Posts tagged ‘julia marchese’

Julia Marchese’s All Killer No Filler Halloween Hullabaloo!

 

 

Halloween is my favorite holiday – I love dressing up, getting candy, listening to ghostly tunes and watching scary movies. (I mean, I always like these things, but especially around Halloween!) 

Every year I try to do special things and really enjoy the holiday to its fullest – and this year is certainly going to be my best Halloween yet. 

 

The incredible Somerville Theatre in Massachusetts (who I have programmed film series for the last two summers – The Summer of Love series in 2017, and the female half of their Play it Cool series in 2018) asked me to program the week leading up to Halloween this year, and I am simply over the moon about it – a horror hounds dream! 

 

The best part about it is I will be attending the screenings as well! I’ve never been to the theatre so I am chuffed beyond belief to be able to watch all of these wonderful films with you! 

Ladies and gentlemen, won’t you join me for my All Killer No Filler Halloween Hullabaloo?! 

 

 

SCHEDULE:

 

*Thursday Oct.24: BATTLE ROYALE at 7:30 , JU-ON: THE GRUDGE at 9:45

 

*Friday Oct. 25:  FADE TO BLACK at 7:30 , CUTTING CLASS at 9:40 , PSYCHO at 11:45

 

*Saturday Oct. 26: FIRESTARTER at 7:30 , THE DEAD ZONE at 9:45 , CARRIE at MIDNIGHT

 

*Sunday Oct. 27: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ST at 6:30 , WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE at 8:30

 

*Monday Oct. 28: FROZEN (2010) at 7:30

 

*Tuesday Oct. 29: FREAKS, with short subjects at 7:30

 

*Wednesday Oct. 30: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE at 7:30

 

 

 

 

Battle Royle & Ju-On – J-Horror Double Feature

 

 

The the early 2000’s, Japan was crushing the new horror wave with its violent, unique, terrifying visions. Battle Royale (2000) smashed its brutal way around the globe, shocking everyone with its barbaric premise and dark sense of humor,  influencing countless other movies.  If you’ve never seen this film on the big screen before, hope you’re ready for an intense ride! Ju-On (2002) is my absolute favorite of the J-Horror craze – with disturbing images that won’t leave your mind and a new spin on the old haunted house trope, this film is scrumptiously frightening.

 

 

 

 

Fade to Black, Cutting Class & Psycho – Killer Crushes

 

 

 

These three fantastic films are linked together by the fact that I have an intense crush on each of the killers in the film – I know, I know, kinda weird to admit – but when you see the actors portraying each one, you’ll understand. Dennis Christopher plays the shy cinephile loner Eric Binford in 1980’s Fade to Black, an under seen film that I show to everyone I meet, with a great concept and terrific lead performance. Another under seen gem, 1989’s Cutting Class, might be best known for being one of Brad Pitt’s very first lead roles, but I’m more interested in Donovan Leitch’s off kilter, bowling shoes wearing teenage psycho Brian Woods. And lastly, but certainly not leastly, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece Psycho, with that voyeuristic mama’s boy that gets my heart beating a little bit faster, that adorable psychotic Norman Bates, played by the incredible Anthony Perkins.

 

 

 

 

Firestarter, The Dead Zone and Carrie – Stephen King Pyro/Telekenesis

Triple Feature 

 

 

I am, to put it mildly, super obsessed with Stephen King (ask me about my Dark Tower quest!) and his stories of people with special powers they can’t quite control are some of my very favorites. We start off with 1984’s Firestarter, with Drew Barrymore giving a powerhouse performance as the pint sized pyrokenetic Charlie McGee – this movie is so good – and there would be no Stranger Things without it. Then we flip on over to Cronenberg’s 1983 film The Dead Zone, where Christopher Walken stars as harmless school teacher turned paranoid psychic John Smith – whose visions are terrifying, but not as terrifying as the fact that he can’t quite see if they’ll come true or not. We end with Brian de Palma’s 1976 classic Carrie, starring Sissy Spacek as the bullied, broken Carrie White. The film is meticulously crafted and directed, with star turning performances and is the movie that launched Stephen King’s name into the stratosphere, so we should all give it the mad respect it deserves.

