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The Concessionaires Must Die! Movie Review

The Concessionaires Must Die! Movie Review
Snack to the Future

"The Concessionaires Must Die!" is a loving homage to the world of film from writers John Keating and Sam McCoy. Our protagonists are part of the staff of the Monarch, an old-school movie theater. It's a fitting backdrop for this style of movie, as the Monarch specializes in showing classic films of the staff's choosing. Our hero is Scott Frakes (David Blue), a comic book and film aficionado who at age 30 is still working at the Monarch as a concessionaire, where he started as a teenager. His world is thrown into chaos by a new multiplex theater opening across the street, threatening to close down the Monarch.

We soon discover that the multiplex is going to be run by Derek Fisk (David Cooper), a delusional peer of Scott's who alternately sees himself as a DC super villain or a fighter for justice on a par with William Wallace. He views his new multiplex as a weapon to close down the Monarch, in retaliation for a perceived insult from Scott some 10 years earlier. Scott and his fellow workers band together to try and save the theater and along the way they discover what is really important in their lives. While each one of the Monarch's employees initially seems to fit into classic tropes, their characters develop more depth as the film moves forward.

The movie is built around an intentionally barebones plot so that the references to countless other movies can shine through. This is best highlighted by the opening sequence, where we are introduced to RJ (Cosby Siringi) who's "a little awkward with the ladies," and this is immediately followed with a vignette of RJ in a Charlie Chaplin-esque sequence, unable to speak to a woman. Whether it be short scenes like this, highlighting a character's feelings that they cannot quite relay on their own, or the same characters quoting movies to each other, most of the references land.  They also serve to make the actual, in-the-story moments more real, allowing the comedy-heavy script make a brief foray into the serious topic of substance abuse in a way that feels earnest, and not judgmental.

"The Concessionaires Must Die" accomplishes what its creators set out to do: they have created a film that never stops paying respects to the movies that came before it, while also telling a story that the viewer will invest in on its own merits. Also, a Stan Lee cameo as a grandfather introducing his grandson to comic books is too priceless for words.


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