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):
BEST THEATRE: AMC
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.
WORST THEATRE: Elgin
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.
BEST SEATS: AMC
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.
BEST THEATRE FOOD: AMC
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).
WORST THEATRE FOOD: Scotiabank
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!
WORST STREETCAR: Spadina
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:
BEST TORONTO FILM EXCERPT:
"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.
BEST DETAIL TO MAKE WATCHING ALL THESE SHORTS LESS IRRITATING:
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!