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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 16, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 42
Movie Reviews
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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20TH ANNUAL SLGFF
SGN talks with Dave Kopay - who'll be in Seattle for Closing Night's Out to Win screening
Plus closing weekend capsule reviews
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

The 20th annual Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (SLGFF) is closing this weekend with a plethora of screenings taking place at downtown Seattle's AMC Pacific Place Cinema (600 Pine St., fourth floor). Highlights include the local debut of acclaimed director Sebastia┬┤n Silva's Nasty Baby starring Kristen Wiig, the gender-bending old school Hollywood horror parody Hush Up Sweet Charlotte with director Billy Clift in attendance and the acclaimed Aussie documentary Gaby Baby that recently found itself at the center of controversy when this sweet, captivating chronicling of children of Gay parents found itself banned by an Australian school board.

Rounding things out is the sports-themed documentary Out to Win directed by Small Town Gay Bar filmmaker Malcolm Ingram. Not so much an analysis of the effect Gay athletes are having on professional sports leagues or a discussion of the reaction of the NFL to Michael Sam's coming out right before the 2014 draft, the film instead is a life-affirming, remarkably positive celebration of sports stars who have lived their life openly and honestly, more often than not after their pro careers had come to an end. Featuring interviews with a number of notable and familiar faces, including Billy Bean, Brittney Griner, Jason Collins and tennis icons Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova, the film doesn't dig particularly deep, yet still maintains an air of hopeful positivity that's truly inspiring.

Dave Kopay
At the heart of the conversation is former University of Washington legend and NFL great Dave Kopay, Ingram spending a lot of time focusing on his coming out during the mid-1970s and the response to his biography The David Kopay Story co-written by Perry Deane Young and published in 1977.

Talking with him via phone while he was at the airport waiting to fly to Seattle for the film's Closing Night presentation, the LGBT icon and former professional running back for the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins (amongst other teams) had no trouble expressing just how proud he was of the film and how touched he was by Ingram's handling of the subject matter.



'I thought he [director Malcolm Ingram] would only want me for a quick sound bite, maybe something a bit longer,' says Kopay with a chuckle. 'Then he showed up at my house with this big crew, was really prepared, and I thought, gosh, this is going to be something. He kept talking and asking questions and I kept answering them, but I had no idea he was going to make me almost the center point of the thing [Out to Win]. I was so surprised, so touched.'

As for what it was like to watch the finished film for the first time, the athletic star doesn't mince words, 'It was fabulous,' he says without hesitation. 'Just fabulous.'

'You know,' Kopay continues, noticeably choking up a little as he puts his thoughts together, 'I did something. All of this, it really changed my life. Let me give you a little story. Coach [Vince] Lombardi always used to stand on the sidelines, and I only played for him one [season] before he died, in 1969 playing for Washington, but he always used to stand on the sidelines and scream, 'What the hell is going on out there? Do something! Do something!' and those words always stuck with me.'

'When I was with the 49ers, I used to always have great game against his teams, and he remembered that when he picked me up off of waivers before the '69 season. I'd had a knee injury in Detroit the previous year, the team doctor coming to me years later to tell me I'd played the entire season on torn ligaments, but Coach Lombardi tested me out and I made the team, and I think a large part of the reason for that was he knew from past experiences I was a competitor, someone who wouldn't quit. So I made the team.'

'Now, people ask me all the time if Coach Lombardi knew about me and I always say I can never be sure. I mean, I don't think so, but maybe he did. Who knows? He was always so protective of Jerry Smith, so compassionate towards him while also nurturing his talent, making him a better player, so maybe Coach Lombardi knew more than I think he did. But he was always there, and such a great person, always urging me on, telling me to 'do something' at every opportunity.'

'Now, I'm not sure I remembered any of Coach Lombardi's words when I saw the articles about Jerry in the paper years later. More, I just happened to be in Washington, DC via happenstance at the time. And I thought, you know, I could have been in Idaho and would never have seen this article about Jerry, would never have known anything. I need to do something. Coach Lombardi's words came flooding back. I needed to do something.'

That 'doing something' was to confirm in the wake of the all-pro tight end's death in 1985 from AIDS that the two of them were indeed romantically involved during their playing days. Kopay also reconfirmed the rumors about Coach Lombardi's locker rooms being homophobia free zones where the focus was on playing the game and not on any individual players sexual proclivities.

