Tuesday, June 8, 2010


The Brattle is a wonderful non-profit theater in Cambridge, MA. It plays restored classics, indies, rare, local, and recent movies. Their schedule is a constantly rotating playlist for movie lovers. When I first moved to Boston and didn’t know anybody, or have any money to spend, I’d go to the Brattle every Monday for a pint of Jack and a double feature. Monday Noirs. What a great series. I saw some of my favorite classic black and white movies there for the first time during those Mondays. Night of the Hunter, Pick Up on South Street, and Gilda just to name a few. Some of their other series have included Coen Brothers retrospectives, Recent Raves, and Gangster classics.

Located in the shadow of Harvard University, the Brattle can be respectfully high brow (Citizen Kane every Christmas) to delightfully low brow (like their annual Shlock Around the Clock-- 24 straight hours of the most cringe inducing bad taste movies ever made). They have concerts and readings at the theater too. I’ve seen Oliver Sacks speak there, as well as seeing hundreds of great movies that had a profound impact on me like Ran (on a first date no less), Timecode, and Joe. The entire operation is run by volunteers, and the Brattle almost shut it’s doors a couple years ago until an eleventh hour donation saved them.

Four years ago, the Brattle announced a trailer contest. They would give everyone a movie title, and then you’d have about a month to come up with a two minute trailer. Since one of my friends works at a video production company, and a lot of our other friends are actors and playwrights, we decided to enter. The name they gave us: Miranda. We set to work for one of the funniest and most creative months I can remember. We did a grindcore/expoitation parody about a hooker with a heart of vengeance after a gang of thugs tries to silence her for seeing too much. The original we turned in was rated XXX by the judges, so Steve (our director/editor) had to beep out a ton of swears, and even blur something out for one scene. It’s even funnier with the censorship, so that was a happy accident.

Once all the entries were in, the Brattle held the First Annual Trailer Smackdown party, with BBQ food, PBR, and a screening of many great (and horribly great) trailers, including all the contest entries. Everyone in attendance got to vote, and much to our delight, we won. To see my own ugly mug up on that giant screen where I had watched so many beloved movies was an exhilarating, terrifying, humbling, and rewarding experience.

Between 2007-2009, we won two of the three Smackdowns, but Miranda will always be my favorite. Apparently the Brattle isn’t doing a trailer contest this year, which is a real shame because it was a creative and fun outlet for aspiring filmmakers and passionate amateurs alike, generating some truly entertaining and impressive fake trailers. It has also been the highlight of my past three summers.

And now, with no further ado, I give you………MIRANDA.

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