Category Archives: Drinking the Kool-aid
We explore what makes cult films so darn awesome.
Ah yes, high school – a volatile time where adolescents believe they are at the cusp of adulthood, while simultaneously thinking only of the present with little regard to consequence. Unless you’re our protagonist, Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord) – she has everything worked out. Pauline doesn’t have many friends and she doesn’t seem to mind. She has better things to do and much to learn, considering all she wants in her life is to become a surgeon. What’s a better way to focus her hematolagniac fantasies?
Excision features a protagonist unlike any other, namely because she is neither male nor a vampire. This is a teenage girl who loves blood, but fortunately she wants to help people, if only her parents would understand. More so, she recognizes that she has some psychosexual delusions and she would like to work them out. Though she begs for psychiatric guidance, her disapproving mother (ex-porn star and John Waters collaborator Traci Lords) simply pushes religion and cotillion – both of which Pauline sadistically exploits.
For once, we have a weird girl protagonist that is legitimately weird. That’s a good thing: Pauline’s not evil by any means, nor is she incredibly annoying or promiscuous in that “geek girl” manner. Okay, so she has retaliation issues, so what? Not all of us can handle awkward situations as well as the next person. And in the end, she decides to put her well, bloodlust, to good use. In a twisted sort of way – but with good intent.
What makes Excision a cult hit in my mind is just what I’ve been going on about: an original character-based story with striking visuals, and that’s just weird enough to make you feel a little uncomfortable while throwing in some humor. And it’s also underrated. Of course, a story like this does not go without fault; considering high tensions are only built between Pauline and her mother, the father and younger sister characters are about as dynamic as a pancake (still thicker than a crepe) at best. Likewise, Excision also suffers from this ongoing fad of the anti-ending. Although this film leaves much to be desired, the ride’s still pretty intense.
Personally, I feel as if cult classic Donnie Darko has received more than enough recognition as that, a cult classic. Not that it doesn’t deserve it. However, I feel that its all-grown-up cousin film Southland Tales deserves similar cult status. Much like Darko, we’re dealing with the time paradoxes and end of the world – only this time with sex, drugs, and government conspiracies.
After twin nuclear attacks in Texas in 2005, the country has fallen into disarray, and World War III has begun. Our story focuses on three men: an actor, Boxer Santaros (Dwayne Johnson) and identical twins Roland and Ronald Taverner (Sean William Scott) and their collision between government agencies, neo-Marxist groups, and a new energy source known as Fluid Karma – thanks to an ex-porn star called Krysta Now (Sarah Michelle Gellar). Confused? That’s okay, because we have reciting vet Justin Timberlake to talk us through everything by means of allegory.
It’s understandable that a film like this can easily fly over a person’s head. It even took me a couple of watches just to get the full picture. This does not mean that I wasn’t the least bit entertained. The performances are earnest as well as over-the-top, creating caricatures of everyday media icons while simultaneously mocking the infotainment industry of our time. On the other hand, some of the situations and dialogue are just too ludicrous – but that’s okay! We’re given a reality that allows us to accept these things. I mean, we’re dealing with the end of the world here – I think a little suspension of disbelief is not too much to ask.
As mentioned, there is a massive ensemble of actors in this picture, and about twice as many cameos – many are beloved SNL alumni. Even Frank the Bunny makes a couple appearances. Additionally, these performances are equally matched by fantastic videography and a score by Moby, creating a most electric atmosphere for this confusion and chaos.
Southland Tales did not receive much recognition…or positive reviews for that matter, but I believe that there’s some sort of oddball charm to this feature. It may not capture the youthful, withdrawn nature of Donnie Darko, but it also doesn’t deserve to be held back by such a comparison. A genuine sci-fi for our time, complete with Orwellian undertones, Southland Tales is a cult classic waiting to happen. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
Beyond the Black Rainbow is essentially the Canadian lovechild that occurred after Kubrick and Cronenberg had an epic hookup while listening to some trance – then David Lynch popped by to say “hi.” Check this out –
Unfortunately, this lovechild didn’t really pop out as perfectly as that glorious trifecta would imply – but I’ll get to that later.
