Favorite Scenes From The Starz Denver Film Fest

From the jaw-dropping to the gut-wrenching to the tear-inducing to the side-splitting, Donnybrook writers recall their favorite movie moments at the Starz Denver Film Festival. Written by Fritz Godard, Angora Holly Polo, and Brother Antoine von Frankenstein [edited by Father Guido Sarducci IV].

Passenger Side: the tranny hooker jerkoff scene
A movie is a lot like a relationship: you don't want to jump the gun and talk about your foot/anal fetishes on the first date, but sometimes it slips out and if you're lucky you've found a partner in debauchery. There's an early slip-up like that in Passenger Side: Adam Scott is just sitting in his car when a tranny hooker just hops on in and begins jerking it. My initial thought was, "Oh no, not another tranny movie," but the scene plays out with some solid comedy and paves the way for a delightful little film. - Fritz Godard

Best Worst Movie: a "touching" moment
The stage has been set: the elusive director of Troll 2 is back on American soil, still ignorant of the unintentional comedy everyone loves about his film, but that doesn't matter as he holds a reel of his film. He beams about how great it is without a touch of irony, and then he kisses the film and says, "This is what it's all about. I make the films, but I never get to touch them like this." At that point, we see how blind artists are to their creations, which is why I think that last sentence was the best sentence in the history of the Internet, maybe all of recorded time. - Fritz Godard

Harmony & Me: the morning-after song
Harmony had his heart trampled by his ex-girlfriend, so part of the grieving process is *of course* to bang someone he really doesn't like. At all. The next morning he makes a spectacular exit, a goodbye so good that he composes a song about it on his way out. A hazily recollected paraphrasing of their conversation:

"Hey, I got some* in my hair," says the girl.
"I did that on purpose," says Harmony.
"You're a jerk," says the girl.
"Shouldn't you be thankful I didn't murder you?" he says as he's walking out the door.

The phrase just sounds so catchy that he starts singing it to himself and realizes it would make a great song: "You're lucky I didn't murder you." Commentary on the dangers of casual sex in a lively pop music package! - Angora Holly Polo

Cropsey: the missing child in the background scene
The strength of a documentary is directly proportional to how many great scenes it has, and Cropsey is a great documentary. Many chilling moments, but the best one has to be as they are re-opening old cases of missing children and it turns out one of the missing children is in the background of a newscaster on location of another missing child. Such a coincidence is poor writing when the CSI gang has to catch the local serial killer, but when this really happens, it's chilling. - Fritz Godard

Protector (Protektor): Hanna breaks curfew
After the Nazi invasion of Czechoslavakia, Jewish actress Hanna has to stay out of public while her husband Emil, a known voice on national czech radio, plays Nazi propaganda to keep his job safe and wife left alone. Of course Hanna breaks her curfew and on one of her escapades she goes into "Jewish Free" zones while donning the star of David and has a photographer friend take her picture. Although this film deals with very dramatic and somber content, director Marek Najbrt does a brilliant job creating a different feeling. Najbrt delivered dark humor as masterfully as the Coehn brothers or Tarantino. In this scene Hana's character took on an exciting rockstar, devil-may-care personality as she romps around the city. - Brother Antoine von Frankenstein

English Strawberries: drunken pamphlet making
The films main story is between two young Czechs and a funny young Russian soldier who has deserted his squad during the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. However, my favorite moments were between the parents. Specifically the father who is trying to put together anti-Soviet pamphlets. As they get more drunk, he and his friend argue about why he did jail time and his friend was never caught, why people won't read the letters if there are spelling errors, "the human face," and how to work the printing press. - Brother Antoine von Frankenstein

Official Rejection: the Chicago IndieFest
A filmmaker's nightmare: Your film is playing a festival so you make the leap and buy plane tickets to Chicago for the showing -- filmmakers fly out to network, do interviews, and get people to the show. When you get there, absolutely no representatives of the festival are at the office (it's empty), and no one is taking tickets at the theater, so no money is being made. Then it's time for your film to play, and you've worked hard to gather your little audience who is eagerly waiting; and for some stupid reason they aren't playing your movie, the guy who's supposed to play your movie is nowhere to be found, and he's put a stupid girl in his place who tells you: "I can offer the audience free tickets to the next movie if that makes you feel better." (The next movie isn't your movie.) Hundreds of dollars in submission fees and travel, all for no one to see your film. - Angora Holly Polo

