First Time Film Club introduces cult classics to new generation - East Valley Tribune: Movies

First Time Film Club introduces cult classics to new generation

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Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013 2:00 pm

As a tween in the 1990s, Krissy Lenz loved the movie “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” We’re talking loooved it.

“I’m such a fan that when I was 13, I wrote a 90-page screen play for ‘Bill & Ted’ part three. For serious. I made my dad buy screenwriting software, which was really expensive in the ’90s, (so) it was properly formatted and everything,” says Lenz.

Now, she’s sharing the 1989 comedy — about dim-witted teenage buddies who put together a history report with the help of a time machine — with a new generation.

The movie is the March 30 selection of the First Time Film Club, a collaboration of Mesa’s National Comedy Theatre and Bookmans Entertainment Exchange designed to bring pop-culture classics to people who have never seen them before.

Lenz, who owns the improv comedy house with her husband, Dorian, says the idea grew out of conversations with other comedians.

“The whole premise is, ‘I really love this movie. It’s great. It’s unfathomable that there are people in the world who haven’t seen it. I want you to see it now, too.’”

First-timers and super-fans watch the movie together at the theater, where a concession stand serves candy, popcorn, pop and beer.

“At the end of the movie, we give out the prizes and then have a short, totally optional discussion about the movie,” says Lenz.

Prizes include tickets to National Comedy Theatre events, original arts and crafts related to the movie, and books that tie into the movie courtesy of Bookmans.

“It is a special experience to watch a movie you love and can quote by heart with someone who has never seen it before. They laugh at things you forgot were funny, they gasp and get excited, and it makes you get excited, too,” says Lenz.

New viewers, in turn, pick up tidbits they might otherwise miss; for example, much of “Bill & Ted” was filmed in the Valley, at places such as SunSplash water park and MetroCenter Mall.

The film spun into a sequel (“Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey”) and two short-lived TV spinoffs, but Lenz’s adolescent movie masterpiece never made it off her clunky old computer.

“It was much easier to lose digital information back then. ... It’s probably for the best,” she says. “I was obsessed with this movie when I was a kid. I loved it so much.”

First Time Film Club screenings take place every other month. In the off months, NCT and Bookmans host a B-movie spoofing series, in which comedians improvise voices and sound effects as a movie plays on screen. Schedules for both series are available on the events calendars at NCTPhoenix.com or Bookmans.com.

If you go

What: Watch the movie “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” with other fans and new viewers at the First Time Film Club, a joint venture by National Comedy Theatre and Bookmans Entertainment Exchange.

When: 2 p.m. Saturday, March 30

Where: National Comedy Theatre, 1111 S. Longmore, Mesa

Cost: Tickets are $8. A $3 discount is available online with the promo code DUDE.

Information: (602) 374-5638 or NCTPhoenix.com

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