The plot, what little we have, revolves around the dynamic between Dr. Barry Nyle and Elena within the realm of the Aboria Institute circa 1980. As somewhat established, the Institute was built to help reach transcendence through science – Elena being the only proof of this phenomenon. Meanwhile Barry, Aboria’s #1 guy, lives a rather asinine existence – part putting up with his stuporous wife, part tormenting Elena simply because he can. Really though, Barry’s contempt for Elena stems from a deep-rooted jealousy, that she was in fact the only arguably “successful” outcome of Aboria’s treatments. Barry on the other hand, is a monster. After his exposure to Aboria’s…techniques, Barry is rendered a psychopath most fragile – a violent madman behind a composed facade.
After a round of hazing most cruel, Elena is soon set free by one of the Institute’s underlings, beginning her escape through Aboria’s labyrinth. Almost simultaneously, Barry strips away his disguise, revealing the creature Aboria unintentionally created. Finally accepting his true identity, Barry relentlessly hunts Elena dies as she rediscovers the world around her.
How can this story be almost two hours long? Mind-bending cinematography at a snail’s pace, that’s how. Not that it’s a bad thing – sure was a lot more fun to watch than Tree of Life. This picture is so beautifully filmed – sitting through it is a sometimes disturbing, but absolutely sublime experience. So while you’re given plenty of time to digest possible themes (and there are a few – control and identity, for instance), your eyeballs are subjected to all sorts of pleasures. I suppose I could also describe Beyond the Black Rainbow as a really long, glorified music video, but really I’d like to give director Panos Cosmatos (if that is your real name) more credit than that.
As mentioned, there is a downside: the style outweighs the substance. Did it really need to be two hours long? No, not really. Though Cosmatos even mentions that the “hypnotic” pace was deliberate in order to create this self-described trance sub-genre, on found it’s far too easy to space out on the visuals than to piece together a coherent theme or themes. Again, such is the risk of creating a two-hour trance music video. On the upside, this warrants multiple viewings if so desired. Despite this, Beyond the Black Rainbow is definitely worth your time, if you’re up for it.
It would seem Beyond the Black Rainbow does not have the cult film recognition it deserves. Perhaps it’s not old enough, or maybe because it’s one of those sneaky Canadian films that, like so many, were swept under the radar. The world may never know.
Hobo with a Shotgun was one of those movies that I knew I would fall in love with as soon as I heard the title. And guess what – I friggen love this movie. At first, it seems like this movie might be destined for failure, only because it looks like the type that will simply try too hard to be edgy and gross. Personally, I don’t think so.
The story of Hobo with a Shotgun begins with our protagonist, a nameless hobo, entering a wrecked city once known as “Hope Town,” aptly renamed to “Scum Town.” As Hobo trudges through, he is quickly introduced to the depravity and corruption that makes Scum Town ticked, and finds himself outraged that such inhumanity can exist. After befriending a mean-well hooker, Hobo decides to stand up to the injustices of Scum Town, armed with nothing but a shotgun. After the murder of many ne’er do wells, Hobo earns the attention of Scum Town’s overseer, The Drake, a ruthless drug lord. It soon becomes an epic battle royale between our vagabond vigilante and The Drake’s hit-men, The Plague.
I’m not saying that Hobo isn’t absolutely ridiculous, because it totally is. But what makes someone such as myself appreciate such a cultastic piece of film is the amount of thought and effort to be both referential to exploitation films of old while being completely twisted and original. Scum Town isn’t just any derelict city – this place has rules and consequences. Totally messed up rules and consequences, but a system none the less. When subjected to Scum Town’s cruelties, we soon root for this newcomer – its’ a simple formula, but it works.
Personally, I think there’s an undeniable charm to this film, considering the efforts made to reference older goresploitation/cult films such as Mark of the Devil, Cannibal Holocaust and Dead Alive – from themes, to the music – even the color scheme pops out in true technicolor. Additionally, given the performances, you can tell everyone involved were having a blast making this thing, which as we know always plays well onscreen.
Perhaps the greatest moment of this film is Rutger Hauer’s soliloquy – not since Roy Batty’s “Tears in the Rain” speech have I been so moved.
This movie has some really fantastic one-liners – many of which I cannot say in public. Gory, vulgar, what-have-you Hobo with a Shotgun is the type of movie you want to watch when you just want something fun to watch that’s completely kickass. So whenever you’re in the mood for over-the-top vigilante justice, give Hobo a shot – just remember, when life hands you razor blades, you make a baseball bat covered with razor blades.
