Alright, alright, alright! Virtual reunions have been all the rage during the pandemic lockdown, from Josh Gad’s “Reunited Apart” YouTube series, which has brought back the casts of such films as Back to the Future, Splash, Ghostbusters, The Goonies, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, to Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley’s daily Stars in the House get-togethers with the casts of Mean Girls, Fun Home, One Day at a Time, Les Misérables, Sweeney Todd, and many others in addition to live reunion readings of plays, all free but with donations encouraged.
Sean Penn recently raised money for CORE, which promotes Covid-19 testing and other community programs, with a celebrity script reading of Fast Times at Ridgmont High with superstars who were not in the movie (Jennifer Aniston, Dane Cook, Morgan Freeman, Jimmy Kimmel, Shia LaBeouf, John Legend, Ray Liotta, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts, as well as Penn not as Spicoli). With the election approaching, script readings and reunions have reached a new level as they seek to help flip red states to blue, including a terrific live virtual reading of The Princess Bride (with Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Carol Kane, Chris Sarandon, Mandy Patinkin, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, director Rob Reiner, and others) for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, followed by a Veep reunion, headed by Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
On October 11 at 7:30, the original cast of Richard Linklater’s classic 1993 film, Dazed and Confused, will reunite to support the Voto Latino Foundation and the March for Science. The live reading will feature all your favorites: Matthew McConaughey as Wooderson, Ben Affleck as O’Bannion, Parker Posey as Darla, Jason London as Pink, Joey Lauren Adams as Simone, Adam Goldberg as Mike, Anthony Rapp as Tony, Rory Cochrane as Slater, Marissa Ribisi as Cynthia, Cole Hauser as Benny, Deena Martin as Shavonne, Esteban Powell as Carl, Christine Harnos as Kaye, Wiley Wiggins as Mitch, Michelle Burke as Jodi, Mark Vandermeulen as Tommy, Sasha Jenson as Don, Jeremy Fox as Hirschfelder, Christin Hinojosa as Sabrina, Catherine Morris as Julie, and Nicky Katt as Clint. The film has always been a quote lover’s dream, but several of them will take on a new meaning given the state of the country today. Cynthia: “Maybe the ’80s will be, like, radical or something. I figure we’ll be in our twenties and it can’t get worse.” Simone: “You act like you’re so oppressed. You guys are kings of the school. What are you bitching about?” Mike: “I feel like I’m being stalked by a Nazi.” Tony: “Neo-McCarthyism, I like that.” And Ms. Stroud: “Okay, guys, one more thing. This summer when you’re being inundated with all this American bicentennial Fourth Of July brouhaha, don’t forget what you’re celebrating, and that’s the fact that a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic white males didn’t want to pay their taxes.” Patton Oswalt, who hosted the Princess Bride reunion and moderated the postshow Q&A, will perform the same duties here.
On October 14 at 9:00, another too-cool reunion will be taking place, raising money for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party as it tries to switch the state, which voted for Trump in 2016, to Biden this time around. And once again it will be a quote-laden classic directed by Reiner, the 1984 mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, with Michael McKean (David St. Hubbins), Christopher Guest (Nigel Tufnel), Harry Shearer (Derek Smalls), Reiner (who also played Marty DiBergi), and host and moderator Oswalt. “Democratic enthusiasm in Pennsylvania is already turned up to eleven,” Pennsylvania Democratic Party executive director Jason Henry said in a statement.
Although this one is not a table read, Spinal Tap also still has a relevant take on the U.S. of A. after all these years. St. Hubbins explains, “I believe virtually everything I read, and I think that is what makes me more of a selective human than someone who doesn’t believe anything.” Speaking about a new album cover, St. Hubbins says, “Well, I think it looks like death. It looks like mourning,” to which their manager, Ian Faith (Tony Hendra), responds, “Death sells.” And then there’s this exchange: St. Hubbins: “It’s such a fine line between stupid, and uh . . .” Tufnel: “Clever.” St. Hubbins: “Yeah, and clever.” Tickets for the Dazed and Confused and Spinal Tap reunions are pay-what-you-wish; as we approach the end of the campaign (and maybe the end of our nation), don’t forget these key words from St. Hubbins: “Well, I don’t really think that the end can be assessed as of itself as being the end because what does the end feel like? It’s like saying when you try to extrapolate the end of the universe, you say, if the universe is indeed infinite, then how — what does that mean? How far is all the way, and then if it stops, what’s stopping it, and what’s behind what’s stopping it? So, what’s the end, you know, is my question to you.”