Skhizein: frustration in the office
The belle of the festival circuit is hands-down this animated French short about a man struck by a meteor that moves him 19 cm from reality. Best scene in the film is when he's trying to adjust to his new life at work, and he's sitting 19 cm away from his desk in front of a cardboard box with the outline of a typewriter on it. He struggles and his frustration comes to a head when he's bumped and the whole office goes quiet to look at him. - Fritz Godard

Last Conversation: one long crappy scene
How's this for a scene? A woman has a one-sided conversation on a cell phone. Not interesting, you say? Well, that was this whole movie: 73 minutes of a woman talking on her cell phone. What a waste of 25 cameras and an afternoon. Even Lars von Trier has abandoned Dogme 95, can we call this movement dead and move on with cinema? - Fritz Godard

St. John of Las Vegas: the lap dance scene
Steve Buscemi gets a lap dance from a girl in a wheel chair. How is this not on your Netflix queue right now? - Fritz Godard

Who's Afraid of the Wolf? (Kdopak by se vlka bal): naptime advice
This beautiful film is about Terezka, a six-year-old girl in love with the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale. When her parents begin acting strangely and start arguing she wants to understand what is going on but the adults only speak to her in the complicated way adults speak when they don't fully know or want to explain. So, Terezka asks her kindergarten friend Simon during naptime (in whispers so the teacher won't hear) for advice. Simon tells her that there are aliens that live with us and they don't sleep, or bleed, they are very confusing, and they want to take us away (this is shown in a wonderful flashback where Simon is spying through the crack in the door when his parents are watching a movie in the living room. Terezka then comes and sits next to him and asks him questions as he spies through the door). This scene leads to a few other great moments; Terezka telling her mothers friend she doesn't want to go to his planet, Japan; Alien spaceships/water-towers; and Terezka concealing a pair of scissors which she intends to use to test if her parents are alien. - Brother Antoine von Frankenstein

42nd St. River to River: attacked by two hookers
A history of NYC from the vantage point of one (particularly infamous) street. From the Crystal Palace, to the grungy streets and sleezy marquee signs of the porn theaters, to the bright neon billboards and TRLs of today. One story in the intro starts when the guy is talking about how he was attacked by two hookers, "there was a pain in my leg, she had stabbed me with a screwdriver. So i turned around and punched the other hooker in the face..." - Brother Antoine von Frankenstein

Son of the Sunshine: the earthquake-inducing orgasm
Apparently sleeping with someone who has supernatural healing powers has its perks, as the lucky girl Ariel finds out when she sleeps with Sonny, causing the entire room to shiver and pulsate, objects falling off the shelves in one gigantic earthquake-gasm. - Angora Holly Polo

The Predator: that one stupid scene
A Colorado short written by a member of The Fray. In one scene, a woman stands looking at Lakeside from a fence while her brother is waiting in a truck on the side of the road. When she gets in the truck, the brothers asks her what that was all about. But the real question should've been, "Why the eff are we on the side of the road just outside of an amusement park, and why would you get out of the car in the first place?" This film was just as confusing as the popularity of The Fray. - Fritz Godard

St. Nick: the cool scene with the girl on guitar
Of course this film about young kids (think young enough to be our kids) on the run, hiding out and trying to make it on their own, has a ton of great scenes; but the most memorable is when the brother spies on a girl playing a hauntingly good song on her guitar. Then he looks at her and says, "I like that song."- Fritz Godard

Sacred Places: Jackie Chan at 7:00
In poverty-stricken Africa, a small Cine Club shows films for a dime on a TV that would collect dust at a Goodwill stateside. The owner of the club looks over a suitcase full of bootleg DVDs and decides to show a Jackie Chan movie at 7:00 and save the Wesley Snipes film until 8:30. - Fritz Godard

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans: Nicholas Cage roughing-up an old women / Herzog's lizard cam
From legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog, this film had two of my favorite scenes from the festival. In one, Nicholas Cage removes the oxygen tube from an old lady's nose to get information from the woman's caretaker. Continuing to threaten the two older women, he pulls a gun on them, not just because they won't tell him what he wants to know but also because they are alive and wasting everyone's money. (Herzog's acting advice to Cage for the film was "release the pig")

In the other scene, which I'm sure you will read about in any coverage of this film, is Herzog's lizard cam. While Cage is messed-up on drugs at a police stake-out he sees two iguanas on a desk. Herzog filmed, in extreme close-up, the two iguanas staring into the camera. The unblinking lizards creep around to the sounds of Johnny Adams' "Release Me" and you start to see the resemblance between the creatures and the maniacal cop. Herzog is said to have held the shot as long as he could while the iguanas clawed him bloody. - Brother Antoine von Frankenstein