt Lake City was empty when we arrived for the 9:30 show on Thanksgiving. Mighty Mo, Mason the Punk Girl and myself took our seats while a handful of movie goers arrived as previews of coming attractions played on the big screen. I was surprised how few people attended.

Four days later, I find myself thinking about Gentlemen Broncos quite a bit. Much of the thirteen hours traveling home yesterday was spent discussing the so far relatively unknown pseudo science fiction comedy, and all four members of our family agree that Gentlemen Broncos is an excellent movie, and all of us look forward to watching it again soon.


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