Ever see a teen movie that makes you question conventions about relationships – plutonic or otherwise? I mean, I’m sure you have. Ever about zombies? No, this isn’t Warm Bodies. I’m talking about Deadgirl.
This movie’s pretty darn nasty, but I think I have a penchant for finding things to discuss in regards to nasty things. On the surface, we’re basically looking at zombie-rape teen drama. What? I told you this movie’s nasty. Key phrase here, “surface.”
Deadgirl is about a pair of friends, Rickie and JT – your typical 20-something high school students who would easily fall in the loser/burnout category. One day they decide to skip class and do their typical loser/burnout things, such as get crunked and explore an abandoned psychiatric hospital. Deep within the catacombs they discover a something most strange – a naked girl strapped to a bed. Upon this discovery, we instantly discover the boys’ respective moral compass: Rickie wants to call for help, but JT simply sees a sexy little number looking for action. Insert feminist groan. Then JT inevitably finds out that this stranger is indeed a nameless, mute zombie, and becomes his own personal play-thing. Queue a far more disgusted groan…and a little bit of controlled vomiting.
Yes, I realize this is an incredibly extreme situation which transcends all we know as reality. I mean, there’s no way we’re dealing with an “average kid” who’s as twisted as JT. Well, except for maybe Daryl Sabara in World’s Greatest Dad. That’s for another day. When looking at this movie, I think it’s best to think in terms of extremity, as well as just pure rawness.
I see the Deadgirl herself less as a victim and more of a metaphor. Because really, I don’t think this movie was made with human rights implications in mind. Are zombies really a people? They’ve always been objectified, clustered as an ominous horde, like hornets or mimes. Furthermore , being that “extreme” is a common theme throughout this film, the catalyst for these boys’ dichotomies is something as putrid as it is mystifying (because I struggle to say “alluring”). Similarly Joann, the object of Rickie’s affection, is, well, objectified – he desperately clings to this construct of her, that same girl he fell in love with in his younger years, when clearly she has moved on. Such is the simplification of angsty teen romance. Just a note, the climax with Joann – best part.
Watching this movie is no walk in the park, but there’s something about it that gave it a special place in my weird little heart. It’s undoubtedly Donnie Darkoesque, which is not to say that it’s nearly as good, but that’s beside the point. It’s this atmosphere combined with its raw content that creates an original work that is either loved or hated. I mean, I really dig it – and I know I’m not the only one:
Forget what you’ve heard. Past any controversy, Deadgirl is a film beautiful in every way: about friendship, love, rejection, obsession, and all the horror that comes along with such teenaged emotions. See it and make it the classic it deserves. – Fangoria
Like I said last time, I want to give Martin McDonagh some lovin’, so here it is, my (very) brief analysis/review of two very underrated dark action comedies, In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths.
In Bruges is an assassin story unlike any other. After a rookie (Colin Farrel) accidentally murders a child in his path, the big man sends him off to recuperate in kitschy Bruges, Belgium – only to have him killed off. We are presented a classic game of cat and mouse but with some weird twists, involving film making, tourists, suicide, and dwarfs.
It’s easy to see how a film like this can be seen as a cult hit: it had a limited theatrical release in combination with a layered bait-and-switch plot which doesn’t fail to satisfy. Admittedly, the ending is wide open, but never-the-less enjoyable. Simply put, there isn’t another film out there like this one, at least, not that I can think of.
… That is, until Seven Psychopaths came along. Granted, SP does have a bigger budget and greater star power, but it’s still inexplicably weird. Most of you may recall the trailer focusing more on the dog-napping plot, but like In Bruges the actual story is much more layered.
The focus is actually on a struggling screen-writer (again, Colin Farrel) trying to put together a story that will blow people away, basing it on lives of those he considers to be “psychopaths.” The result is an action-comedy-meta-explosion (metasplosion?). The film itself was fairly successful, though it received mixed reviews. Perhaps some people just thought it was too strange – I say it gives the movie flavor. Seven Psychopaths is a good time all around, but there is still heart – you just have to find it.
