Creative Director - Los Angeles Arts Society
November and early December may have been busy for Los Angeles Arts Society with preparation and production of our successful screening of Godzilla, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t make time for appreciating the work of others! Au contraire, I made time to see Nostalgic Nebula’s screening of The Addams Family at the Frida Cinema just two weeks before our own event! Hosted by my friend Cody Chavez, the show sounded like great fun to me and, having attended any number of his previous events from Killer Klowns from Outer Space to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I went in with high expectations. Having established this, it gives me great pleasure to say my expectations were exceeded right off the bat.
Opening the show was the Nostalgic Nebula String Quartet, performing a stirring arrangement of the original Addams Family theme by Vic Mizzy as well as selections from Marc Shaiman’s score for the film. The original theme is a goofy song, but thanks to conductor Florence Chang’s direction and the quartet’s musicianship, they added a level of spirit to the music that one doesn’t really associate with The Addams Family. The point where this was most palpable was the reprise of the original theme, with the musicians playing with such emotion that it was almost incongruous with the comedic romp that followed. I’ve seen the quartet perform at other Nostalgic Nebula events, but I don’t think I’ve ever been quite as wowed by them as I was this time around.
Following the opening performance was a short but fun seance. Cody led the audience as they lifted electronic candles handed out at the door and tried to make contact with Uncle Fester. While we did manage to make contact with a spirit, it was the wrong Christopher Lloyd character: we reached none other than Doc Brown from Back to the Future, playfully realized through audio played over the theater’s speakers. The whole thing probably lasted a minute or so, but it was a fun little touch that helped viewers get in the mood of the movie.
I’m going to be honest and admit that prior to this event, I had never seen The Addams Family before. Heck, I’ve never even seen a full episode of the show (I was more of a Munsters guy growing up). I HAD seen Addams Family Values though, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I expected the original to appeal to me the same way, but although I liked it, I couldn’t help but feel that the sequel was superior. Interestingly, I would later learn that this seems to be the consensus among fans of the movies, with the macabre, biting humor of the sequel gelling more with viewers than the absurdity of the original. That being said, I liked both films and appreciated the opportunity to see the first on the big screen with a crowd that also seemed to really appreciate it.
Speaking of the crowd, some people had the bright idea of coming in costume, with one couple dressing up as a very convincing Gomez and Morticia Addams. If I had been more familiar with the film, I think I might have joined in and come as Tully, the incompetently-treacherous lawyer played by Dan Hedaya (who played another lawyer in the form of Cher Horowitz’s dad in Clueless). Aside from a group picture taken at the end, there wasn’t really any part of the program that emphasized the costumes but it was heartening to see people getting into the spirit of the show and contributing in their own small ways to make it pop.
Overall, it seemed like the crowd wanted more, because quite a few people hung around in the lobby after the film like they were expecting someone to direct them to the nearest bar or something. I myself ended up in extended conversation with a few of them, a good indicator of the communal energy in the room considering that making small talk with strangers doesn’t come easily to me. What I think it needed was an after party, not because it would make the event (everything described above already did that) but because it would cap it off so to speak. It would turn out that I wasn’t the only one who considered this idea, and I certainly anticipate something like it being added to future Nostalgic Nebula events.
Of course, I anticipate future Nostalgic Nebula’s events in general, it’s just that I anticipate them even more so in the wake of the high notes hit by this one. The Mummy (1999) is next on their slate and I plan to see that as well on 1/4/19, but I like to think that they’ll be able to screen Addams Family Values at some point down the line and make it a reunion to remember!
Just click on the following link for more information on Nostalgic Nebula's upcoming "The Mummy (1999)" screening. The Mummy (1999) Nostalgic Nebula
The views expressed in this review are those of the author’s and not necessarily the views of LA Arts Society. Let us know what you think of it in the comments section below. For more reviews, events, and other news from LA Arts Society, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. If you’d like to book an event, volunteer with LA Arts Society, or have any other questions, feel free to reach us on our Contact page.