It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, sans New Moon, that offer proof. Weekend Weirdness takes a look at such films, whether it’s via a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini-review, or news of an excavated cult classic. The works discussed herein tend to make cinema a little more interesting, and in the best cases do the same for life or at least a blown weekend.
The year, 2009, delivered a number of knockout documentaries that were better made and more meditative than their premises let on. For over a year, The Rock-afire Explosion has popped-and-fizzled on my radar, until a screener finally arrived in the mail last week underneath a hate letter from my ex, Sallie Mae. Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson—a cool guest on the /Filmcast—also received one, a screener that is, and she promptly called Rock-afire the best film of the year for a documentary or otherwise. I wouldn’t go that far, but Rock-afire Explosion makes for true-life entertainment every bit as tasty as a slice and a cold beer to a divorced, thankless, balding dad tolerating a Showbiz Pizza in the late ’80s. In other words, this isn’t some Chuck E. Cheese shit.
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We’ll take this sentence to offer the ongoing meme for Showbiz Pizza‘s house band an extended welcome and a thanks for making so many parents’ divorces and kids’ birthday parties that much more awkward, wacky and bipolar. This forthcoming documentary shines a light on the magic inner workings and fandom of The Rock-afire Explosion, the animatronic musical act and variety show that was a loud staple at Showbiz Pizza franchises in the ’80s.
From indie, Window Pictures, the flick centers on a 31-year-old Alabamian enviously named, Chris Thrash, who fulfilled his lifelong dream of purchasing and programming the band of robotic “artificial life forms.” Thrash now has the good fortune of being declared, “King of The Rock-afire Explosion World!” by a tan man in this trailer who wears exceedingly retro-patterned attire. Also, the Internetz already loves him: Thrash is on his way towards obtaining an invite to next year’s ROFLCon due to the popularity/badassness of his Rock-afire cover song requests, most recently Usher’s “Love in the Club.” Rock-afire also cameos in this obnoxious MGMT hipster dance off.
With its ominous suburban crime scene muzak, arcade montages, cheesy commercials (pun lalala) and telling geek confessions, the trailer will remind many of The King of Kong and Chasing Ghosts; and I really hope the hot lass seen here in a green shirt is an ’08 Rock-afire Explosion groupie. I will convert Slashfilm dollars, stalk in van and feed her bad pizza. When I was 4-feet-tall and wearing $200 Nike Pump hi-tops, if a stranger had informed me that adulthood would bring this wistful doc and The Two Coreys, I would have worn more black. But hey, times change! I now attribute these semi-customized entertainments to a lucky taxidermy collection.
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The Rock-afire Explosion opens Fall 2008.
Discuss: Wouldn’t the catchphrase currently seen/loathed on Domino’s Pizza’s boxes for The Dark Knight—”Cloaked in Pepperoni, Deliciously Mysterious”—be better utlized for The Rock-afire Explosion?