Sketchfest Review: The Doug Benson Movie Interruptions: Twilight at the Castro Theatre, 2/9/2013

by Stacy Scales on February 11, 2013

Best.  Saturday afternoon.  EVER.

Best. Saturday afternoon. EVER.

Can you think of any way to spend a Saturday afternoon that’s more fun than in a crowded Castro Theatre with everyone’s favorite stoner and funny man Doug Benson making snide and silly comments over some of pop culture’s most fun (and fun to trash) films? I couldn’t either. Announce that, among films like Anaconda, Catwoman, and The Notebook, he planned to also poke fun at the hilariously and fabulously terrible Twilight, and I was putting my shoes on. Throw in that he was bringing in big comedy guns Greg Behrendt, Patton Oswalt, Michael Ian Black, and Zach Galifianakis, and I’m the first one to arrive. (Well, not really…it’s really hard to find parking in the Castro. I actually missed the introduction and had to sit on the floor. But I digress.)

Now then, I often write reviews that are something of a play-by-play…but even if I could’ve taken notes of every last thing they said, I didn’t. (Hey, you try simultaneously watching, laughing, scribbling in the dark while four funny dudes make wisecracks over a movie that always makes you giggle! Also, it’s nearly impossible to know whose voice is whose in the dark when you can’t see who’s talking. Thankfully, at least Zach’s voice is mostly distinguishable.) Having said that, I did take copious notes as best I could, so as to bring you some of the best highlights from the event, in case you weren’t so fortunate as I to have been in attendance. Hang on tight, it’s a long movie: I didn’t get/include every last comment, but wow does it drag on and on for a while! I’ve brought you the best moments I could capture. Oh, and it should be noted that there were several times when all of our comedic hosts fell silent and just watched for a few moments – even so, the film is funny enough in its own right that the crowd was laughing with no commentary at all. So there’s that.

During the cafeteria scene where Bella (Kristen Stewart) first lays eyes on the Cullen clan, an expected cheer rose out of the audience at the first shot of Robert Pattinson. ZG: “I’m starting to think that guy is hiding a secret!” Shortly thereafter (could’ve been anybody), directed at Kristen Stewart: “are you fucking the director on this one, or is that later?” Zing! When finally our soon-to-be lovebirds have their first (terribly awkward conversation), as Bella explains that she doesn’t really like any “cold wet thing,” ZG shouts “leave it alone! It’s low hanging fruit, just leave it alone!” to which, of course, we were roaring more than if any of them had actually made the obvious comments. When someone commented that the “extras are better actors” than the main cast, I laughed…mostly because I can’t help but agree!

One of the many themes to which the comics kept returning was how boring they find the script/film to be overall. During the aforementioned scene in biology class where Bella & Edward first talk, someone snarked, “that microscope just fell asleep, guys!” When Bella asks Edward about the change in his eye color, he abruptly turns and walks away in one of the most awkward cinematic moments I can remember. This prompted one of the comedians to insert that he “just forgot his lines!”

In the scene where Bella and her friends go to La Push Beach, there was an amazing, impromptu (duh) slow and sad little Beach Boys’ moment: mostly “Surfin’ Safari,” but then a little “In My Room” thrown in for good measure. Later, when Bella goes to Port Angeles with the girls to buy a book, someone gleefully shouted, “oh finally, a rape scene!” Bella is approached by menacing-looking guys from all sides when – of course – Edward appears from nowhere, tells her to get in the car, and chases them away with only a threatening look. Or, as someone suggested, “SBD!” More jests about the awkward dialogue between the two main characters, as many of the scenes involve many pauses, grunting, sighing, and Kristen Stewart’s ever-off-putting rapid eye blinking (commentary mine). Finally, the first touch: Bella reaches for the stereo in Edward’s car just as he does, and for a moment, their fingers touch. She gasps as a comic interrupts: “don’t fuck with the count’s presets…ah, ha, ha” in a fantastically campy impression of Sesame Street‘s Count von Count.

When Edward & Bella meet at school and wander off into the woods, Galifianakis quips, “you know they have bathrooms at the school!” Better still, when Edward says, “ask me the most basic question: what do we eat?!” the shout immediately answered, “pussy!” (ZG) As the moment of the big sparkly revelation approaches, the guys joke about the “big shaft of sunlight” Edward stands in, saying “look at my shaft!” and singing something about Xanadu. I also heard something about his secret being that he’s Ke$ha, that he “over moisturized,” and that “ProActiv is literally amazing!” When Edward says he’s “designed to kill,” someone added, “but I’m dressed to strut!” When Edward tells Bella she has to tell him what she’s thinking: “that you’re this generation’s Andrew McCarthy?” Then come the comments again about the slow-moving dialogue and boring plot: “later that same day!” and better still, “I guess he’s got forever, so he moves pretty slow.” Just as the two are seemingly about to kiss for the first time, the camera cuts away, prompting Galifianakis to say “worst camera guy in the world,” which would becoming another theme in the show’s commentary. Somehow, abruptly, the scene moves to a meadow, and ZG continues to chastise the terrible cameraman: “if you miss the mutual masturbation…” “He’s a Swarovski crystal!” someone shouts, and as the camera begans to pan higher and higher above the couple laying in their lovely meadow, Galifianakis insists that a “falcon stole the camera!”