Both of these films are wonderful and gritty in their own right, and ultimately incredibly surprising. If you were looking for a typical shoot em’ up, I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere. Now if you were after entertaining crime thrillers sprinkled with existentialist themes, you’ve come to the right place – and you’re among friends.
Next time on What You Should Have Watched, Bill Murray.
Pink Floyd’s conceptual album The Wall may have received mixed reviews from critics – one even saying, “I’m not sure whether it’s brilliant or terrible, but I find it utterly compelling” – but it has remained a favorite for many fans, at least those who happily accepted Roger Waters over Sid Barret, but I digress – it’s a neat album. Then when the movie was released three years later…it also received mixed reviews, only this time, many hardcore Floyd fans weren’t digging it, especially due to preconceived notions about the album – which is understandable, like when a favorite book is adapted. The odd thing is, the album was originally written with the intent of being a film. Personally, I find The Wall to be a fairly under appreciated work.
I realize that I’m a little biased because I really dig the album, or maybe because I adore all kinds of weird animation, so I’ll really try to ignore these things…or at least for a little while.
For now let’s focus on the story, which is about a young man named Pink and his complete psychological break. Normally this sort of thing would be fairly uneventful, but when you throw in the fact that Pink’s a rock star who realizes the potential of his power over his followers. And of course there’s some Oedipal things going on with the early death of his father in the war and then his overbearing mother and cheating wife – it’s all very dynamic.
I say there’s no better fodder for a rock epic.
Pink’s story is told completely through Pink Floyd melodies, accompanied by strong audible and visual metaphors. Granted some of the imagery is fairly repetitive, practically beating you over the head with some things (yes, I get it, your daddy’s dead Roger!), but overall I think the repetition is fairly effective in driving the point home on Pink’s isolation and desire for control.
Okay, here comes the fun part – animation! You have to admit, the most memorable parts of this film are the animated sequences. This one, without a doubt is my favorite, in which Pink’s lavish lifestyle collides with a damaged psyche, building his isolation higher and higher:
I was kind of upset that “What Shall We Do Now?” wasn’t on the album after I saw this (I owned the album before seeing the film, by the way). Anywhoo, the animation is incredible, combining the beautiful with the grotesque with hardly any effort. I kind of wish the whole thing was animated to be honest – someone contact Gerald Scarfe and get him and Roger on this.
In retrospect, it seems for me The Wall is a complete guilty pleasure: good music, gorgeous animation, and strong metaphors. Even if it is a complete guilty pleasure, I think it’s still worth a gander in one way or another if you haven’t already taken a peek.
I was hoping to have this up by Kerabotsmas, but as it turns out, finals are important. So anyway, let’s get down to one of the most celebrated cult films of all time, The Big Lebowski.
What is it about The Big Lebowski that has made it so popular? Other than the fact that it’s just plain awesome, because that goes without saying. Like every other Coen flick, Lebowski is a story of interesting characters caught up in strange circumstances and coincidences, providing a bizarre and comical slice of life sort of story. In this case, we get a stoner caught up in a misunderstanding, which results in the defiling of his favorite rug that really tied the room together. On the journey to reclaim his lost treasure, he has an adventure beyond his life of bowling, driving around, and the occasional acid flashback.
It all sounds so simple, doesn’t it? The problem is, as much as I’ll try, any description I can give can hold a candle to the actual thing. Not that I think that there’s a ton of people who haven’t seen it yet, but it really is difficult to break this movie down without cheating and saying “just watch it.” Apart from being hysterical piece of film, the one-liners are fantastic, the characters are interesting, and it brought white russians back…not that I think they went anywhere, but that’s beyond the point.
Apart from the comedy aspect, I think the iconicity of The Dude is met by a great deal of heart – he’s just an average guy who enjoys the simple things. He was wronged and all he wants is his rug back. His friends might be absolutely crazy (okay, just Walter), but you still love them.
Amongst all of this bizarreness is a great deal of sincerity, and I think that’s what has helped The Big Lebowski become a timeless and celebrated cult classic. In fact, I think The Stranger says it best…
The Dude abides. I don’t know about you but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowin’ he’s out there. The Dude. Takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the finals.
