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|09.01.06||Alamo Downtown|| So After Idiocracy, I walked right into a chat between Lars, Eric, Jarrette, and Anthony, the guy from New Zealand who runs the.... icantrememberthename Film Fest down there and has lots of cool prints and a good relationship with the Alamo. He went on the roadshow tour (bastard) which just ended so I got to meet him and talk movies a little, which is always fun. From there I made my way downtown for tonight's double feature and special guest appearance by the man, the myth, the legend: Chuck Norris.|
For any Chuck Norris fans out there, I'll say it now. Yes. I saw him. We shared eye contact. He made a vague hand gesture toward me. I said something to him and he sort of acknowledged me.
So back to my story... This was kind of a last-minute thing that the Alamo got together, bringing the Norris in to not so much show these movies but to promote his upcoming WCL event next month here in town. He was kinda into it though... when we got into the theater there was almost a whole row reserved for make-a-wish kids as well as several seats marked off with signs saying "Seat reserved for Mr. Chuck Norris." I sat in the row ahead of the cancer kids - third row back - to get a good view of Chuck's Q&A. I am not a huge Chuckles fan... I saw a few of his movies on cable as I grew up... I was aware of Walker Texas Ranger's popularity (both in Texas and around the world), but to be perfectly honest I was here more for the Q&A with crazy Norris fans and to hear Norris stories thanidolize him or become his penpal or get his autograph or whatever. I haven't even checked out all the chuck Norris facts even though the ones I have heard are pretty hilarious.
So Norris is late to the showing. Lars is there with his camera, having confided earlier that his mission today was to get Norris to do a no-talking spot for the Alamo in their green room so he can green-screen different visuals behind him as he spoke, Tim was hovering about... Ant was here, John Pierson was walking around the stage with a page of notes, presumable he'd be hosting and conducting the Q&A... several of Mr. Norris' people were there checking out the door to the alleyway and making sure the mics were in their correct positions... but Chuck was late. Finally Karen comes up and tells us all that he's late because he's at some sick kid's house hanging out for a good cause... so we couldn't really be mad that he wasn't here to introduce the first movie but there'd be a Q&A afterward. So with that the lights went down and we had to watch Sidekicks.
So... Sidekicks is a pretty funny movie. It's a family movie... and kind of wears that on its arm, but it also has Chuck Norris playing himself... so even though it's really a child empowerment story with Jonathan Brandis (who I'll always like just because he played Bill in the TV movie version of Stephen King's It) as an asthmatic nerdy kid who daydreams all the time, it's really a whole movie about how awesome Chuck Norris is and how every kid should idolize him because he's so awesome... whether he's roundhouse kicking or shooting an M-60... it doesn't even matter. Chuck Norris is THE MAN. So all the fantasies that the kid has where he's The Norris' sidekick are pretty funny... also because they incorporate people from his waking life like his teacher or the bully into different roles in the fantasies. So in that regard, it's actually not too bad a movie to watch. Plus there's also the guy who played Bull in Night Court as the awesome gym teacher, the girl from Wonder Years as the object d'desire, Kato as the guy who actually teaches the kid martial arts, and an extremely over the top Joe Piscopo as the prickish rival karate teacher filling out the cast... oh and Beau Bridges as the computer programmer dad.
Still, the audience got antsy whenever the movie went too long without Chuck Norris. About 20 minutes in I heard some people sitting down and turned to see Norris sitting down a few seats to the side one row behind me... some small sick kid to his right and a hot Chuck Norris-worthy wife to his left. So I know he watched most the movie with us... which was good because the whole audience went into applause at pretty much every Norris appearance on-screen and the ending when he completely dominates Piscopo was nonstop adoration. Had to make him feel good.
I don't think he stayed for the next movie though.
So after Sidekicks ends (spoiler: the kid beats his asthma and wins the tournament yay), Chuck finally came up and stoop in front of the stage. camera flashes went off, people held up their phones and those little "chksssh" sounds went off, and he got on the mic. They set up another mic that people could line up behind to ask questions, but first Pierson mentioned Good Guys Wear Black and Chuck went off on maybe a 15-minute story about the beginnings of his film career and how he got into it after being the karate world champion and whatever... and it was pretty interesting. He told a Steve McQueen story... some stuff about him going from town to town with a handful of prints for his first movie (not counting all the stuff he did before that), how he got into the profession, how he cultivated his persona and overcame his shyness in doing interview after interview trying to get people to come out and see him... basically his whole history. Then he sequed into a pretty rehearsed spiel about his kickstart program for inner city youths and how he's started this new fighting league to fund kickstart's expansion and what the WCL was all about and how awesome it was and that we should all come out and see it next month, just three weeks from today.
So then someone got to ask a question.
Even though the Q&A was pretty much everything that I was hoping for, it was pretty amusing to hear Norris go off on these stories that he's obviously told hundreds of times before. Sometimes they didn't even really match the question... like someone in the second show asked about working with McQueen, Lee Marvin, and Bruce Lee and Norris went into his Bruce Lee story (which he also told for the first show) and that was that... no Lee Marvin story for us... although he probably had one, it's was just a one story-per question ratio that he was keeping for time's sake.
So it was all there. The insane old lady who sat front row center and kept throwing her hand up with a big thumbs-up all during the movie yelled out how she was his biggest fan and wanted a hug and a kiss and then needed help standing so Norris could half-hug her and pretend not to be creeped out, the woman with her down syndrome kid saying what an inspiration he was and could her son get an autograph and Chuckles inviting him down to where he was so he could give him a WCL card that's been pre-autographed and shake his hand then say "i need a hug, buddy" and hug the down syndrome kid, and the college stoner guy saying "um.. Mr. Norris, I just wanted to say that you're awesome" and a question about Bruce Lee and a question about the chuck norris facts (which led to a two-pronged story... first his favorite fact ("They wanted to add Chuck Norris to Mt. Rushmore but couldn't find granite tough enough for his beard") then a little mini-history of the facts then an anecdote about a little cartoon that's being produced for wireless phones involving him vs. einstein to count to infinite twice then ultimately saying that he was flattered and wasn't upset at all by them and he sees it as a good thing since it's getting a whole new generation of young people interested in him), and a few episode-specific questions about Walker Texas Ranger... It was great.
So his answers were pretty well rehearsed... but he seemed like a nice enough guy. Toward the end he made sure to say how it was god's plan to create this new fighting league to fund his inner city youth martial arts program... and he also let slip that he's 66 years old which shocked everyone. The Norris doesn't age!!! and he thanked us then his bodyguards rushed him out through the back door and we all had to go out to the lobby.