In the last Personal Ramblings, “Me, You and Psychiatry Too,” I mentioned the date was to see The Last Starfighter at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA. The focus was more on the museum beforehand, but after a talk with Angel after she read it, she said it would be cool to write about the actual date part. Honestly, I agree as it was actual fun as hell. So without further ado, The Last Starfighter!
I always wanted to go on a date to see a classic film on the big screen. I had seen re-releases with friends beforehand such as Titanic, The Lion King, Jurassic Park and Beauty and the Beast. I had even seen Mary Poppins at the El Capitan Theatre, but all these had been digital projection. I want the grit and dirt of film projection and I wanted to go to another revival theatre. One night while browsing the web, I stumbled upon The Last Starfighter playing at the Eygptian in 70 mm with a cast and crew Q & A on a rare Thursday night I had off of work.
The Last Starfighter, for those that do not know (and that’s many), is a cult science fiction classic from 1984. It stars Lance Guest as Alex Rogan, a down-on-his-luck teen who happens to be extremely good at the arcade game Starfighter. Little does he know is that it is actually a test creates by Centauri, an alien inventor played by Robert Preston, to find the best starfighter in the galaxy to help an alien war going on between the Rylan Star League and Ko-Dan Empire. Alex is picked as he obtained the highest score and it is now up to him to save the galaxy. The plot is ridiculous the humor is corny, but the action and the acting is surprisingly great. I asked Angel if she was up for seeing it with me.
“You mean Enemy Mine?,” she asked.
“No, what the hell is that?,” I asked back.
“OH! I know which one you are talking about! Yes, I would love it,” she said.
It was all set and ready to go. After the aformentioned experience beforehand, we headed to the Egyptian Theatre. It is quite the relic of time. It is designed as a Egyptian palace with its stone walls and hieroglyphics aboumd. It is grandiose and a reminder of the days of extravagant premieres nearly every day. Now, it is quiet and tame with film buffs and cult fanatics abound. We grab our tickets and head off into the theater.
It was practically home. In the confines of the black and red lobby was the smell of popcorn and hot dogs with the staff of beautiful manic pixie girls and Silverlake hipster men. Conversations of cinema off in the background and posters of Matthew McConaughey, the recipient of the 2014 American Cinematheque Award, aligned a section of the lobby. The fact a box of candy, a soda and large popcorn were less than $12 was just a bonus to the whole thing.
We sit down and get situated to see the film with other fans. They ranged from big burly men in 80’s pop culture shirts to skinny bearded men outside of a Cameron Crowe feature. Some women were dressed in their nightly best with their boyfriends while others were just rocking their casual badass geek clothes. The cast of the film where scattered throughout the audience leading to a fun game of “Where the hell is Lance Guest?”
One guy in particular that sat next to us was in a hurry to come in. He was a major fan coming in with a black leather jacket complete with a patch of the Starfighter arcade logo. He was quite handsome with the Julian Casablancas look going. He was in delight and glee, despite suffering a broken leg earlier in the week. He came in on crutches and practically forced himself to co.e and see it. It was admirable dedicstion. Even his girlfriend, who appeared later on, was impressed he managed to make it.
Then the theater darkened, the film started up and the sound was non-existent. The sound was silence as the titles flashed. Most of us were in a panic, but issue was quickly resolved. There is was with the pops of the film grain, the wear of the print and the sound as crisp as ever with Chris Safan’s score guding the audience through the stars. It was beautiful and charming to see.
We laughed at the robot decoy Beta as Alex on Earth causing a ruckus. We teared up as Centauri made his sacrifice to save Alex. We booed ehen the evil Xur, played by Norman Snow, appeared on screen. We cheered loudly when Alex unleashed the Death Blossom alongside under the gudience of his new found friend Grig, played by Dan O’herlihy. We swooned when Alex returned home to kiss his girlfriend Maggie, played by Catherine Mary Stewart, and bring her up to the stars with him. It was as if we all went to a movie house in the 80’s and experienced it for the first time again.
The Q & A was interesting with the stars happy to see fans of the film come out and support. We eventually found Lance Guest who told us he had not seen it in years. Catherine Mary Stewart was still beyond gorgeous. They shared their memories about making the film, the long since passed friends they made on set and the possible crushed on set. The fun aspect was the facts as well from the director Nick Castle being the first Michael Myers in John Carpenter’s Halloween to the fact that the graphics and CGI used in the film can be easily store in the Samsung Galaxy smartphone I am writing this post with and it would still have tons of gigabytes left over. It was fascinating and everyone asked about a remake or a sequel, which I would not mind at all if any of those got made.
The night was perfect and the mood was just right. Me and Angel headed home after all of that on the Metro. As we were sitting in the Gold Line, she slept in my arms as I looked to the stars wondering “man, it would be something if that film was real. It would be.”