With their archaic Odeon finally being given a 21st century makeover – nobody there received the memos about 3D, digital projectors or air conditioning – Whiteleys shopping centre in West London looked set to be cinema-less for this Christmas period.
But at the time of year for miracles, here on Queensway there has been one. The Nomad cinema has arrived to cure the winter blues with a series of classic movies – from cult classics like The Big Lebowski, greats from yesteryear like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and contemporary films that have made a smash like the funniest comedy of this year, Bridesmaids.
Famed as a traveling cinema, Nomad has dropped its anchor in the vacant store next door to HMV – a perfect location to blindside entertainment hungry shoppers. Think of it as watching a film in your mate’s garage on his massive projector. Admittedly this would require you to have an awesomely cool mate with a very large garage, but you get the idea.
The front of the shop is just an abandoned store, but once you get behind the big curtain you are greeted by a series of cinema seats, director’s chairs, bean bags and cushions that offer a comfy, cosy and very cool atmosphere to enjoy a film. So I should have said think of this as watching a film at the house of the mate you wish you had. And if you do, can I have their details?
Last night saw the opening and a party atmosphere was created in this abandoned store, which will be the trend throughout its stay into the New Year. Cocktails and fresh popcorn – still warm and in a variety of flavours, including white chocolate – yes it exists, and yes it is awesome! – are on offer.
Bad Santa was aptly chosen for the launch. Not just is it a Christmas film – perfect to coincide with the lighting of the Whitleys Christmas tree – but also tells the story of a department store Santa and his elf who attempt to rob the store on Christmas Eve. The owners and operators of Whiteleys will be hoping that the Santa Clause they hire at Christmas doesn’t have the same nefarious ulterior motives; or the foul mouth and sexual proclivities.
Released in America in Christmas 2003 to good reviews, it was delayed an entire year for release here to coincide with Christmas and remains somewhat of an undiscovered Christmas film that should be a must-see!
Billy Bob Thornton is perfectly cast as the foul mouthed, alcoholic, sex addicted, safe cracker; Tony Cox gives a hilarious performance as his long suffering elf and brains of the operation; and Lauren Graham takes the opportunity to subvert type and get away from Lorelai Gilmore as she plays a sexually charged barmaid with a Santa Clause fetish to great aplomb.
Plus you get two towering comedic performances from the late greats Bernie Mac, as the corrupt head of mall security and John Ritter, who gives his final and one of his best performances as the uptight mall manager.
While I have serious reservations about watching a Christmas movie before December 1st or outside of the month of December in general – which feeds into my hatred of how Christmas is being brought further forward every year, seriously, Christmas trees up in October. Really? – watching Bad Santa has got me just enough in the Christmas mind set, but not subsided by sinicism and general apathy for the season enough to stop me from being the proverbial Scrooge I wish to be known as for the next month or so.
Just like Billy Bob’s Santa I am waiting for the spirit of Christmas to hit me, and I don’t want to be hit until zero hour. You can get too much of a good thing, and anything as good as Christmas gets old.
So, to find out what Nomad are showing, log on to http://www.whereisthenomad.com/where-were-going/. After the Christmas, winter wonderland they created last night, with a Horny Santa and a sexy Santa’s wife, one can only wonder at what kind of spectacle they will put on for upcoming titles Dawn of the Dead, Grease and Back to the Future.