 

 

 

 

Nightmare on Elm Street & Wes Craven’s New Nightmare – My Favorite Final Girl 

 

 

My podcast, Horror Movie Survival Guide, is all about how to survive horror films and become the final girl, and all of that final girl love stems from one character – Heather Langenkamp’s fiery Nancy Thompson from the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Nancy in 1984’s Nightmare on Elm Street (my very favorite horror films of all time) is such a terrific role model – fearless, loyal, smart, and most importantly – self-reliant – Nancy is always fun to watch and admire, but watching Heather Langenkamp play herself in the superbly meta 1994 film Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is even juicier, and watching them back to back is absolute perfection.

 

 

 

 

Frozen

 

 

Adam Green’s 2010 film Frozen is super potent and packs a powerful punch – a hyper intense watch, this film brings out of control amazing performances, a tight, super inventive script and Green’s fun directing style to create a nonstop white knuckle ride from beginning to end. To me, the best horror films are those that focus on strong characters that I like and identify with, going through trying situations and pushed to their limit, with lots of deep dialogue – this film is all of that and more.

 

 

 

 

Freaks 

 

 

Tod Browning’s 1932 film Freaks is a classic for a reason. Yes, it’s scary, but not for the reasons you might think and it’s also charming, heartbreaking and life affirming. Browning himself performed in the circus as a youth and had great affection for his cast, which comes through in the finished film. A wonder to behold (especially on the big screen), this film is so well directed and a must see for every film fan. And because Freaks is only a little over an hour, we’re gonna throw in some short Halloween themed surprises before the movie!

 

 

 

 

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 

 

 

I’ve watched hundreds of horror films in my lifetime, and I can say with great confidence that Tobe Hooper’s 1974 film Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the scariest horror film ever made. No other film matches the grainy, gritty, dirty, snuff film feeling of this movie, with its unknown actors, bare bones budget, lack of soundtrack and some of the most intense villians ever put to screen. If you’ve never seen this film on the big screen with an audience, get ready for a whole different experience than watching it at home. And if you’re looking for the perfect horror film to scare the hell out of you and get in the mood for Halloween, this is the film. 

 

Fifty Episodes of Horror Movie Survival Guide!

 

When my best friend Marion Kerr and I were ensconced in our Irvine apartment during our senior year of college, slurping Tab and watching one of the latest batches of horror movie VHS’ rented from nearby Gold Star Video, little did we think that so many years later we would a.) be doing a podcast about the whole shebang b.) that we would be at episode 50 already!

 

It baffles my mind to think of anyone wanting to listen to us rabbit on about scary movies, but talking about them with Marion is one of my very favorite things to do and I think it shows in our enthusiasm when recording.

 

Thank you to Teri Gamble, our producer and my duchess, for suggesting this podcast in the first place to producer Adam Bowman. Adam, thanks for making us the first podcast on Indie Popcorn FM. An honor in itself! You both have been so supportive, and I’m so grateful for you both. You’re good people.

 

 

Thank you, too, of course, to Miss Marion, for letting me show her hundreds of horror movies not once but twice during our friendship, even the gory ones like Hellraiser. We knew when we were writing the horror movie notebook back at UCI that it would become something else, but just didn’t know what – now we know! It’s Horror Movie Survival Guide!

 

I also just want to say thank you to everyone who listens to my show, and especially my friends who listen to support, even if they don’t like horror that much. I love hearing everyone’s thoughts on our episodes, or a film, or theory  – it delights me to inspire people to watch Final Exam or Lady in White for the first time. Sharing movies I love with others makes me so incredibly happy (that’s why I love film programming) and introducing folks to Radish and Wildman makes my gory horror hound heart so content.

 

 

SO thank you all for making this Final Girl happy, and here’s to delving into the hundreds of other titles still waiting to be discussed in the horror movie notebook!

 

https://www.buzzsprout.com/104713

 

What I love about cinema.

 

 

 

I recently moved to a new pad right in the heart of Hollywood, and yesterday I finally used my new location to its full advantage. I live within walking distance to several movie theaters – and yesterday I set out to go to one, and ending up going to three. 

 

 

 

 

It was my first time at the Arena Cinelounge on Sunset and although I was a little nervous at first about a cinema in a office building, it turned out to be a wonderful place. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and the theater itself is spacious, with comfortable seats and plenty of leg room. I went to see an incredible documentary Dawson City: Frozen Time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being the cinephile and lover of film history that I am, this film was absolute magic to me. Bill Morrison has crafted a love letter to cinema and film itself, done with next to no dialogue and constructed in an experimental fashion.

