As I’ve said many times on this blog, it’s never too late to see a movie.
(Artwork from Russell Walks – www.russellwalks.com / www.russellwalks.tumblr.com)
I hope in my time I have never chastised anyone for not seeing a movie. Neither am I a big fan of the phrase “I can’t believe you haven’t seen…” accompanied by an exaggerated expression of surprise. (Case in point: When I bought the first season boxset of ‘Breaking Bad’ at Amoeba, the cashier said with a smirk “You haven’t seen this yet?”)
I basically believe that you can’t be late to a party if the party never stops.
Back in January, I did my second New Beverly season showing some of my favourite films and indeed saw some of them on the big screen for the first time. Which gave me an idea…
For my next programming stint, why not screen classic or cult movies that I have yet to see and always wanted to see on a big screen.
Everyone has gaps in their film knowledge and I am no exception. I have seen god knows how many movies, but sometimes your programming is done for you, based on your location, your income, your age, your proximity to decent cinemas, access to technology etc. I can thank the BBC in Merry Old England for giving me the gift of seeing every single Hammer Horror growing up, but conversely still need to brush up on my Ozu.
When I make up OCD lists of movies I must see, I find that many of my missing classics are ones that I want to see on the big screen. No matter the size of your TV or how cool your home theatre set up is, there’s magic to had at the movies with a decent crowd.
I’ve been so spoilt with some amazing cinematic experiences over the years, that I am happy to wait for the perfect time to see a movie. Back in the mid 90’s Time Out did an amazing festival for the centenary of cinema and I got to see ‘The Seven Samurai’, ‘L’Atlante’, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, ‘The Wild Bunch’ and many more on the big screen. Sometimes I want to be patient for that perfect time.
So when you see the below list of movies, you might boggle at some of the films that I’ve yet to see. And to be honest, most of them are ones I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to see on a silver screen. I even own about a third of them on DVD.
So thanks to Michael & Julia at the New Beverly for allowing me to make my own opportunities to see these movies and in carefully chosen double bills made up from suggestions from Quentin Tarantino, Joe Dante, John Landis, Guillermo Del Toro, Judd Apatow, Joss Whedon, Bill Hader, Rian Johnson, Greg Mottola, Larry Karaszewski, Daniel Waters, Josh Olson, Doug Benson, Harry Knowles and all you good, good people. The movies were whittled down from my long Bucket List of Movies I must see. What’s missing from the original long list? ‘Deep End’, ‘Gaslight’, ‘Nightmare Alley’, ‘Zabriskie Point’, ‘Irma Vep’, ‘It’s A Gift’ and ‘Kicking And Screaming’ (’95), ‘The Big Clock’. ‘One, Two, Three’, ‘Kiss Me Stupid’, ‘Twentieth Century’, ‘Miracle Of Morgan’s Creek’, ‘Kiss Of Death’ and ‘Gimme Shelter’. Why? Because I’ve seen them…
See the following movies as eighteen Christmas presents that I have given to myself and that you are most welcome to join in enjoying. This is a Moviegoers Anonymous session where you can fill in your cultural gaps in the dark anonymity of the revival house. After all LA is a town where executives might have a vintage poster on their office wall for a classic film that they’ve never seen or where directors have clips of a movie on their mood reel which they haven’t watched in its entirety.
All of these people are forgiven and more than welcome to join.
So come if you love the movie. Come if you love the movie and want to see it on a big screen for the first time. Come if you haven’t seen the movie and want to pop your cherry with me. And most crucially, come and watch these movies on 35mm while you still can. It could be the last time.
I’ll be in the front row every night.