As Bella contemplates the situation alone in her room, ZG insists that “she should just try cutting.” Bella peers out the window to see Edward below, leaning against his car, waiting. “Your ride’s here!” someone says, as someone else sighs, “oh, Ferris!” The couple walk together from the parking lot to school, their first outing as a couple; everyone stares. Bella’s friend Angela (Christian Serratos) says “oh. my. GOD!” ZG: “this was before ‘OMG’ was invented!” When Bella tells Edward, “everyone’s staring!” ZG scolds, “get over yourself!” The scene changes, and Edward explains that his family’s little “joke” is that they call themselves “vegetarians” because they don’t eat humans. “They’re vegetarians because they only feed on animals?” Someone questions, and the room erupts in laughter. “Also, we use the wrong words for a lot of stuff…”

At Bella’s home, Harry (Graham Greene) and Jacob (Taylor Lautner in a ridiculous wig) show up to watch the first Mariners game on Charlie’s (Billy Burke) flat-screen tv: “stop calling my chest a flat screen!” Inside the Cullen home for the first time, it’s hard not to notice “there are so many reflective surfaces! Vampires love that!” There’s also a big cross, “you’re not a conventional vampire – I get it!” (ZG) Inside Edward’s room, Bella comments “you have so much music” to a laughably tiny collection of “like, thirty CDs!” When Edward zooms out of the open window with Bella, someone quips, “what vampire power is that?” while someone else adds, “my safe word is boredom!” and Zach suggests “share the fantasy – chanel number five!” as the camera pans to a high aerial shot. “Did every 80s video sue this film?!” (I think that was Black.)

When Bella’s friend Mike (Michael Welch) says he doesn’t like her dating Edward, someone interjects “fuck you!” A moment later, the book’s author has a cameo and I wait, hoping someone will say something appropriate for the woman I refer to as “the worst writer in the history of ever.” A beat passes. Nothing. “That was the fucking writer right there!” Galifianakis shouts as it dawns on him and I laugh. “FUCK YOU!” The theatre erupts in laughter and applause, but perhaps no one is more thrilled by this comment than I.

Bella talks to her mom about her stepdad’s spring training (which apparently mom has to be physically present for?) and asks “are you being safe!?” “Which hole are you using?” one of the comics adds. When Bella wakes to find Edward standing over her bed like a dirty creeper, he admits “I like watching you sleep,” and someone fills in, “that got me tased in summer camp!” When Edward finally approaches Bella for their first kiss, he tells her not to move and leans in, painfully, absurdly slow. “You wanna go to Burning Man?” someone asks, probably to break the expected tension of the overdrawn moment. “Slower… slower… this is how Sting does it!” Galifianakis insists, adding “crystal balls indeed!” when Edward throws himself back against the wall to control himself. When Bella curls up to Edward in her sleep, someone comments “I’m comforted by not hearing your heart.”

When Bella asks Charlie to meet Edward, he just happens to be cleaning his rifle…”while drinking!” He meets Edward reluctantly as someone adds dialogue: “put ‘er there, Dracko!” and “you guys gonna have a vampire weekend?” During everyone’s favorite awful baseball scene, ZG shouts “are you fucking kidding me?! Are they playing baseball? This is terrible!” When the human-eating enemy vampire gang shows up, someone quips “finally, some cheerleaders!” Alice (Ashley Greene) yells “STOP!” to her family, someone brilliantly adds “Hammer time!” which resulted in the expected roar of laughter from the audience. Laurent (Edi Gathegi) leads his crew to the Cullens, all long braided extensions, bare chest and red contact lenses, prompting someone to start singing “Blame it on the Rain…” The two groups face each other and for a moment, no one speaks. “What do we do now, just stare?” a comedian asks.

These guys have picked up on something interesting that I didn’t notice when I saw this movie in the past: Charlie drinks a lot. Unless he’s working, he probably has a big can of beer (or two) within reach. It was a source of several jokes throughout the afternoon. For example, when Bella returns home to pack and go on the run for her life, Charlie tries to talk her into staying. “We could both start drinking!” She leaves anyway, of course, and is driving down the road when Edward jumps onto her truck, opens the door, and very casually takes over control of the wheel. “Could you not sneak up on me when I’m going sixty-five miles an hour, please?” A second later, Emmett (Kellan Lutz) does the same thing, jumping into the truck bed. “And you too!” Then there’s more mocking the awkward, stuttering conversations that incessantly transpire between the two lovebirds. Back at Cullen manor, Edward professes “Bella, you are my life now,” prompting someone to say, “whoa! Don’t you wanna fuck me first?!”