 

Canada’s Dawson City was a mining town that experienced brief fame from a gold rush in the 1890’s, and became a place that launched not only several movie chain moguls, but also preserved much of film’s history itself. Being the end of the line for film prints making their way north, Dawson City ended up inadvertently collecting thousands of film prints, since the distributors & studios didn’t want to pay to ship all of the prints back. Although many of the prints were destroyed, some were preserved underneath an ice rink for decades, and discovered in the 1970’s. Many of these were the only living print in existence for hundreds of lost silent films.

 

 

 

You get to see hundreds of these films in Dawson City: Frozen Time, and they are the definition of cinematic magic. The distortion and damage done to many of these films from the years of neglect become part of the film and adds to the beauty of it. The music is stellar as well, incorporating the sound of the damaged film running through a projector as part of the score in places.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And amongst these findings were several newsreels – documentary footage taken in the 1890’s of prospectors rushing to Dawson City to stake their claim. Watching these men walk through the streets of Dawson City in 1897, smiling and looking curiously at the camera, is the only kind of time travel I will ever know.

 

 

 

I get to see how the world looked through their eyes at that captured moment, and that feeling, more than anything, is what I love about watching old films. I am traveling back to see people who lived and breathed and hoped just like I do. They worked hard to get to a remote city in Canada to possibly find some gold. Many did. But not one of them knew that a few seconds of  their lives would be forever immortalized and would, over a hundred years later, be watched by a girl in Hollywood, California, wearing a Fight Club T Shirt. And yet, that happened. And for a few moments those men were alive again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This film gave me everything I want a film to give me – an opportunity to see the beauty of the world, the wonder of it, and hope for mankind. That through art, we can show our true selves to each other – even if only for a few hours. It’s the feeling I chase when I go to films, like a junkie craving my next fix. Often the film disappoints, and I’m then ravenous to find it again. Someone asked me recently to describe my perfect moment of joy, and I said the moment in a cinema right before the film begins. The moment when there is absolute quiet, when no one is talking or breathing, and the possibility of the film is infinite. It could be as great as you imagine it in your own version in your head, or lacking sadly. But the times when the film is better than you could begin to imagine it, when the audience is taken along and the feeling of enjoyment in the theater is palpable – this is what it all boils down to as why I adore film so much. 

 

And that’s why I saw IT twice this weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I read It when I was in junior high – I was the girl on the bus listening to mix tapes on her walkman and reading Stephen King novels. As such, I have read a lot of his books, and I honestly think It is his best novel. His writing is at its absolute peak, the characters are vivid and full, and the depiction of horror is raw, evil and at its most terrifying. I forced the book onto several friends in junior high and high school, and one friend and I called each other Eddie (me) and Bevvie (her) after our favorite characters in the book, for the entirety of high school. I’ve read It dozens of times.

 

 

 

 

I was very dubious of this film, as I am of all remakes  – especially horror ones. The stupendous performances Tim Curry and Dennis Christopher in the 1990 version make it wonderful,  but I did find that version a bit…lacking. So I was willing to give this one a go. And I loved it.

 

 

 

 

 

The film is warm and fun, scary and horrifying, with terrific performances from all of the kids. Its hard to construct a large central cast in which all of the acting is on an equal level, but they’ve done it here. I felt each one really captured the character from the pages of the book, and although a great amount of trimming and a fair amount of changes were done to the novel, I didn’t mind the choices they made. The film is obviously made with a lot of love.

 

 

No one can EVER top a Tim Curry performance, natch, but I really really enjoyed Bill Skarsgard’s  performance as Pennywise. Although gruesome and intense, I found the character so captivating that there was something almost slightly appealing about him at times, which made him even more creepy. I only wish there was more of him in the film! The special effects were spooky and fun, and a good time was had by all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are so few modern horror movies that I want to see that I am now rarely in an excited opening night audience, but circumstances made it so that I was a the 9:30pm opening night show, Friday night. I’m such a horror hound that I don’t scare easily anymore, but I love seeing horror movies with an audience so much because it heightens your experience a hundred times.

 

 

 

The audience fucking loved It. They were squirming, gasping, giggling nervously from fear after every big scare. The girl next to me hid her face every time Pennywise came on screen for the entire film. She was fucking petrified.

