By Don Simpson | April 14, 2012
Directors: Mark Potts, Cole Selix
Writers: Mark Potts, Cole Selix
Starring: John Merriman, Mark Potts, Brand Rackley, Kevin Brennan, Byron Brown, Heather Wallis, Barry Corbin, Maggie Carey, Chris Doubek, Cole Selix, Reese Merritt, Kerri Lendo
During the last 18 months I have been asking myself one question. I am a simple person, what can I say? Wait. What can I say is not the question I have been asking myself for the last 18 months. That all came out totally wrong. Dammit to hell! Okay. Please allow me start again. No? Well, fuck you waffle! I am going to start anew anyway. So… Here we go… I mean here I go… We are not going anywhere. I, on the other hand, am going to get this dick shit of a review started. Okay. So, the question I have been asking myself is: Will Cinema Six live up to my lofty expectations? Really, that is the question — the one and only question — I have contemplated for 18 long months. Are you calling me a liar? Well, shut your pie hole!
But, I digress… I do actually have an answer to that question now, all thanks to the world premiere screening of Cinema Six at the Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF). The answer? Yes. As in the answer to the question is yes. As in Cinema Six does live up to my lofty expectations. Comprenez vous? No? Well, I think I lost myself somewhere along the way, so I don’t blame you for being confused. I’ll continue onward through the fog anyway…
It is also worth noting that Cinema Six also exceeds my expectations in terms of incredibly creative uses of excessive profanity. Yes, I meant to type exceeds and excessive in the same sentence, Mr. English Teacher. Screw you! Because, well, Mark Potts and Cole Selix’s screenplay is riddled with profanity — and, yes, some of the profanity does function as riddles (for example: what is a dick shit?). Oh, and Cinema Six is quotable as all hell. I bet all of the kiddos will be yelling “boobies” tomorrow! Thanks, Cinema Six. That is all this world needs now, more youngsters shouting “boobies” with no rhyme or reason.
Man o’ man, I am getting off track a lot… Focus… Okay. I think have this all under control now.
In the opening scene, Chad (Chris Doubek) resigns as manager of Stanton Family Cinemas, leaving Mason (John Merriman) and Dennis (Brand Rackley) in charge. Gabe (Mark Potts) is there too, but he is not in charge. (That would have been an entirely different film.) Mason, Dennis and Gabe are each in the midst of their own existential crises. Women may bewilder and frustrate them, but the thought of leaving the movie theater and growing up scares the fucking shit out of them. They are also going through their own unique shit too. Gabe has self-confidence and body image issues; Dennis cannot get over his whore of an ex-fiancee; and Mason’s wife Sarah (Heather Wallis) wants Mason to work for her father (Barry Corbin), and she is also considering aborting their unborn second child. Damn, boy! This shit just got serious!
(Note: This review is now officially Rated R for excessive profanity. Sensitive readers: Chill the fuck out.)
Very few comedies are consistently funny (throughout all three acts, no less) while also containing a strong, noteworthy narrative. Despite its sublime knack for obscenity and vulgarity, Cinema Six is a very deep film. At its very [big, bulging] heart, Cinema Six is about a hapless group of movie theater employees who are stuck in limbo between childhood and adulthood. Stanton Family Cinemas is just as much of an escape from reality for the employees as the films are for the audiences. The characters are incredibly real and therefore undeniably sympathetic. I am not just blowing smoke up your ass while whistling Dixie when I say that I cannot recall a recent comedy that is as emotionally complex as Cinema Six. (I also never knew that hearing Barry Corbin discuss his sex life could be so damn hilarious!)
With each feature — The Stanton Family Grave Robbery (2008), Simmons on Vinyl (2009), S&M Lawncare (2010), Cinema Six (2012) — Potts and Selix have grown more and more adept at the craft of filmmaking (Clay Liford’s beautiful cinematography certainly lends a helping hand); but then that makes me wonder how they can progress beyond Cinema Six? Potts and Selix have taken a giant leap forward with Cinema Six, but what about this amazing cast? I could watch John Merriman, Mark Potts and Brand Rackley play off of each other all day; but it is the bit parts — bookended by Chris Doubek’s opening diatribe and Maggie Carey’s scene (with a certain uncredited famous comedic actor) in the closing minutes of the film — that develop Cinema Six into a scrumptiously randy comedy that I could gnaw on for hours…whatever the hell that means?! (Well, I think it means that I would willingly watch Cinema Six again and again and again. Yes sir, may I have another?)
And now that my 18 month old question has finally been answered, I have moved onto a new question: “What’s the awesomest thing you’ve ever done with a theatre pickle?” I’ll need to digest (mind the pun) that one for a while…
Oh, and also check out our post about the brilliant Cinema Six trailer.