The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is continuing to celebrate its 10th anniversary in downtown today with a lineup of events including magic shows, kindie rock concerts, hands-on art-making activities, free film screenings and more.
Along with the rest of the festivities, tonight will mark the debut performance of The Movie Clubbed, who will provide live comedy commentary accompanying the 1974 film “Zardoz” at 8 tonight at the museum’s Noble Theater, 415 Couch Drive.
Performing tonight as The Movie Clubbed will be Greg Elwell, Rod Lott, Richard York and Brian Winkeler. The group also includes local stand-up comedian Spencer Hicks, but he won’t be participating tonight due to a previous engagement, or maybe that’s just an excuse to avoid seeing Sean Connery in his infamous “Zardoz” “man-kini” one more time.
“We are a group of like-minded gentlemen who very much enjoy taking bad, bad movies and making fun of them,” Elwell said. “We’re the kind of guys who like it when you talk during the movie, as long as it’s a bad movie. … I mean, there’s only so much merry-making you can have with ‘The Seven Samurai’ because everybody wants to actually watch it because it’s a great movie.”
On the other hand, he believes “Zardoz” definitely qualifies as a bad movie deserving of a good clubbing, just as he believes that writer-director John Boorman, hot off his Oscar-nominated, box-office hit success of “Deliverance,” “probably was enjoying, I’d say, a fair number of psychotropic drugs along with free rein of the studio” while making it.
Attendees to Saturday’s screening will have to make do with the free Stella Artois pour in the museum lobby from 7 to 8 p.m., and Elwell recommends responsible imbibing before the infamous box-office bomb drops.
“It’s really, really awful. As someone who has seen it, what is it now, five to six times start to finish, I can tell you, yes, it is a real piece of work,” he said, adding that he and his cohorts have been practicing their Connery impersonations in preparation for tonight’s event.
In the satirical spirit of “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” the group will work from a script that leaves plenty of room for improvisation. Elwell said he has been instructed to leave his puppets at home, so there won’t be any of that.
Honestly, as bad is “Zardoz” is, there won’t be a need for any more potentially traumatizing visual spectacle. Besides Connery’s revealing getup, there’s lots of bizarre, gratuitous nudity and even more bizarre costumes.
“A image of Sean Connery dressed in the man-kini is not even the worst thing for me anymore. It’s the fashions inside Vortex 4 in general: how many macramé tops and skorts can the gentlemen wear before you have to ask ‘why?’” Elwell said.
Then, of course, there’s Zardoz himself, the giant floating stone god head who dispenses firearms along with the admonition that “The gun is good. The penis is evil.” Although he’s just begging to be brutally mocked, Elwell said he’s not above praying to Zardoz if that will help exorcise the images of Boorman’s film from his tormented mind.
“I think it will be kind of like the reverse of what you saw in ‘The Clockwork Orange’: I’m gonna be clamping my eyes shut and doing a lot of meditation. I’m not a religious guy, but I assume that I’ll cycle through three or four of the major religions, and whichever deity can help me out in getting rid of this particular (vision) of Sean Connery’s Dupont Stainmaster-carpeted chest and back, I might stick with that one for awhile,” Elwell said.
“I’ll tell you what, I’m not gonna lie: Giant stone head Zardoz is in the running. He’s a long shot, certainly. But if somehow old ‘gun is good, penis is bad’ Zardoz gets me there, then, you know, all hail Zardoz.”
Tonight’s event is sold out, but Elwell isn’t sure that all the seats will still be occupied by the time the final credits roll.
“Much like in ‘The Princess Bride,’ with the icocane powder, we’ve been taking this and have built up a certain immunity, I would be surprised if there are more members of the audience left than in The Movie Clubbed by the end. If there are still two or three people that can survive this, I will be impressed,” Elwell said.
“It’s interesting though … we are surprised at the numbers of people who have told us that they sincerely like ‘Zardoz,’ have watched it many times, used to watch it with their dads. It was a staple of that sort of Channel 43, UHF afternoon weekend movies, which is insane considering how much of the original print is just weird nudity.”
If you happen to meet one of these people who love “Zardoz,” Elwell suggests making “Zardoz”-related small talk about forced farming, home decorating inside a large stone head and growing a scraggly, greasy man-ponytail while slowly backing toward the nearest door – and then running.
Also, he recommends keeping an eye out for possible future The Movie Clubbed events. After all, there are lots and lots of bad movies out there.
“I think the five of us really enjoy hanging out and doing this, and if it turns out that people enjoy it and would want to see more of The Movie Clubbed, it’s certainly something we would be willing to explore,” he said.
“That said, if it bombs big, I have no doubt that you will find the five of us perusing through the last sale bin of your local Blockbuster looking for some particularly egregious films to just hang out and make fun of privately.”
For more information on the rest of the OKC Museum of Art’s weekend festivities, go to www.okcmoa.com.