'There was a lot of fate involved with that,' he says plainly. 'I wasn't being heroic, speaking the truth, it was just the right thing to do. The timing was finally right. We'd [Jerry and I had] talked about it so much, considered writing a book together, and when I wrote my book he was so supportive, unlike what some had put out there at the time. Jerry never criticized me about writing the book. So, when he died, it was time to set the record straight. To do something. You never know what you have inside of you until the time comes. When it does, do something.'

'To do this film,' Kopay reflects, 'to see how Malcolm put it all together, to see the reaction people have when watching it. It's very gratifying.'



Our conversation continued on for another few minutes, speaking about his continued love for the University of Washington and his pledged $1-million endowment to the UW's Q Center ('I guarantee you that's where it is going'), how many concussions he suffered as an NFL pro (over '40 or 50'), how he keeps fit ('I swim a mile every other day'), and his thoughts on Pope Francis ('he might be the first real Pope I've ever seen since I've been on this planet').

He ends our conversation by recounting a story of a day in 1967 where he was walking down a California beach, a moment in time that means a great deal to the football star.

'I came across this young man sitting on the beach,' recalls Kopay. 'He was scarred and disfigured, and was writing on a paper bag. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was writing a poem but that it wasn't any good. He then crumpled up the paper and threw it at me saying I could have it.'

'I picked it up, and I couldn't believe what I was reading. I looked at this kid, looked back at the poem, and said to him, what do you mean it's no good? This is incredible. And he smiled. Still told me to take the poem, but he smiled.'

At that point, Kopay recited the poem to me, each word burned into his memory, as if he'd only been given the paper it has been written on yesterday. 'It's been with me ever since that day,' he states proudly. 'I'll never forget a single word. It's an inspiration to me.'



Out to Win is the SLGFF's Closing Night film playing Sunday, 10/18, 6:30 pm at AMC Pacific Place. Former NFL great and UW Husky All-American Dave Kopay will be in attendance. Make sure you say hello.

SLGFF closing weekend capsule reviews
As for some of the other films closing out the festival, here are some brief capsule reviews written by myself, Paul Torres and Gary Kramer.

The Glamour and the Squaler (10/17, 3:00 pm, AMC Pacific Place) Terrific, locally produced music documentary about heavyweight 107.7 TheEnd DJ Marco Collins and how he helped transform radio in the Pacific Northwest forever while also making stars out of the likes of Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Beck (amongst others). Insightful, funny, moving and emotional, this is a fine film filled with sensational music directed with a confidently firm touch by Marq Evans. *** (Sara Michelle Fetters)

Hush Up Sweet Charlotte (10/16, 9:45 pm, AMC Pacific Place) Billy Clift's fitfully amusing follow-up to his cult favorite Baby Jane, Hush Up Sweet Charlotte takes on another Bette Davis horror classic (Hush&Hush, Sweet Charlotte) doing so with the type of loving absurdist brio that also helped make his last flick such an endearing treat. More fun than it has any right to be. *** (Sara Michelle Fetters)

Stuff (10/17, 7:30 pm, AMC Pacific Place) After a family death, Trisha and Deb's long-term and seemingly idyllic relationship begins to show signs of strain. A scuffle between their daughter Samantha and a boy from daycare brings his world-wise and wild mother into their fractured family fold. Sparks fly, feelings get hurt, and new revelations raise to the surface. Stuff, directed by Suzanne Guacci, is a supremely acted and engaging film about connection and emotional acceptance. *** (Paul Torres)

Upstairs Inferno (10/17, 12:00 pm, AMC Pacific Place) This poignant historical documentary chronicles the 1973 fire (determined to be arson) that killed 32 people at the Up Stairs Lounge, a New Orleans Gay bar. Although stiffly narrated by Gay writer Christopher Rice, the survivors provide emotional testimonies of the homophobia and bigotry they encountered after the fire. The event is vividly rendered, and the tragedy is palpable, but at times this micro-history feels both over-emphasized and underdeveloped. **1/2 (Gary Kramer)


Gleefully anarchic Girls a joyous '80s slasher homage
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

THE FINAL GIRLS
Now playing


After the death of her actress mother Amanda (Malin Akerman), the last thing high school senior Max (Taissa Farmiga) wants to think about is 1980s slasher cult favorite 'Camp Bloodbath.' See, her mom was the chief 'Scream Queen' from that little gem, playing one of the counselors brutally butchered by a deranged madman hacking and slashing his way through the camp with a blood-stained machete. It's the role that made her famous yet also left her hopelessly typecast, handicapping Amanda's career in ways she was never able to overcome.

