About a month ago, movie theater giant American Multi-Cinema released a proposal to begin having “text-friendly” screenings throughout their theaters. This would allow audiences (primarily to accommodate millennials) to purchase a ticket for a movie and stare at their phones, which, as we all know is a wonderful way to spend money and enjoy an evening out. Very shortly after, AMC received some very strongly worded opinions from the public and quickly rescinded that offer, saying that texting would not be allowed, “not today, not tomorrow and not in the foreseeable future.” Here in Portland, we don’t take kindly to texting during movies either, unless it’s the hilarious Hecklevision hosted by the Hollywood Theater and Art Santana, event producer for both the Hollywood and Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade. At Hollywood Theater’s Hecklevision, the audience is encouraged to text-at-will with finesse and comedic timing.
Hecklevision carries a name that is almost too perfect for what it is. After having the night’s film selection introduced by host Santana and comedian JoAnn Schinderle, the film began to play. What film was worthy of being heckled by an entire theater full of Portland humor connoisseurs? None other than the 1996 Bill Paxton/Helen Hunt classic, Twister. From the very first frame of what was supposed to be the gusty wind of a tornado, heckles like “Man, Harry Potter was way darker in the early years…” began to roll in. As the film progressed, the featured comedians (including the aforementioned Schinderle, Alex Falcone, Whitney Streed, Coor Cohen, David Mascorro, Riley Fox and Kelly Richardson) submitted their highlighted heckles for the extra deep and perfectly placed jabs. Special pop-in comedians included Bri Pruett and Caitlin Weierhauser, offering delightful additions to the already fantastic laughs.
As you’ve probably guessed, the comedians are not the only ones who get to participate which is what makes this experience particularly unique. Comedy junkies such as myself will know the names of shows like the Benson Movie Interruption, Master Pancake and others featuring a handful of stand-up comedians with microphones doing a “Mystery Science Theater 3000” style commentary for an audience. Though these are fantastic and well-established shows, Hecklevision makes the comedy more accessible and participatory, allowing everyone who has purchased a ticket to participate. Being able to watch a film I remember from my childhood and submit jokes as an adult is quite a great experience, one that I will be sure to take advantage of over and over again.
Sponsored by Chipotle Restaurants, Deschutes Brewery and Pabst Blue Ribbon, Hecklevision uses the magic of MuVChat technology. Jokes, heckles and commentary are encouraged – in text form. Witty wisecracks instantly appear on screen. Each month, special comedic guests hang out to crack jokes with the audience. If you’ve ever wondered, “Am I funny?”, this is a great way to find out!
The Hollywood Theater is known to host Hecklevision monthly. Previous movies shown in Hecklevision include Red Dawn, Commando!, and Masters of The Universe as well as both the GOP and Democratic primary debates. I would highly encourage anyone who wants to laugh at classic bad movies to get on the calendar for the Hollywood Theater and grab tickets as soon as the next show is announced. In a world where crowd-sourcing for movies, TV shows, project ideas and potato salad dominates creative funding, Hecklevision is excitedly on the forefront of crowd-sourced comedy.