A graduate of the University of Texas, Greg MacLennan has the job most movie fans would kill for. As the Director of Interactive Programming for the Alamo Draft House theatres, he has the opportunity to schedule great events combining movies of the past with current features. This week, the Alamo Draft House Mainstreet Theatre in Kansas City is offering fans the chance to experience “Van Dammage!” – a trio of action films featuring Jean Claude Van Damme leading into an exclusive first look at the new film “The Expendables 2.” While planning his next event, MacLennan took some time out to speak with Media Mikes.
Mike Smith: You obviously have a love of films. What inspired that?
Greg MacLennan: I had the generic “film student” job of working in a video store, which gave me a chance to devour more movies then I ever had in my entire life. And when I was younger my brother would go to the video store and bring home these awesome action movies. Jean Claude Van Damme….Steven Segal….Arnold Schwarzenegger. All of these amazing 80’s action movies. I would just devour them no matter what they were. And when I got older I found myself in a position at Alamo Draft House to put those movies back on the big screen.
MS: How did the concept for “Van Dammage” come about?
GM: I wanted to show movies where guys get punched in the face really hard! That level of awesomeness isn’t happening on the big screen any more. You don’t see the sweat running off of a bicep that has a vein breaking out of it. You don’t get a real performance. You don’t feel like those guys today could actually beat the **** out of each other. I wanted to do a celebration of that. And when I heard “The Expendables 2” was coming out I knew this was a perfect time to do it. We checked with Lionsgate and they were like “let’s do this!” Seriously, this is the greatest dream of my life.
MS: Is Jean Claude Van Damme aware of what you’re doing?
GM: Jean Claude is very aware of it. He is very flattered.
MS: What goes into the planning of an event like this?
GM: First we have to get the idea approved. Then we have to decide what movies we want to feature. We have to lock down the titles and then make sure we can get them from the studios. We have to come up with the various promotion items and the ridiculous menu items. We always have a lot of surprises when it comes to Alamo Draft House’s Interactive Programming. Just because you may know the titles of the films or the menu items doesn’t mean you’re going to know everything. It’s a lot of people working and coordinating all of the aspects of the event.
Here is the lineup and menu for “Van Dammage!”
5:00 PM: Van Damme stars as real life martial arts champ Frank Dux (and does an incredible display of the splits) in “Bloodsport.”
6:45 PM: Directed by John Woo, “Hard Target” finds Van Damme helping a woman search for her missing father.
8:45 PM: Dolph Lundgren co-stars with the Muscles from Brussels in “Universal Soldier.”
11:00 PM: Van Damme joins Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris and a who’s who of action movie greats in “The Expendables 2.”
The menu created for VAN DAMMAGE is action packed as well. Moviegoers can enjoy three special dishes that will put a stranglehold on even the largest appetite – KUMITE CHOP SUEY, a dish packed with meat, eggs, veggies and noodles. ANDREW SCOTT’S EAR NECKLACE, freshly fried pork rinds fit to be strung together and worn, or dipped in a spicy soldier dipping sauce. Finally, finish off your hunger with HARD TARGET BEIGNETS, a sweet and delicious New Orleans treat of fried dough finished with powdered sugar and served with chicory syrup.
This special event is also being held on Wednesday, August 15, at the Austin, Texas Alamo Draft House. VAN DAMMAGE tickets are $20 and available now! Tickets for the Kansas City screening are on sale now here.
Check out the event trailer here: