Friday, May 13, 2016

Chattanooga Film Festival 2016: The Wraith

The Wraith (1986)
Chattanooga Film Festival 2016

A few weeks ago, I was able to go to the Chattanooga Film Festival with Mass Listeria (thanks again, Daniel and Tim, for bringing me on board...puns and all).  For four days, the Majestic Theater in Chattanooga was filled with movie lovers of all shapes and sizes.  Comedy, horror, drama, documentaries, short films, animated films, independent films...the festival had movies for everyone, regardless of tastes.  Over the next several days, I will be posting my reviews of the movies that I saw there (in the order that I saw them), starting with The Wraith.

The CFF program description for The Wraith was:  "This 1986 cult classic tells the story of a murdered teenager (Charlie Sheen) who returns to extract revenge on a gang of car thieves and its leader (Nick Cassavetes).  To say more wouldn't be fair to the uninitiated, but the film also stars Sherilyn Fenn, Randy Quaid and legendary character actor Clint Howard, who makes his CFF debut to introduce the film and answer questions afterward.  Don't miss this special event!"

For as much as I love movies, I have to admit that I was one of the "uninitiated" watching the film and my only exposure to The Wraith prior to seeing the movie was watching the preview a few days prior.  The CFF program description says that it "wouldn't be fair" to say much more about the film than what it does.  But, the program description and the preview pretty much tell you everything you need to know about the story.

But, just knowing the story does not tell you how enjoyable The Wraith was to watch!!  It was full of unintentionally hilarious lines (one of my personal favorites being "He's weird and he's pissed off!!") and 80's awesomeness!!  There are fast cars, lovable characters, and a bit of the supernatural.  It might not seem like there is anything that makes this movie especially great, but I cannot think of a better film to have started off my weekend at CFF!!

One of the things that made the viewing of The Wraith at CFF so memorable was that Clint Howard was there to talk about the film and do a brief Q&A afterwards.  One of the more interesting things that Clint Howard said about the film was that it was meant to be a serious film.  It was not meant to be a cheesy, schlocky, campy action/comedy.  My enjoyment of the film was definitely due to the 80's awesomeness of it and not the seriousness of it.  So, when Clint Howard said that, I started to feel a little guilt thinking that he was going to feel like the film had not received the respect it deserved.

But then he said something else that not only alleviated the guilt, but also caused my respect and appreciation of him to grow.  Clint Howard said that the point of movies is to entertain.  So, who cares if The Wraith did not entertain the way that it was meant to...the laughter and applause throughout the movie showed that everyone there was definitely entertained!  Rather than being pretentious and shaming people for not watching a movie "the way it's supposed to be watched," he was very down to earth and grateful for the fans that showed their love.
Me, Clint Howard, Daniel (of Mass Listeria)

Thankfully, I was able to meet Clint Howard that night and talk to him a bit more and express my appreciation for all that he has contributed to cinema.  So, while the movie itself was not the best movie that I saw all weekend, it definitely was the perfect opening to encapsulate what film means to me.

Recommendation:  For me, The Wraith is a buy.  Granted, one of the main reasons that I would buy the movie is because of the experience surrounding my initial viewing, which would not be your experience if the first time watching it is in your home.  However, it was still a hell of a lot of fun to watch.  So go pick up The Wraith, invite some friends over, make some popcorn, and get ready for some 80's awesomeness!!

If you enjoy movies, conventions, comics, games, cartoons, Star Wars, or just about anything sure to check back soon for all things geekery!!  In the meantime, follow me here, on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

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