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Volunteer of the Month Travis Bledsoe on Airplane!

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Independence Day is just around the corner, and with it an inviting slate of July programming! Our Summer Matinees series kicks off this Monday with King Kong, the original 1933 adventure that revolutionized cinema itself. Then come on out for our Star Wars Month series, featuring all three original Star Wars films the last three weekends of the month. Also happening is GutiFest, our first ever series programmed by a guest, brought to you by LA Times columnist Gustavo Arellano! Before all that happens though, we’ve got a comedy favorite coming up this Sunday: Jim Abrahams and David & Jerry Zucker’s Airplane!

It all started with the in-flight dinner: fish. When the crew of an airline flying from L.A. to Chicago succumbs to food poisoning, their only hope lies in Ted Striker (Robert Hays) — a traumatized war veteran with a drinking problem. Can Striker and his former lover Elaine (Julie Hagerty) successfully land the plane before it loses control and dooms all onboard? Surely, you can’t be serious. And don’t call him Shirley. Capturing only a small sample of the hilarious gags seen and heard in the film, no summary can hope to do justice to the madcap antics and atmosphere that the film cultivates and revels in. A harbringer of extended parody films like Austin Powers and Scary Movie, few have matched the influence or laughs of Airplane!

Now, you can experience the hilarity the way it was meant to be for yourself thanks to Travis Bledsoe, our July Volunteer of the Month! Another volunteer I have yet to work or interact with, our interview was actually my first time even seeing him. My first impression of Travis was that he was reserved, maybe even a little shy (which, given that we had never spoken before, is understandable) but as we talked he became increasingly excited to share his thoughts on the movie and his time at The Frida. I came away impressed not only by the amount of thought he put into his answers but also one of the other titles he shortlisted for his VOTM pick. I’ll let you guess which one as you read our conversation (hint: it ends with “-zilla”), but be sure – or rather, Shir – to come on out for Airplane! when it plays this coming week!

How did you find out about The Frida Cinema?

Well, I was just sitting around at home when I read a Reddit post about arthouse theaters and it was like “That sounds like a fun and cool and trendy thing to do”. So I went and looked up online “arthouse theaters near me” and The Frida Cinema came up. I looked up what you were showing and you were showing Close Encounters of the Third Kind which was on — I have a big list of movies I want to watch — and it was like “Hey, that’s a movie I want to watch”.

So I bought a ticket, came here, watched it, and really loved it. It’s actually one of my favorite movies now, I had never seen it before, so obviously it was a great first impression. Then I saw online that you’re always looking for volunteers and I was like “Hey, I always wanted to do this volunteering thing”, so I did.

What made you want to volunteer here?

I like movies and I never really “voluntarily” volunteered for things. I’ve been volunteered for lots of things in high school and stuff, but I just thought this seemed like fun and it turns out it was really fun. I’ve kept doing it because it lets me talk to a lot of very creative people and a lot of my friend group aren’t like those kind of creative types, so it’s really refreshing to have those kind of conversations.

Tell us a little bit about Airplane!

That’s just a great movie, right? It’s the kind of movie where they just packed it end to end with jokes and most of them land, which is crazy. And just the way they made the movie is weird because it’s literally a shot-for-short remake of an older movie, just with a bunch of jokes added, and it’s amazing. I first watched it with my dad and we did that a lot, watched old movies together. Usually World War II movies, which I enjoy, even if it is very cliched!

But that was one of the ones we watched more recently together and we both really liked that movie. My dad just loves that type of comedy, like Young Frankenstein and The Naked Gun and all that stuff, and I do too. Airplane is one of my favorites, it’s the first time Leslie Nielsen did a comedy thing and he kills it in that movie! I’m really happy to see it, I have some friends I’m going to drag in to watch it and it’s my birthday this month too, so really good timing.

What were your other choices for Volunteer Pick of the Month?

My list ended up being Shin Godzilla, Airplane, and the original Stargate. Shin Godzilla is because a couple weeks ago I watched Shin Kamen Rider. Loved it, I’ve never done anything Kamen Rider before but I really enjoyed that movie and I always kind of wanted to watch the other Shin movies, so I was like “Oh my god, I really need to watch Shin Godzilla now.” I haven’t seen it but I just thought “Oh, it would be a really great opportunity to go watch it in a theater.”

The original Stargate was just cause I had a really hard time coming up with other movies to do and I was like “Well, Stargate!” It’s been a really long time since I watched that movie, I loved the series, it’s one of my favorite TV shows, and I was like “Hey, it would be really fun to watch that in a theater with a bunch of people.”

What is your favorite Frida memory?

Frida memory? Probably watching Close Encounters, that was really fun. And I also really enjoyed doing the Lord of the Rings marathon. That was a lot of fun, seeing a lot of people come dressed up and stuff. And then other than that, I think making White Russians when we did The Big Lebowski, it was a lot of fun. That was a hectic night!

If you could program any movie here, what would you pick?

I know we at The Frida have already talked about doing this but End of Evangelion. I would really, really love to see it on the big screen. I’m a big anime fan, even if it did not end up getting reflected in my movie choices but that’s cause all the anime movies I want to watch are not the right movies to screen in a movie theater. Like they’re the end of a series or part of a trilogy, and it’s all very awkward.

So End of Evangelion or The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.

Airplane! screens starting Sunday, July 2nd.
Sunday, July 2 – 5pm
Monday, July 3 – 5:30pm
Tuesday, July 4 – 5:30pm
Wednesday, July 5 – 5pm
Thursday, July 6 – 5pm


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