B-Movies at the Bar

In an era of post-pandemic anxieties and film-industry woes, one tiny event is redefining what it means to “go to the movies”.


BROOKLYN, NY—On a quiet Monday night, a colorful assortment of neighborhood locals, curious newcomers, and self-described “film nerds” packs into the small back room of Minnie’s Bar in Sunset Park to watch a movie together.

The event, “Attack of the 50-Foot Movie”, is hosted by Leon Chase, a local video editor, documentary filmmaker, and afficionado of “all things weird”. Originally founded in 2019, the night was revived at Minnie’s in late 2021, and has been going strong ever since.

Unlike other, more traditional film events, Attack of the 50-Foot Movie strives to give the audience a little something extra—usually in the form of a live burlesque or drag performance before the show.

Also featured are Chase’s “Video Mixtapes”—a half-hour collection of genre-specific movie trailers, old drive-in concession advertisements, and “other assorted vintage weirdness”, which he custom assembles for each event. (Collections from past events can all be viewed here.)

“As a culture, we’re living through an intense period of isolated viewing and anything-on-demand,” Chase says. “With the pre-show—and in particular, the live performers—I wanted to bring back a certain sense of, ‘You had to be there’.”

When it comes to choosing films—and the way they are viewed—Chase’s approach is similarly retro. “I grew up in the era of midnight screenings and group VHS parties. I wanted to create a communal atmosphere that is less formal than a conventional movie-theater setting, but a step above just watching TV in a bar.”

As part of this, Chase encourages laughter and open commentary from the audience, and specifically chooses flicks that satisfy his personal definition of a “cult film”.

“A cult movie is something you can poke fun at, with elements that are outrageous or over-the-top,” Chase says. “But the best ones are still well-crafted in their own way, and have enough heart to make them genuinely enjoyable. I don’t show any truly bad movies. But I show a lot of offbeat ones.” Recent selections have included “Krush Groove”, “The Warriors”, and “Harold and Maude”.

The fact that the event takes place inside a bar, with a smoke-friendly patio right outside, is not lost on him: “I’m not saying you need to be drunk or stoned to watch these movies. But it certainly doesn’t hurt.”

Minnie’s Bar—a casual, queer-friendly neighborhood cocktail bar with an adjacent back yard—is located at 885 4th Avenue near 33rd Street in Brooklyn. The event starts promptly at 7pm. Admission is free, but all attendees must be over 21. Space is very limited, so guests are recommended to come early to guarantee a seat.

Official Website: 50footmovie.com
Instagram: @50footmovie
Facebook: facebook.com/50FootMovie

Leon Chase website