Still, on the anniversary of the film's original release, Max is talked into making a personal appearance at a special screening by her best friend Gertie's (Alia Shawkat) older brother Duncan (Thomas Middleditch). After a freak accident sees the theater burst into flame, the teenager literally cuts the screen in two in hopes she and her friends can escape. Thing is, she's inadvertently sent them all stumbling literally inside the movie itself, Max, Gertie, Duncan, potential boyfriend Chris (Alexander Ludwig) and his narcissistic ex-girlfriend Vicki (Nina Dobrev) face-to-face with the world of 'Camp Bloodbath,' and that includes the character portrayed by Amanda, the perpetually cheery (yet still doomed) camp counselor Nancy.

Director Todd Strauss-Schulson's (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas) and screenwriters M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller's The Final Girls isn't the first film to utilize a movie-within-a-movie scenario where the main characters discover themselves on the other side of the celluloid screen (Disney's just used this conceit twice, in fact, for its insanely popular Teen Beach Movie series), but that doesn't make it any less inventive. Working as both an irreverent, giggly eccentric homage to the '80s slasher movie craze as well as a solid little scare flick in its own right, it's the somewhat surprising poignant maturity and warmth at the center of this lunacy that makes this anarchic hybrid memorable. The relationship between Max and Nancy, how the very real daughter of a not-particularly-successful actress relates to the fictional character she was best known for, that stuff is marvelous, giving the film an infectious energetic kick.

There are a lot of wonderful touches sprinkled throughout, not the least of which is the way Strauss-Schulson and company play with genre conventions, doing so in a way that's intrinsically humorous yet still also shows reverence and respect for films like Friday the 13th, Sleepaway Camp, Madman and The Burning. The key group portraying the doomed set of counselors, Pitch Perfect favorite Adam DeVine, freewheeling comedian Angela Trimbur, firebrand Chloe Bridges and relative newcomer Tory N. Thompson, are all superb, while Shawkat, Middleditch, Ludwig and especially 'The Vampire Diaries' starlet Dobrev all add agreeably able support as the 21st century youngsters stranded in an alien, and innately artificial, cinematic world.

None of this would work, however, if neither Farmiga nor Akerman were up to the challenge, and to say both are anything less than divine would be an outright falsehood. The former, so good in her older sister Vera Farmiga's Higher Ground as well as in Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring, is just delightful, adding a level of realism and human decency I can't say I saw coming. As for Akerman, she's incredible, her performance touchingly sublime the way she navigates the emotional interiors of a fictional character coming to grips with her own inauthenticity, who still grows to have motherly feelings for a stranger she's learned the most unfathomable of truths from.

The movie goes on a little long, overstaying its welcome if only by the tiniest, most infinitesimal of margins. Even so, the climax is just plain terrific, while a closing hospital sequence recalling a certain classic slasher sequel (of the non summer camp variety) is close to perfect. Strauss-Schulson does a nice job handling this absurdist mayhem, balancing humor, action and scares with confidence. The Final Girls is an impressive little love letter to 1980s teen slasher horror of yore, and I for one can't help but think it's a movie I'm going to be watching again relatively soon.








CRAZY ALERT: Margaret Cho to unleash her insanity at the Moore Theatre
Discusses her upcoming show, comedy, and the Transgender community

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Thomas Bezucha interview - Big Eden's 15th anniversary
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Brandi Carlile, Florence + The Machine, FreakNight turn this month into Rocktober
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Rufus Wainwright shines in intimate, acoustic performance
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OUTBOUND: Offer Nissim to headline White Party Palm Springs in April
Major 2016 sports tournaments announced

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Molly Sweeney a play worth seeing
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One Slight Hitch is old-style door-slamming fun
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Singers Nora Michaels and Victor Janusz - 'together again for the very first time!' - will offer an intimate concert -
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Reflections on the county clerk in Kentucky
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Selena Gomez books May 13 concert date in Seattle
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20TH ANNUAL SLGFF
SGN talks with Dave Kopay - who'll be in Seattle for Closing Night's Out to Win screening
Plus closing weekend capsule reviews

------------------------------
Gleefully anarchic Girls a joyous '80s slasher homage
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