TIFF: All Hat

I went to see All Hat at the Isabel Bader Theatre on Tuesday. All Hat is a self-described “neo western” involving the horse racing scene in southern Ontario (Fort Erie, to be specific.) It stars Luke Kirby (the big shot Hollywood actor in season one of Slings and Arrows) and Keith Carradine (Wild Bill in Dead Wood) and some other people.

The Isabel Bader Theatre is part of the University of Toronto and it’s a decent, if small, place for a movie but it’s clearly not its only function. There’s no concession stand and no cup holders and the seats feature fold out tables for lecture note taking. It also has a balcony that seems ignored by most patrons so, being the isolationist that I am, I always make use of. Front row center, balcony.

A few minutes before the film started, some ten minutes after the scheduled time, an older couple sat down a few seats to my right. Before they sat down she complained about the lack of beer in the theatres here “unlike at Cannes”. I assumed they were either globe trotting, film loving retirees or industry people of some sort. Either way it was safe to guess they were married. Maybe.

Not long after they secured their seats the woman said that she had to go to the washroom and left. The movie was well underway by the time she returned, maybe fifteen minutes in. I thought nothing of it. Every once in a while they would chatter a little bit but it was infrequent and not intrusive. I thought nothing of it. The movie kept on and the deeper it went the louder her voice became. The chatter quickly turned to single word responses to the dialog in the film. She’d say, loud enough to be heard across the balcony and below, “Yeah!” to some witty talk-back by a character or emote a loud “Ooooh” when the antagonist would do something shady. Sometimes she’d repeat lines. By this point, she was getting quietly “shoosh”ed.

It didn’t stop her. I would exchange looks of disdain with the woman on my left, she was getting as annoyed as I was. But I was closer to the loud-mouth so I politely asked her to “keep your comments to yourself”. She mumbled something and her husband answered here “mumble mumble comments to yourself mumble mumble.” She mumbled something back.

A couple minutes later she did it again. Her husband, no doubt getting embarrassed, stood up and walked down the aisle and out the back. Ten minutes later I realized that he wasn’t coming back and without him there the woman got even louder.

“Will you shut. The fuck. Up?”

She looked at me and mumbled something. She was five seats away, but I was immediately struck by the scent of alcohol. “Oh no,” I though, “I just made a mistake here. Loud drunks when agitated get even louder!” The expected response came when she told me to “shut the fuck up.” She mumbled off again when the woman behind me leaned over the seat and whispered that someone has gone to get assistance. “Thank you”, I said.

A headset clad man came down minutes later and talked with the woman. She got up but quickly sat down again. They talked more. She finally conceded and was escorted to the aisle where she promptly fell on her ass. She was picked up and forcibly “escorted” out and the whole balcony managed to enjoy the rest of the film in peace.

After the credits rolled and the Q and A was done and the house lights came on I noticed an empty Mountain Dew bottle lying where the woman was sitting. Making my way out I picked it up and had a whiff and was overwhelmed by the strong smell of booze. She was doing something and it wasn’t “The Dew”.

Before I made my way out headset man approached me and asked if I witnessed “the incident”. Yes, I did. “Do you know if there was, at any time, somebody with her?” She was still there ready to be taken home (or to the hotel or wherever) but nobody was there to take her. The man, which I described to him as a “gray haired old guy with a flannel shirt” was no where to be seen. He ditched the drunkard.

All in all, I give All Hat a 2.5/5.

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