Friday, Dec. 9: ROCK & ROLL ALL NITE
7:30 pm / The Girl Can’t Help It
1956, USA, 99 minutes, 35mm, Criterion Pictures USA/20th Century Fox
Directed by Frank Tashlin
Starring Tom Ewell, Jayne Mansfield, Edmond O’Brien,
Julie London, Ray Anthony, Barry Gordon, Juanita Moore,
Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Fats Domino, The Platters,
The Chuckles, Eddie Cochran, Abbey Lincoln, The Treniers
9:40 pm / Get Crazy
1983, USA, 92 minutes, 35mm, MGM Repertory
Directed by Allan Arkush
Starring Malcolm McDowell, Allen Garfield, Daniel Stern, Ed Begley Jr., Lou Reed,
Lee Ving, John Densmore, Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel, Dick Miller, Clint Howard
Midnight / Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
2010, USA/UK/Canada, 112 minutes, 35mm, Universal Pictures
Directed by Edgar Wright
Written by Edgar Wright & Michael Bacall
Based on the graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Starring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans,
Anna Kendrick, Alison Pill, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman, Mark Webber,
Ellen Wong, Johnny Simmons, Brie Larson, Aubrey Plaza
Edgar says: (‘The Girl Can’t Help It’ suggested by Joe Dante / John Landis | ‘Get Crazy’ suggested by Quentin Tarantino)
A night of rock & roll comedy to kick things off. I have long wanted to immerse myself in Frank Tashlin’s movies and what better way than to see this 50’s Scope cult classic on the big screen. Coupled with ‘Get Crazy’, a film by Allan Arkush who himself is a huge Tashlin devotee and indeed ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’ is one of his favorite films of all time (he may join on the night, schedule permitting). Arkush’s film is not available on DVD, so I am thrilled to be seeing this for the first time at the New Bev.
If you’re geeky enough to go for the full triple the rock and roll comedy theme extends to my own ‘Scott Pilgrim Vs The World’ in its monthly midnight slot. Arkush himself says, “All three of those movies together could do some serious damage to impressionable minds.”.
Screening hosted by Edgar Wright, Joe Dante & Allan Arkush (Schedule permitting)
Saturday, Dec. 10:
STONE FACE VS LITTLE TRAMP VS UNCLE CLAUDE
7:00 pm / Steamboat Bill, Jr.
1928, USA, 70 minutes, 35mm, Kino International
Directed by Charles Reisner and Buster Keaton (uncredited)
Starring Buster Keaton, Tom McGuire, Ernest Torrence, Tom Lewis, Marion Byron
8:40 pm / Modern Times
1936, USA, 87 minutes, 35mm, Janus Films
Written and directed by Charles Chaplin
Starring Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman,
Tiny Sandford, Chester Conklin, Al Earnest Garcia
10:40 pm / The Bank Dick
1940, USA, 72 minutes, 35mm, Universal Pictures
Directed by Edward F. Cline
Starring W.C. Fields, Cora Witherspoon, Una Merkel, Shemp Howard
Edgar says: (‘Steamboat Bill Jr’ & ‘The Bank Dick’ suggested by Judd Apatow | ‘Modern Times’ suggested by Bill Hader)
Growing up in the UK, my knowledge of the golden age of comedy extends to endless clip shows and re-edits of the work of Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy, Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton & WC Fields. I have warm, but fuzzy memories of them all and have definitely seen many excerpts of the above. But to conclusively see these classic movies on the big screen in one triple is an absolute monochromatic treat. Buster Vs Charlie Vs William: Three men enter, will only one man leave?
Evening screening hosted by Edgar Wright with Greg Mottola & Bob Weide.
Sunday, Dec. 11: FAR OUT & FAR EAST
7:00 pm / The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T
1953, USA, 92 minutes, 35mm, Sony Pictures Repertory
Directed by Roy Rowland
Produced by Stanley Kramer
Written by Dr. Seuss and Allan Scott
Starring Tommy Rettig, Mary Healy, Hans Conried, Peter Lind Hayes
9:00 pm / Kwaidan
1964, Japan, 161 minutes, 35mm, Janus Films
Directed by Masaki Koybayashi
Starring Rentaro Mikuni, Keiko Kishi, Michiyo Aratama, Misako Watanabe, Tatsuya Nakadai
In Japanese with English subtitles
Edgar says: (‘The 5000 Fingers Of Dr T’ suggested by Harry Knowles | ‘Kwaidan’ suggested by Guillermo Del Toro & John Landis)
It’s a double bill of Technicolor and Eastman color glories as we journey into the dreams of Dr. Seuss and emerge into some fevered Japanese nightmares. In my near four decades as a film fan, I’ve seen ‘The 7 Faces Of Dr Lao’ and ‘The Five Fingers Of Death’ but never the many digits of Dr T. On the second half of the bill is the phantasmagoric ‘Kwaidan’, an expressionistic and hugely influential ghost anthology that was nominated for ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ in 1965. Can’t wait.
Evening screening hosted by Edgar Wright, John Landis & Patton Oswalt.
Monday, Dec. 12: The New Romantics
7:30 pm / The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
1964, France/West Germany, 91 minutes, 35mm, Zeitgeist Films
Written and directed by Jacques Demy
Music by Michel Legrand
Starring Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo
In French with English subtitles
9:30 pm / Chungking Express
1996, Hong Kong, 102 minutes, 35mm, Swank/Miramax Films
Written and directed by Wong Kar-Wai
Starring Brigitte Lin, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Faye Wong
In Cantonese with English subtitles
Edgar says: (‘The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg’ suggested by myself | ‘Chungking Express’ suggested by Quentin Tarantino, Bill Hader, Greg Mottola & Daniel Waters)
Here’s one to bring a date to. I am a big fan of musicals and chances to see them in their big screen glory are all too rare, so this is a treat for me. I’ve heard about Jacque Demy’s film since I was in school, missed the reissue and didn’t want to see it on a small screen. So this is a thrill. And its perfect partner is Wong Kar-Wai’s 1994 film ‘Chungking Express’. Ironically I saw both ‘Ashes Of Time’ and ‘Fallen Angels’ on their original release, but missed this one. I even own two copies of it on DVD, but again, a big screen outing was always calling me. Am preparing to swoon.
Screening hosted by Edgar Wright & TBA.
Tuesday, Dec. 13: RISE AND FALL AND RISE AND…
7:30 pm / White Heat
1949, USA, 114 minutes, 35mm, Warner Bros.
Directed by Raoul Walsh
Starring James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O’Brien
9:55 pm / Throne of Blood
1957, Japan, 110 minutes, 35mm, Janus Films
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Starring Toshiro Mifune, Minoru Chiaki, Isuzu Yamada
In Japanese with English subtitles
Edgar says: (‘White Heat’ suggested by me / ‘Throne Of Blood’ suggested by John Landis)
I have seen many classic WB gangster movies; ‘The Public Enemy’, ‘Little Caesar’, ‘Angels With Dirty Faces’, ‘The Roaring Twenties’ and ‘The Petrified Forest’. I had Raoul Walsh’s film all ready to go on DVD, but I want to see it on the big screen. Ditto for Akira Kurosawa, a director I love, but whose films want to fully immerse myself in. I own them both on disc, but they will sit in their boxes until I have seen them on 35mm. Hit me.
Evening screening hosted by Edgar Wright & Rian Johnson.
Wednesday, Dec. 14: FAREWELL JOHN, HELLO SAM
7:30 pm / The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
1962, USA, 123 minutes, 35mm, Paramount Pictures
Directed by John Ford
Starring John Wayne, James Stewart, Vera Miles, Lee Marvin, Edmond O’Brien,
Woody Strode, Andy Devine, John Carradine, Lee Van Cleef
10:00 pm / Ride the High Country
1962, USA, 94 minutes, 35mm, Warner Bros. (of an MGM release)
Directed by Sam Peckinpah
Starring Joel McCrea, Randolph Scott, Mariette Hartley, Ron Starr, Edgar Buchanan
Edgar says: (‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ suggested by John Landis’ | ‘Ride The High Country’ suggested by Joe Dante)
John Ford is another director whose big canvases I try to see on the big screen. I have vivid memories of watching ‘My Darling Clementine’ on a 18 inch TV at art college in a stuffy portacabin and the entire class being asleep by the end. Not the way to see it. I have better memories of watching ‘The Searchers’ projected big and bold at the cinema, so again this is my dream idea of watching of this for the first time. ‘Liberty Valance’ was released in 1962 at the tail end of John Ford’s six-decade career. The same year, Sam Peckinpah made his breakthrough with his second feature. I am a huge fan of this director and have seen ‘Wild Bunch’, ‘Straw Dogs’, Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia’ and ‘The Getaway’ all on the big screen. But I have never seen this and am excited to change that.
