Thanks to some friends with connections at the Paramount, I managed to get a seat at the world premiere of Mike Judge’s new film, Extract, last night. It has a similar feel to Office Space, a film that didn’t do so well at the box office, but built a huge following on video.
The cast includes Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, Mila Kunis and Gene Simmons as a smarmy ambulance chasing lawyer. It’s also filled with a raft of scene stealing performances by the cast in smaller parts. The opening scene in a music store is hilarious and sets up the character of Cindy very well. I was pleasantly surprised to see T.J. Miller as the character of Rory, the heavy metal forklift driver. My wife and I were big fans of his character Marmaduke on the short lived ABC comedy, Carpoolers. J. K. Simmons continues his run of scene stealing performances (Spider Man, Burn After Reading) as Brian, the supervisor who can’t be bothered to remember any of his employee’s names. David Koechner plays the annoying neighbor, Nathan. Matt Schulze is great as the atypically aggro stoner boyfriend of Cindy and Brent Briscoe is amusing as a Pepsi swilling couch potato. Judge makes a cameo near the end as one of the factory workers.
The movie was followed by a Q&A session with Mike Judge and Jason Bateman and was moderated by Alamo Drafthouse founder, Tim League. I haven’t been to an Alamo Drafthouse screenings with League in quite some time, but he’s taken on a game show host persona to moderate the questions and answers. He didn’t used to do this, so I guess it’s evolved over time in an attempt to get better questions out of the audience?
As I tweeted last night, one of the things that struck me early in the film was the similarity of the Reynold’s Extract plant to the Adams Extract building just south of town. I wasn’t the only one because one of the first questions was whether the Adams plant influenced the script. Judge said that he’s always wondered what went on in that building and that it did, in fact, serve as inspiration for the movie. Members of the Adams Extract family were in attendance and Judge had them stand up at one point. The Austin Chronicle did a story on Adams Extract in 2001 before they moved to Gonzales. Boneyard Media has a photo of the iconic building.
Bateman fielded a couple of interesting questions. Apparently, there’s still an Arrested Development movie in the works. They’re just having scheduling problems getting all of the cast in one place. He also was asked about the awesomely awful PSA “How Can I Tell If I’m Really in Love” (YouTube)that he did in the mid 80s with his sister (and Ted Danson!?!). The really amusing thing is that Bateman didn’t realize that League’s Alamo Drafthouse dredges up all kinds of obscure videos to play prior to its feature screenings and has been running the PSA prior to showings of (500) Days of Summer. I just happened to see it this past weekend at Alamo South Lamar.
Filming locations for Extract include those in Austin and Los Angeles. The movie opens on Labor Day weekend. Stay for the credits to see an amusing epilogue with Gene Simmons.