Tuesday, September 22, 2009

TIFF 2009 Roundup - Pt. 1 of 3

Well, the festival’s over. I’m well-rested, well-fed for the first time in weeks and totally back in my normal routine. I guess that means it’s time to talk about writing a festival roundup, which I will end up writing sometime in the waning weeks of June of 2010. See you then!

Ha ha, I’m just kidding. This year I thought I would try something radical–actually writing a rundown of TIFF within a week or so of the actual festival. I know, it’s a crazy idea, but I’ve got a good feeling that it’s actually going to work this year.

So, strap yourself in, tie down your socks (so I don’t knock them off), and return all seats to their upright positions folks, because here’s Crunchy Squirrel’s Super-Excitement Fun-Time TIFF 2009 Hoe-Down and Festival Round-up Part 1!

In this entry, my Best of the Best (non-film division):


Sure, it’s a multiplex, which I should hate on principle, but it’s got comfy seats, excellent screens and no weird smell to make eating a quick meal unpleasant (I’m looking at you, Scotiabank). Plus, since there are no bad seats (thank you, stadium seating), you can get here with minutes to spare and still get a decent seat.


I didn't have any screenings at the Elgin this year, but I thought I'd kick it around a little more, because that's what I do. The Elgin is a lovely theatre to see a big premiere, so long as you ignore the uncomfortable seats, the so-so sound and picture, or the frustrating lines, volunteers and unfettered elitism. Seriously, I think it's great that you guys with Visa Gold cards get to jump to the front of the line and snatch up all the best seats in the house before us poor schlubs do. Thankfully, I avoided the Elgin like mad this year and didn't regret it for an instant. My blood-pressure is still thanking me.

NOTE: I'm not saying every volunteer at the Elgin is a problem. There was an extremely nice elevator operator last year and many of the volunteers are pretty decent. But I've had more bad volunteer experiences at this theatre than any other, so read that as you will.


Very plush, very comfy.

WORST SEATS: Isabel Bader

I don’t know if I just chose terrible seats this year, but every screening here (save one) was an exercise in misery, which I never understood. The chairs look comfortable, but every time I'd sit in one, it would slowly cause my knee to hurt and my legs to cramp up, forcing me to shift every few minutes. Which is not fun.


Yes, it’s a food court, but it’s better than most. The Italian place was especially good and relatively inexpensive, but every meal I've eaten there was pretty tolerable (which is about the best you can do at a film festival).


The Burger King Veggie Burger is alright (at least up in Canada), but the selection is pretty awful here. And there's so much grease. So, so much grease.

BEST STREET: Bloor (Annex district)

I love the eclectic mix of shops and restaurants on Bloor and wish I could spend more time here.

WORST STREET: Queen Street

Actually, Queen isn’t really that bad, but Pages went out of business, so it gets my scorn. Seriously, how can that place go out of business? Thanks a lot, gentrification!

BEST STREETCAR: King Street 501

King Street rules! Woooo!


Note to woman on the cellphone behind me: No one on this bus cares about your romantic failings. If you’re going to talk loud enough for people three streets over to hear, talk about aliens or the shadow government or about the cheese demon that lives in your little toe. Not boring stuff about your feelings. Thank you.

And now for the short films:


"Santa’s Parade", which wouldn’t be out of place in a Guy Maddin film.


Bollywood/Hollywood. The awful lip-syncing of the lead actor drove me crazy.

BEST RBC SHORT: (All of which can be watched via this site, if you're curious)

"Afterparty". Genuinely funny, even the tenth time. The studio exec taking his wedding ring off never failed to make me chuckle.


"Chick Chicken". At least it’s really, really short.


The volunteer in the “Applaud our volunteers” short, applauding himself. (Hat tip to whoever it was who pointed this out to me).

Up next: The films themselves!


Darren said...

"I just moved my mouth a little." Yep, even on day 10 I thought that was pretty funny. And I loved the old Toronto clips. I liked a couple of those films even better than some of the features I'd paid to see.

I'll now reveal my Secret of the Bader: I really like one row of seats -- just one row in the entire place. Underneath the back balcony there are eight or nine rows that are elevated a foot or two above the main floor. If you get a seat in the front row of that section, you have leg room AND clean sight lines. The Bader's the only place I arrive early and stand in line.

Crunchy Squirrel said...

Yeah, I didn't discover the Secret of the Bader until my last visit. All those years of sitting in the main section, uncomfortable and cramped, when I could have been chilling in the top rows. Such a waste...