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All Hail the Popcorn King Movie Review

Written by Shane D. Keene

Released by Squee Projects

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Written and directed by Hansi Oppenheimer
2019, 55 minutes, Not Rated

Hansi Oppenheimer as Self/Narrator
Joe R. Lansdale as himself
David J. Schow as himself
Bruce Campbell as himself
James Purefoy as himself

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Y’all know of the great Joe R. Lansdale, right? That Eastern Texas fella with a drawl like a character out of your favorite western--only more convincing--and a bibliography of more than fifty novels and hundreds of short stories to his name? Well, if you’re a horror or crime fiction fan, you certainly do. With most of us, he’s nearly synonymous with the term genre fiction and there’s a damn good reason for that. If I were teaching a creative writing class focused on genre fiction, I could grab Lansdale’s name out of the air and teach an entire school year’s worth of some of the best damn dark and gritty fiction a fan could ask for. And if you don’t know Joe, well, writer-director Hansi Oppenheimer’s got the goods in her latest endeavor, All Hail the Popcorn King.

As an interviewer, Oppenheimer has a very conversational style, incisive but personable, and it works well for her film. She gets to the heart of her subject, but does so in such a casual-seeming fashion, it’s easy to forget you're even watching a film. It’s more of a conversation you’re lost in, so fully immersed that, for the moment, there’s nothing else. It’s a no filler production, a composition that strikes every beat perfectly and goes to the core of what makes Lansdale tick. Covering topics that range from shattering stereotypes in his writing to martial arts and teaching, the author unveils his passions and his memories to paint us a well-rounded picture of just who and what this author really is.

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And if you didn’t already know it, you quickly learn that Joe is both a super nice, no bullshit sort of person and also one who is well-loved by fans, friends, and colleagues alike. With testimonials from power hitters like Bruce Campbell (Bubba Ho-Tep), James Purefoy (Hap & LeonardThe Following), and author Joe Hill, it’s easy to believe that the Joe Lansdale you see and hear on the screen really is that guy. He’s genuine, his passion is real and almost palpable, and his insights are at once revealing and, to an aspiring artist, informative and educational. Oppenheimer paints him in an honest and inquisitive light, looking at this author from every angle, giving us a life-size picture of Lansdale as an author and a person.

If you’re looking for Hollywood, you won’t find it here. The blood of East Texas flows through Joe’s veins and informs the narrative so, while you won’t find anything earth-shattering, industry-wise, you will find plenty to love without any unwanted fat. Hansi Oppenheimer isn’t out to regale you or provide you with mindless escapism. Her aim is to reveal and enlighten, and her production does so admirably, giving you an impressive amount of information in less than an hour and leaving you with a greater vision of all the facets and faces of the great Joe R. Lansdale.

So you think you know Joe? If you haven’t seen this film, you don’t know Mr. Mojo. All Hail the Popcorn King, indeed.

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Movie: 5.0 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
Shane D. Keene
Staff Reviewer - USA
Shane Douglas Keene is a reviewer, columnist, and poet living in Portland, Oregon. He spends his spare time drinking scotch and/or beer, playing guitar, and thinking of ways to scare small children and puppies. He pays meticulous attention to beard maintenance, mostly because it freaks people out, and he writes about dark fiction and poetry in various places, including his blog at Shotgun Logic.
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