Hosting a podcast about movies with your friend has its perks, I do have to say. And one of those perks was being able to attend the Nacogdoches Film Festival at the Fredonia Hotel. The weekend was filled with films, fun and familiar faces that we were able to talk about on our show, “Reely? Podcast.”
Both Meredith Janning, my co-host, and I anticipated the event for weeks, planning what we were going to talk about on the show, picking what movies we wanted to watch and what panels we wanted to attend. But, the highlight of the film fest was the people we met: George Foreman and Joe Lansdale.
George Foreman is the most familiar of the two. At the film festival, he shared his life experiences and answered questions from a large crowd that filled the Banita Room in the Fredonia Hotel. When I walked up to him, it was hard to stay composed. I immediately regretted not buying the George Foreman Grill that was at Goodwill and getting him to sign it. However, Meredith was able to get his autograph.
Then, as we were reading the pamphlet for the festival, Meredith and I saw one of our favorite names: Bruce Campbell. Our hearts nearly dropped. One of Meredith’s favorite movies is “The Evil Dead,” starring Bruce Campbell. We knew he had attended the film festival before in its inaugural year; but this time, it was Joe Lansdale’s turn to take the spotlight.
The best film I watched at the fest was “All Hail the Popcorn King,” a documentary about author Joe Lansdale, directed by New York native Hansi Oppenheimer. My connection to Lansdale was my very limited knowledge of the movie, “Bubba Hotep,” which starred Bruce Campbell and was filmed in Nacogdoches. Lansdale wrote “Bubba Hotep,” a story about an Elvis impersonator living in a nursing home who truly believes he is Elvis and another man who believes he is John F. Kennedy.
“All Hail the Popcorn King,” was entertaining and made me an official fan of Lansdale’s. The story he told in the documentary that most likely gave the film its name was that, believe it or not, he would get his writing inspiration from popcorn.
To induce dreams that would eventually inspire him to write, Lansdale’s wife would make the greasiest popcorn imaginable for him to eat before bed. It was a mixture of regular popcorn and Kroger Lard. He joked, saying that if he heard his wife making popcorn, they must be running out of money and need another book published.
The experience overall was great, and both Meredith and I learned a lot, not just about the subjects of the films, but about who made them and the work that went into each one.