Screening hosted by Edgar Wright, Peter Bogdanovich & Joe Carnahan.
Thursday, Dec. 15: HANGDOG & UNDERDOG
7:30 pm / To Be or Not to Be
1942, USA, 99 minutes, 35mm
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Starring Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack
9:40 pm / The Bad News Bears
1976, USA, 102 minutes, 35mm, Paramount Pictures
Directed by Michael Ritchie
Starring Walter Matthau, Tatum O’Neal, Chris Barnes, Vic Morrow,
Jackie Earle Haley, Joyce Van Patten, Quinn Smith
Edgar says: (‘To Be Or Not To Be’ (Suggested by John Landis & Joe Dante) | ‘The Bad New Bears’ suggested by Bill Hader & Doug Benson)
So what do these movies have in common? Aside from the fact I haven’t seen them. Well, both are classic comedies. Both were remade later, one in the 80’s, one in the 00’s. Both feature untalented misfits rising to the occasion. Both star famous comic actors of Jewish immigrant descent. And both deserve to be seen on a big screen with a packed house. See you there.
Screening hosted by Edgar Wright, Leonard Maltin, Larry Karaszewski & Doug Benson.
Friday, Dec. 16: NOIR IS THE NEW BLACK
7:30 pm / Hickey & Boggs
1972, USA, 111 minutes, 35mm, MGM Repertory
Directed by Robert Culp
Written by Walter Hill
Starring Bill Cosby, Robert Culp, Ta-Ronce Allen, Rosalind Cash, Isabel Sanford, Lou Frizzell
9:50 pm / Cutter’s Way
1981, USA, 105 minutes, 35mm, MGM Repertory
Directed by Ivan Passer
Starring Jeff Bridges, John Heard, Lisa Eichhorn, Ann Dusenberry
Edgar says: (‘Hickey And Boggs’ suggested by Quentin Tarantino , Elvis Mitchell & Daniel Waters | ‘Cutter’s Way’ suggested by Daniel Waters)
How about some hardboiled gems to finish off my season? ‘Hickey & Boggs’ & ‘Cutter’s Way’ is some real LA noir. The former reunites Robert Culp & Bill Cosby, the stars of ‘I Spy’, in a gritty detective movie written by first time screenwriter Walter Hill. Culp also directed what has become a highly regarded nugget of noir over the years. ‘Cutter’s Way’ AKA ‘Cutter & Bone’, starring John Heard and Jeff Bridges, was more of a cult darling on its initial release and was featured only two years after it opened in the 2nd volume of Danny Peary’s Cult Movies. I say you come down to see Cliff Huxtable and The Dude get rough.
Screening hosted by Edgar Wright, Elvis Mitchell & Josh Olson.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
1984, USA, 103 minutes, 35mm, MGM Repertory
Directed by W. D. Richter
Starring Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum,
Christopher Lloyd, Lewis Smith, Rosalind Cash
Edgar says: (‘Buckaroo Banzai’ suggested by Kevin Smith)
I end my special season with a film that inspired the whole endeavor. A few months ago, a Twitter follower was aghast – aghast – that I had never seen ‘Buckaroo Banzai’. He asked ‘How is that even possible?’. Well the answer is thus; it was barely released in the UK. It certainly played nowhere near me. I was also in a VHS less household for the whole of the eighties (cue violins). And finally I did not have cable either. So my exposed contact to ‘Buckaroo’ was nil. That is finally about to change. And super fan Kevin Smith has decided to come and hold my hand for my first watch. The perfect midnight movie to end on? I can’t wait to find out.
Screening hosted by Edgar Wright & Kevin Smith.