Greg’s 2011 TIFF Report: Day 1

When the leaves begin to change and people start wearing jackets it can only mean one thing. It’s September and it’s time for TIFF. 9 days of films, plus 3 concerts and a football game to cap it all off. Oskee wee wee.

I headed up to Toronto on Thursday afternoon. I’ve realized it’s best to take the train into town, so I don’t have to pay for parking, plus it’s really not that much of a burden. On the train ride up, I was looking at the route map for the train service and looking at all the different routes and station names. Apparently, on the Richmond Hill route there’s a station stop named “Old Cummer”. I would not want to get off at that station. Gotta watch your step.

I also spotted the emergency tool compartment. No, that’s not where they put The Situation, but in fact where they put the things you need in case the train derails or if there’s a mutiny. There’s an axe and a saw in there. No gun. There goes my chance at living out my Source Code fantasy. If you haven’t seen the movie then it sure sounds like I’ve got a thing for Jake Gyiohahfohall. I do not, however, did you see his sister in Secretary? Dirty, dirty.

I had to go to the TIFF box office to pick up all of my tickets and there were a fuck load of people there. In four different lines. Ugh, I knew I’d have to seek out a volunteer. The volunteer experience is a crap shoot. You either get a power hungry douchebag, a complete and total idiot or on the rare occasion a sensible person, like my friend Jill. Jill is not volunteering this year, so I knew I was fucked. The first volunteer was about 90 years old and apparently straight out of his starring role as John Wayne’s jailhouse guard in Rio Bravo. My God, this is going to be brutal.

There were two lines for TIFF members like me: one for picking up tickets and one for making exchanges. I had to do both and the old man said I had to go in one line and then go into the other after. No way. No fucking way. I asked one of the power hungry people with a headset and found out I could pick up and exchange in one line. This took forever, by the way. Every year the technology gets better, but the ticket process at TIFF gets fucking worse.

I had to book it to the Ryerson theatre to make my 6pm movie. As I exited the subway station at Yonge and College, I saw what used to be a Cinnabon. This Cinnabon was in the worst place for someone who could live in a Cinnabon. It’s right when you exit the station before going up the escalator to get outside. You go from smelling grease, B.O., and stale urine in one instance to the sweet smell of cinnamon and sugar. The Cinnabon was closed down. Since I’m on a diet, that made me happy. Suck it, Cinnabon!

My first film was the new documentary from Werner Herzog called Into the Abyss. Herzog interviewed a bunch of death row inmates until he found one with a story. The inmate was a young kid named Michael Kelly, who had been convicted of killing three people for a Corvette. Corvettes aren’t that nice, but I digress. He had admitted to the crimes and led police to find two of the bodies so he was rightfully convicted and sentenced to death row in Texas. Herzog spends time interviewing police and showing crime scene footage and he interviews the families of the victims.

One thing that Herzog does that I thought was very powerful was that while interviewing the families he always had them hold photos of the deceased. He keeps handing them different pictures and asking them about the photos and he gets a ton of real emotion out of these people considering the crime is now ten years old. Herzog also interviews a prison guard that helped perform over 120 lethal injections. Not one person in the movie has a real argument for the use of capital punishment. It was an awesome movie and Herzog does the best voiceovers with his accent.

I also got to tell an old man to shut his phone off during the film. Nothing irritates me more than when people fucking text during the movie. Especially here. Stop texting!!! I can be mean and intimidating to old people and children all day long.

I’m certain I had my first celebrity sighting Thursday. I’m positive I saw Gil Gerard. He played Buck Rogers on TV. Is he still alive? Strangely enough, it was on Gerrard St.

I had some time to kill before my next film, so I went to a sports bar and watched the Packers/Saints game. What an awesome game. I don’t think the bartender was too happy that I ordered water, but I did eat some chicken, so all is good, I guess.

The other film I watched was the first Midnight Madness film this year and it was an Indonesian martial arts/action film called The Raid. It was about a team of strategic force unit police officers who raid a drug kingpins apartment complex to try and take him out. This movie was overloaded with action. Bullets, machetes, knives, elbows, knees, punches and an insane amount of kicks to the face. This movie was crazy. There were some extended hand to hand combat scenes that went on and on and just got more and more intense. It was pretty kickass. If you like action films and you get a chance to check it out, do it. Seriously.

One final thing: people in the audiences at TIFF are still doing this annoying pirate thing before movies start. Once the programmers give their speech about sponsors, they used to say stuff about anti-piracy laws and some fuckers started doing this ‘arrrggghhhh’ thing. It got huge the last couple of years, but it’s always been very annoying cause new people to TIFF fucking laugh at it and people think they are justified. Fuck that. It’s been 4 years or so. Let it fucking go, assholes.

3 documentaries Friday. Let’s hope they’re good!

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  • Had no idea Herzog had another film already. This guy never stops, I love it.

  • kyri

    a 90year old volunteer? you are joking right?

  • curtis talls

    This was a really funny report. I’m so jealous you got to see ‘Into the Abyss’ can’t wait for it to hit NYC.

  • Kasper

    That pirate thing sounds like the type of idiocy that’d ruin an entire movie for me as I’d spend the whole time being pissed off.

  • rob

    great writing as ever greg :) you should post more often if you ever get the chance!

  • Falsk

    Yessss. Another wonderful week of Greg stories. LOVE IT.

  • Awesome report, as always. Very entertaining :)

    “That pirate thing sounds like the type of idiocy that’d ruin an entire movie for me as I’d spend the whole time being pissed off.”

    Me too, man. Not to mention that the idiots that do that are likely to be the kind of idiots to make so-called smart ass comments during the movie, loud enough for everyone to hear and have just enough other fucking idiots in the theater to laugh at it and make THESE fucking idiots think they’re actually funny so they keep doing it, thus prolonging my pissed-offness.

  • projectgenesis

    I always love Greg’s TIFF reports. As a die hard Colts fan, having Peyton Manning out for the season will have me paying much much more attention to film this Fall.

  • indianamcclain

    I really want to see The Raid, I’ve heard so many good things about it already.

  • Jill

    It is a well-known fact that Gil Gerrard is not allowed to leave Gerrard St. when visiting Toronto.

    Also, thanks for the would-have-been real estate tip. When I finally realized my lifelong dream of becoming a bum, I would have been sure to avoid setting up shop in this Cinnabon. Mmmm Cinnabon. Actually, living in a Cinnabon is probably not a bad idea, bum or not. I’m hungry.

  • Swarez

    Interesting side note (well to me anyway) I designed the poster for The Raid.

  • Steini

    Nice Report and nice that you got to watch the Saints @ Packers game. Due to the fact that the game was played in the middle of the night in Germany I fell asleep during the second half and just woke up before the final play happened :D