This Thursday, the comedian, actor, writer, and film enthusiast Patton Oswalt will visit our fair city when he brings his stand-up act to The North Charleston Performing Arts Center. If you haven’t caught his latest stand-up, 2017’s Annihilation, streaming on Netflix, check it out. It’s pretty funny and significantly poignant.
Editor’s note: Patton Oswalt’s appearance was cancelled due to Hurricane Dorian, watch this space for a rescheduled date.
As much as I, like a lot of folks, am a fan of his stage work and work in the recently renewed A.P. Bio, I’m as much a fan of his book Silver Screen Fiend and his enthusiasm for all aspects of film in general. If it weren’t for his monologue about Death Bed: The Bed That Eats, I’d never know about that little 1977 gem. So I jumped at the chance to do a phone interview with him. The bad thing about interviewing someone whose work you admire is that you can get tongue-tied or even so nervous you forget to do the basics any journalist should do. While it’s never happened in the past, it definitely happened in my interview with Patton Oswalt.
I didn’t properly vet a source regarding the fate of Jerry Lewis’ unreleased Holocaust film, The Day The Clown Cried and Oswalt rightfully called it out. In this age of alternative facts, saying “well I saw it on Reddit” is about as ill-advised as an overnight stay at the Bates Motel.
Anyhoo, in between stops on his tour that will next take him to Charlotte, Oswalt let me harangue him with a few film-related questions. The “ums” and “ers” in the stammering interviewer’s questions have been removed for the reader’s sanity.
Have you been here before?
I can’t remember. I know I’ve been to South Carolina, but I can’t remember what cities, you know. Yeah. I must’ve been, I don’t know if I have been to North Charleston, but I liked South Carolina.
You recently made a guest appearance on Red Letter Media’s Best Of The Worst where you watched three movies, including one called Demon Cop. Was it as bad as it seemed?
It truly was that awful. It was this nonlinear, just kind of brain-killing math. I don’t know how else to describe it. It was brutal. I enjoyed watching it with those guys, but if I had been watching it by myself, I don’t think I would’ve made it all the way through it. It was a 90-minute movie that felt like it was like six hours long. It was so bad.
In the past, you’ve done curations for Turner Classic Movies channel and you did one for The New Beverly in Los Angeles. I was curious what it takes to curate a good movie marathon.
They’ve got to be movies I’m really enthusiastic about that, you know, if I’m introducing them to stuff that I want to talk about. And, I think what’s really fun about movie curation is when you can show movies, where there’s like a connection between the movies that you wouldn’t normally see. Like you see an inspiration for one thing to the other and you can kind of trace the line of creativity through films. That’s always a great door — to do movies that are from a certain era so (the audience) would get a sense of what people were thinking and feeling during that time, reflected through the kind of pop culture that they were putting out. That’s always interesting too, I mean, there are a million different angles to approach movies or music or art or any kind of curation from, it just depends on, you know, what mood you’re in.
We’re losing celluloid film in theaters. We’re down to just revival houses. Do you have a preference for film?
Obviously because that’s the memory that I have of film, but I can’t dictate anyone else’s going experience. I wish, obviously they would stay with film. I don’t think there’s anything sharper than light through celluloid and I have that personal thing of like, you hear the whir of the projector in the background. That’s a very comforting memory, but I also have to resign myself to facts. There are some people that that doesn’t really land with them the way that it landed with me. So, you know, it’ll be my little thing that I love and hopefully there will always be a rep theater somewhere that’ll show something I can watch, you know?
If you had a movie, if you had a movie that you could think of and you were able to in some way, shape or form, however, magically be able to sit down and talk to Donald Trump, would there be a movie that you would say, hey, you should watch this.
I don’t think he has the concentration to sit and absorb a film. I don’t think he’s ever read a book. You know, his favorite movie is Bloodsport and he makes people fast forward through the dialogue. He doesn’t have abstract thought, so I don’t think that you can change his mind with art. Or, maybe you could change his heart, but you’ll never change his mind…in terms of a, like a sociopath like that, I don’t think that would work.
Patton Oswalt — *Postponed. $65+. North Charleston Performing Arts Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive. North Charleston. northcharlestoncoliseumpac.com