During the scenes where evil tracker vampire James (Cam Gigandet) hunts Bella, the guys are mostly quiet as they watch, but I’m overwhelmed by how terrible his acting is. Seriously, what is it about this particular series that makes even decent actors (okay, there aren’t many involved, I get it) absolutely awful? There are several people associated with this project that I find to be quite likable who are just rubbish in these films; I suppose it’s just because the book/script/direction is all so bad, what could have be done with it to make it palatable? Anyway, back to Bella in a hotel with Alice and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone). Alice has a vision about a room full of mirrors and draws a sketch “the director’s storyboards?” someone asks, as Bella inflicts more of her awful blinking and sighing act on us. When the scene cuts to the ballet school, someone accurately comments that it’s the “biggest ballet school I’ve ever seen!” Zach Galifianakis sings the theme from Flashdance and they go quiet again for a few moments, until Bella sprays James in the face with her pepper spray. “That did nothing!” (ZG) “If she has to act her way out of this, she’s doomed!”

When the gang shows up to destroy James and save Bella, Alice smells her blood and says “Oh God.” “She’s on her period,” someone quips, and everyone laughs. “A tampon. Someone get me a tampon!” Apparently, Bella’s femoral artery has been severed, says Carlisle (Peter Facinelli)…so why exactly does she manage not to bleed out in a matter of moments? Oh, because it’s terrible fiction written by someone who knows nothing about whatever she chooses to include her story? Oh, okay. Bella lays there, infected with James’ vampire “venom” (that’s a new one for vamp-lore lovers like me), not bleeding out though a major artery has been severed, cross-eyed and convulsing, but she’s gonna make it. Meanwhile, the Cullens tear James limb from limb and start a fire to “burn the pieces.” “Time for s’mores!” (ZG again.) Someone mentions something about the “adult contemporary nightmare,” bringing a rather large laugh from the crowd before adding “coming up next, the band Train!” (MIB, I think.)

Edward pretends to sleep in Bella’s hospital room while mom Renee (Sarah Clarke) talks to her. “You lost the baby!” “There’s no more Myspace!” “How am I gonna keep up with Dane Cook now?” (That one got a surprisingly big response – is there some rivalry I don’t know about?) Bella’s oxygen tube somehow makes her look still cross-eyed, and someone suggests she should just relax and inhale her “nitrous oxide.” “I had a really good time in Forks! The worst part of it was…my acting!” When Bella and Edward are alone, there’s more awfully awkward blinking and pauses in between words, and when Edward leans in to kiss her on the forehead, a comic makes a fantastic slurping sound (ZG, I believe).

As the film winds down, Edward arrives to pick Bella up for the prom. She explains that Alice lent her the dress. “You look like shit in it.” “Have fun at prom with your vampire boyfriend!” (Someone imparting dialogue for Charlie.) “You’re smiling? Is the gate of hell opening?!” “Be sure to say hi to Peggy Sue at the old people prom!” When the couple stops to pose for their prom photo, “say cold penis!” “I haven’t had this much fun since I took Eleanor Roosevelt to her prom!” The great thing about Twilight movies, Benson says, is “that they take forever, so you can really relate to Edward and his immortality.” “You are sixteen, going on seventeen…” someone quipped from The Sound of Music as Bella and Edward slow-dance awkwardly in the prom’s outdoor gazebo. ZG says that they’re putting the “‘gay’ in ‘gay-zebo,'” but somebody else (MIB, I think) insists that it’s the “‘zzzz’ in gazebo!” They take turns shouting at the supposedly threatening appearance of Victoria (Rachelle LaFevre) at the prom as the film ends, and the theatre erupts again in applause.

I left the venue ecstatic. Honestly, I’d forgotten how much fun it can be to watch a terrible movie and poke fun at it with others that make you laugh. Because this series was such a big deal, I read it to see what all the fuss was about. I admit, I really enjoyed the first book and film. The series got progressively worse and worse, and it’s now safely nestled among my top ten worst ever (see above comment about Stephenie Meyer). I’ll go on record and say that I’ve found Robert Pattinson to be crap in these films, but good in many others, which I must just chalk up to the overwhelming stink of the Twilight series. So would I go again? HELL YES, and in a heartbeat. I’d even see this movie with these guys again: that was awesome! When’s next?

Stacy Scales

California native. Therapist. Word nerd. Music lover. Linguaphile. Amateur foodie. Basketball junkie. Travel enthusiast.

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