I suppose if I believed in guilty pleasures, Face/Off would be at the top of my list. For a while, I was totally obsessed with it. It's not a good movie at all, but if I happen to catch a flicker of it on TV while changing channels, I can't stop watching it. The kindest way to describe Face/Off is "operatic." Nicolas Cage is still cresting off his Oscar win—he isn't quite yet in his knowingly bad, winking phase. John Travolta is hammy in all the best ways. The story builds to absurd levels of self-importance; you come to believe that the fate of the entire world rests on these two men who have swapped faces. With all the doves and the portent and the braggadocio of the main character's performances, the whole mess feels like it should be a story from the Bible, but then you idly start wondering how the doctor made John Travolta's body turn into Nicolas Cage's body, and the whole movie falls apart into a beautiful, slow-motion heap.
Tonight, Central Cinema is presenting Face/Off in Hecklevision at 7 pm. The audience is expected to make fun of the movie by heckling it in text messages, which are then displayed on the screen. (In past Hecklevision screenings, the audience voted on the best heckler, who would then win a prize after the movie.) I'm usually a purist about the moviegoing experience, but I think Face/Off is the perfect movie for audience participation: It's big enough, dumb enough, and crazy enough to survive the audience's mockery. In a way, the taunts could only improve it by adding a sense of humor to the whole thing. I hope to see your heckles on the big screen tonight.