Oh how cryptic, what could it possibly be? Deadgirl? Antichrist? Perhaps another time. Today I’m going to bring to light probably one of the most intriguingly disturbing films to ever grace my eyeballs, A Serbian Film. I’m serious. If you know of/seen this movie you’ll know what I’m talking about – if not, well, this isn’t the sort of movie you recommend to people, hence why I made this a Kool-aid feature (because I honestly believe this movie could hit cult standards with a little time, effort and therapy) instead of a What You Should Have Watched. I’ll probably lose some readers over this, but I’m over it. This movie is fantastic.
Taboos, Taboos, Taboos!
Let me get you folks up to speed here: A Serbian Film is well, a Serbian horror film from 2010 directed by Srđan Spasojević (no, I have no idea how to pronounce that). The film stars a semi-retired porn star named Miloš, a man who has settled with a wife and child but has issues keeping food on the table. One day Miloš is approached by an old co-star who has a proposition for him: meet with a mysterious director and he will be paid copious amounts of money for a project.
Intrigued, Miloš travels with her to meet this director, an “artist” named Vukmir. Vukmir offers Miloš a contract, but the catch is he cannot know what the project is or what it requires, lest it ruin his performance. Miloš begrudgingly agrees, but immediately regrets his decision when he discovers a project of unimaginable consequences to which he has no escape.
This movie has absolutely every taboo imaginable: pornography, violence, child abuse, rape, necrophilia – the list goes on and on. To say this film is “pretty graphic” is like saying Hitler was “kinda grumpy.” Within the first five minutes, you’re already subjected to some pretty crazy stuff – and then without apology this movie quickly snowballs to capture some of the most heinous actions imaginable. Some so despicably disgusting, there are reaction videos on YouTube. (Here’s a hint, it involves an infant.) This is the kind of movie that proves there’s no God and then rubs salt in your paper cuts while murdering your parents. Too much?
To film atrocity for attention’s sake is just obnoxious – not to mention, completely uncalled for. I would not waste your time if this was indeed the case. When Miloš learns the truth about this production, he immediately asks Vukmir why him, why a porn star?
Not pornography, but life itself! That’s life of a victim. Love, art, blood… flesh and soul of a victim. Transmitted live to the world who has lost all that and now is paying to watch that from the comfort of an armchair. … Victim sells, Miloš. Victim is the priciest sell in this world. The victim feels the most and suffers the best. We are a victim, Miloš. You, me, this whole nation is a victim.
If you haven’t taken a peek at the wiki entry yet, you’ll learn that Spasojević’s main concept behind this film was a parody and critique Serbian film culture, being that it is ran by means of foreign funds and is now a comical shadow of its foreign self. Thus Spasojević decided to focus on the extremes…extreme extremes. I’m paraphrasing of course, but that’s what the hyperlink’s for. Personally, I found the quote far more interesting than the political stuff.
It seems that these days the victim is the new hero. What makes the hero so relatable most of the time is that they are victimized in some way or form, and from this victimization comes passion for justice (this occurs on various scales, the “revenge-flick” being the most obvious). Then immediately after Vukmir says this, he tells Miloš that he is the only one in the film who is not a victim. This presents an interesting argument:
Vukmir presents the idea of an inborn need to see people get revenge – usually this is the reflection of the political/economic times (in Serbia’s case, capitalizing on suffering by destroying the film industry with run-of-the-mill fluff) – but Vukmir’s film has no revenge in it whatsoever, it is merely Miloš doing the victimizing. Now from a meta standpoint, we want Miloš to get out of this because we can sympathize – he has a family and just needed some extra money, and he didn’t know what he was bargaining with. At the same time, Miloš did sign a contract and has an obligation to uphold (not that we as viewers want him to, but these guys have atrocious methods of persuasion – you do not want to piss them off). Such a glorious paradox, ironically presented in a pornographic snuff film.
A Serbian Film is absolutely wretched but you cannot look away, mostly because you can’t believe what’s going on. It’s also hard to gauge which is worse: the fact that this was filmed or the fact that it was greenlit. I’d be lying if I said this didn’t disturb me, but man this film is just so darn interesting! This is why it’s impossible to recommend because you don’t want to look like an absolute monster, but the conversation that can occur and the analysis – it just tickles my brain just thinking about it. Or I could just be a perverted psychopath, you never know.
