Anniversary Issue

What Were We Thinking?!

proclamations

point/ counterpoint

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

TOP 10

TOP 10

TOP10

TOP 10

TOP 10

TOP 10

TOP 10

TOP 10

TOP 10

Where are they now?

The Stranger Timeline

1. Founding of the Northwest Film Forum (1996)From the dusty, depressed old relic that was the Grand Illusion grew a thriving nexus of film production and programming that fundamentally changed the focus of Seattle film, for the better.

2. SIFF (every year)Say what you will about the massive lines, corporate sponsors, and that time they showed the Mel Gibson movie on opening night, it's impossible to argue (convincingly) that the Seattle International Film Festival isn't a sumptuous feast that transforms the city every single year.

3. Pike St. Cinema Closes (1995)Dennis Nyback's spooky little bachelor pad of a screening room, where you never really knew what you would see, shut down in '95, thus ending an era of unpredictable revival programming.

4. William Arnold's zero-star pan of Leolo (1992)The P-I review, including the line, "This film may be actionable under current child pornography laws," resulted in the vice squad showing up at the Varsity, ready to seize the print. They watched the first 45 minutes, waiting for the scene where a bunch of horny, sexually curious Canadian kids "sodomize" a cat (depicted by an artfully floating camera and some obviously dubbed "rrREOWr" sounds; the scene is played for sick comedy). After the scene in question passed, the two vice cops walked out laughing and shaking their heads. "I don't know what the hell that movie was supposed to be about, but it sure as hell wasn't pornography."

5. Tie: Singles (1992), and Sleepless in Seattle (1993)These twin abominations, set and shot very ostentatiously in town, mutually fulfilled a dual purpose: (1) uniting the outside world in the belief that Seattle was a quaint little burg filled with rich, bon mot-spouting, latte-gurgling fucks whose only goal in life is to try too hard to be cute. And (2) uniting the entire city in the conviction that Hollywood can kiss our bon mot-spouting, latte-gurgling, organically cute ass.

6. "Coddle the balls, work the shaft." (1994)Following the filming of the mediocre Richard Donner action movie Assassins in our fair city, an audio tape made the rounds, featuring one of that film's stars in flagrante delicto, in his trailer, body mic still activated, instructing a partner in the finer points of fellatio. The phrase has since become a civic treasure.

7. Landmark returns to local ownership (2001)After several years in the hinterlands of inefficient corporate management at the hands of the Samuel Goldwyn Company, Seattle's own arthouse chain was re-purchased by its original owners.8. Cinerama re-opens (1999)The last of Seattle's movie palaces was refurbished and restored to surpassing glory, courtesy of Paul Allen's big fat checkbook. Any questions about the worthiness of the endeavor should have been quashed by Apocalypse Now Redux, the most sensually astounding filmgoing experience of all time.

9. Frank Oz responds to Andy Spletzer's review of Indian in the Cupboard (1995)After former Stranger film editor Andy Spletzer suggested that Oz's film was less than brilliant, the film director and former Muppeteer called Spletzer and left one of the most profane, hateful, enraged voice mails in the history of the medium. It was of course extra notable, because the words "you are a fucking horse's ass" and "horseshit rag" and "fucking dickhead" were being spoken by the voice of Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Grover, and Bert. The voice mail message was later set to music by the now-defunct band Butt Hutt.

10. John Hartl retires (2000)Citing dwindling space for writing about independent films, John Hartl stepped down from his position as Seattle Times film critic after 34 years. Though he still writes for the Times occasionally, Hartl's even-tempered voice and generous attention to off-mainstream work is still notably absent from the city's film dialogue.