This coming weekend, I’ll participate in The World’s Largest Trivia ContestTM. As per tradition, this week is filled with idle reminiscing about memorable answers in past years. For this go-around, I’m further commemorating an anniversary. The weekend before the contest, the radio station sponsoring Trivia holds a midnight movie screening as a kickoff event, a practice that just celebrated its twenty-fifth straight year. Though it had been done a couple times prior to my tenure at the student-run radio station, I was the one who revived the practice, drawing upon my dual status as an on-air movie critic and a popcorn slinger at one of the local theaters. I booked Richard Linklater’s Slacker in April of 1992. The event has been happening ever since.


As I noted yesterday, it was getting increasingly difficult to find movies that worked for the Kickoff event. Once DVD sales exploded in the late nineteen-nineties, that task got even more difficult as studios raced to the bring their releases to the suddenly lucrative home video market as quickly as possible. Luckily, I’d found a fresh avenue into the obscure. In 2001, I relocated to just outside of Orlando, landing there at just about the same time the annual Florida Film Festival was being staged. A scrappy, smaller festival, it was benefitting at the time from some serious championing by Film Threat founder Chris Gore, who cited at as a rough equal to better known equivalents, but with a willingness to get a little funkier in its selections. And funky was what the Trivia Kickoff Movie was made for. After my wildly enjoyable Florida Film Festival screening of Tribute, a documentary about the culture surrounding low-level tribute bands, I knew it needed to be shown at midnight for a bunch of Trivia mavens getting fired up for the contest. I made the suggestion, and so there it played for the 2003 Kickoff Movie. If I’m remembering correctly, this was the film that caused the writers of the contest to scrap their longstanding rule of no more than two questions per contest from any one media source, including the Kickoff Movie. There were a whole batch of questions from Tribute, including a whole slew that my team couldn’t answer, despite my direct involvement in securing the film. I had the contact information for the incredibly filmmakers (the film was booked directly from them), but it didn’t seem right to call and frantically ask them to recall the rock ‘n’ roll poster that hung behind a band member during an interview. We probably should have. It was worth a lot of points.

More info about 90FM’s Trivia can be found at its official website or at the radio station’s online home. There’s also a feature documentary about the contest, but it’s fairly hard to come by these days. To see how my team is faring over the weekend, Twitter is probably the best bet.

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