Alrighty folks, it’s October! A time for cider, candy and spooky scary skeletons – but most of all, awesome movies. Whether we’re dealing with slashers, psychos or downright crazies, the horror genre encompasses all – in this case, cult movie musicals! That’s right, I’m using my Don’t Quit Your Day Job feature to segue into my new category, Drinking the Kool-aid, where I delve into awesome examples of cult cinema. Without further a due, let’s have some old and new with The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Repo! The Genetic Opera.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
When it comes to sci-fi cult classic musicals, there really is nothing that compares to The Rocky Horror Picture Show – I mean, there’s nothing like it. Granted it is a parody of B-Movies of the 1940s-1970s, but this film reigns strong on its own as one of the more popular cult film of pretty much all time. Just what makes it so darn awesome?
Well to start off, the music’s fantastic. I seriously cannot find anything to harp on about it: it’s well-written, well-performed, and catchy as all hell. As of now “The Time Warp” stands as a staple on most Halloween party albums and plays at the occasional Hard Rock Café – that’s not half bad.
Let’s take into consideration Dr. Frank N. Furter’s big intro number, “Sweet Transvestite”:
This song serves as a pivotal moment in the movie. Once our young protagonists Brand (ASSHOLE) and Janet (SLUT) meet this man, this turns from a musical misadventure to a most bizarre sex romp. It’s like when From Dusk Til Dawn went from a crime thriller to a Mexican vampire gore fest.
I think the addition of the sex element to the B-Movie formula that makes it so unforgettable. Rather than a Dr. Frankenstein, we’re given an omnisexual Frank N. Furter, whose life’s work is creating the ultimate sex toy, a living muscle-man known as Rocky Horror. Brad and Janet are thrust into this perplexing world and forced to become part of Frank’s self-absorbed floor show. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s revealed that Dr. Frank and his (SLAVES) servants (SAME THING) are aliens! Dun-dun-duuuun!
Like I said, I think if it wasn’t for its originality in combination of how the film’s presented, we would not have the pop culture iconism that we have today. There is a sequel, Shock Treatment, but it’s not nearly as memorable…or good. Personally I just wonder about how these shout-outs and other Rockyisms came to be. Were they planted during the Broadway run or was someone at the midnight show just that bored? The world will never know.
Repo! The Genetic Opera
Oh Repo, where do I begin? Repo was a graphic novel turned stage play (not unlike Rocky Horror) – eventually gaining interest from Lionsgate. Then things kinda went south and it really didn’t get much promotion – it was pretty much known as that goth musical with Paris Hilton. For shame, I say. I think it’s fair to say that Repo is this generation’s Rocky Horror – complete with midnight showings and shadow casts and the whole bit. I honestly don’t know if there are shout-outs or cues or anything but it really wouldn’t surprise me.
Repo! The Genetic Opera is dystopian tale where in the near future mankind will fall due to a horrible onslaught of genetic disease. Fortunately, a company called GeneCo has discovered how to farm healthy organs. However, if you do not make your payments on time, your organs will be repossessed by GeneCo’s Repo-Man. So far it sounds a little like a failed movie, huh? (*cough*rip-off*cough*) The story of Repo focuses on a young girl named Shiloh (Spy Kids‘ Alexa Vega), whose father is a Repo-Man. Not only does she not know her father’s terrible secret, but she also doesn’t know that her family holds the secret to the future of GeneCo.
To be honest the music in this movie is fairly hit-and-miss. You get the greatness of Buffy‘s Anthony Stewart Head belting his heart out, and you learn that Frank Sorvino can actually sing really well. Also Phantom of the Opera‘s Christine herself, Sarah Brightman, makes a memorable appearance as an opera singer known as Blind Mag. On the other hand, well, other than Paris Hilton, some of the songs can be annoying, such as “Seventeen.” Yes! I get that you’re seventeen Shiloh! I totally don’t care about your typical rebellious nature! Overall I think that the good outweighs the awful on this one.
Now what really raised the bar for me was the GeneCo heirs, namely Pavi Largo, played by Skinny Puppy’s Ogre.
This is a man who sleeps with women and cuts off their faces. I’ll be honest here, he fascinates me. He’s just a strange little character who ought to get more screen time, but whatever the movie’s not about him. He’s just a sweet little perk to this strange and wonderful world.
Watch for the performances, stay for the Pavi.