Fantastic Fest 2017

Neat things on the screen await, if you can get past the drama behind the screen.

See, this is why we can’t have nice things. The opening of the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission increased San Francisco’s number of movie screens (yay!), but it also bolstered the beardo-bro brigade who already defined the Drafthouse brand (boo!). So of course, right before the inaugural local edition of its horror-’n’-stuff Fantastic Fest series, a scandal erupted involving the Drafthouse’s highest profile beardo-bro blogger. A well-known blowhard, bully, and blustery bloviator, he was ousted from the company last year after sexual-assault charges he didn’t contest — only to be quietly forgiven and rehired, because the Drafthouse CEO believes in “second chances.” (He also asked the woman whom the blogger assaulted to please not hurt the blog’s brand, brah.)

The local Fantastic Fest is still happening, and it includes a post-Frameline return of Marc Meyers’ narrative My Friend Dahmer, based on Derf Backderf’s graphic-novel memoir of attending high school with the shortly-to-be notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Also showing is The Square by Ruben Östlund, whose 2014 Force Majeure was a study of fragile masculinity. (Coincidence!) And since it isn’t a bro-programmed fest without sweaty dudes punching things, there are two different prison-riot films: Jimmy Henderson’s Jailbreak and S. Craig Zahler’s Brawl in Cell Block 99, the latter starring patron saint of bros and Mel Gibson’s buddy, Vince Vaughn. Blerg.

Fantastic Fest 2017
Starts Thursday at the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission.

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