 

And being part of the to audience go through all of that – that indescribable feeling of a room full of strangers as one is the most joyful thing I know. But it is indescribable. How do I, a human with only five supposed senses, feel a room full of people? How can the air seem thicker in the moments when the monster is on screen? How can it feel suddenly lighter when the danger has passed and everyone breathes normally and giggles at how frightened they were just moments ago? I don’t believe in god. I don’t believe in magic – but these moments are ones that make me think there may be something that really does connect people on some level. It gives me hope.

 

 

 

So I went to go see It again on Saturday at the Dome in Hollywood – because I wanted to experience it again – with even more people this time. The Dome seats over 800, and while not to capacity, the theater was quite full. And it was the same as the night before – the screams and gasps, the nervous laughter, with people hiding behind their eyes and squeezing onto their neighbor. Amazing.

 

 

When people tell me they don’t like being scared, when they can’t watch a horror movie in the theater because it freaks them out so much, I understand.  But I secretly think they are missing out on a wonderful human experience. To be with hundreds of strangers and feel the fear in the room, then the explosive release when the villain has been bested, when everyone feels safe because they are all together, watching these things as one, and don’t we know in the end everyone will be all right? That the credits will roll, and the rush you have felt for the last 2 hours will be buzzing in your system while your heart beat slows, and the terror is over. You can walk back out into the bright sunlight, and think – wasn’t that a fun ride? It’s the experience that It gave me twice this weekend, and I think Stephen King would be very proud because somehow I think he knows all about that feeling too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, walking home, I stumbled upon a screening just beginning at the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard – The Witch Who Came From the Sea. It is an exploitation movie from 1976 by director Matt Cimber, starring Millie Perkins – both of whom were there for a Q & A session afterward. The film (on glorious, crackling 35mm) was quirky and odd, with a dreamlike quality unlike most of its grindhouse ilk. Here I got to experience the audience in a difference way. There was a back story of the heroine where she was sexually abused by her father – with some uncomfortable flashback scenes. And such a different feeling when the entire audience is ill at ease, shifting in their seats and averting their eyes to avoid the images on the screen – not out of fear, but out of shame and embarrassment. That feeling, amplified by dozens of people is such an infrequent, uncomfortable feeling that I can see a certain beauty in it.

 

I know of several directors whose trademark seems to be exploiting this feeling – making the audience feel shame or humiliation or embarrassment. I don’t dig it. It doesn’t float my boat (down into the drain with Pennywise). The Witch Who Came From the Sea (great title) was a bizarre film that I had never heard of, but that I am glad that I saw.

 

I often wonder what it is like for other people to go to the movies. I know everyone doesn’t have the nearly holy experience it can be for me. I think back to going with friends to see movies completely indiscriminately in junior high, often seeing terrible films just because that’s what the local multiplex is playing, and I can’t really remember any of the experiences at all.

 

I certainly didn’t watch the film that way I do now – after years of studying film at university, which completely changed the way I saw movies, and after the thousands of films I have seen since then. I maybe knew who the actors were (and the boys name, definitely, if he was cute) but that was about it. Didn’t know many directors, didn’t think about all of the craft and artistry and sweat and blood it takes to get every single film on that screen. How many people work behind the scenes on all of these films, in pre and post production, on the set, distributing it, booking it, projecting it, all the way to your screen.

 

I do wish sometimes I could time travel back to that junior high me time frame and see films the way she would have. And sometimes I think to myself  I haven’t learned much from my time living in Hollywood. Then I look at the way I see movies now and that the cinema going experience delights me in a way no other media can.  That it is in my bone marrow.  I fucking love cinema.

 

Three different cinemas, three completely different film experiences, all within doorsteps to my house. It may be cramped, and without air conditioning, but I suppose this new place might have some perks after all.

 

 

 

Horror Movie Survival Guide

 

 

 

When I met my best friend, Marion, in college, she had never seen a single horror flick in her entire life.

 

 

 

 

I was the girl showing friends Pet Sematary in junior high, and was appalled she had shunned a genre so beloved to me.

 

 

So I made her a deal – watch Nightmare on Elm Street with me – my favorite horror film, and the best horror film ever, in my opinion – and if she wasn’t blown away by it, I would never force her to watch another horror movie again.

 

 

 

 

She consented after some debate, and we sat to watch it, me with overwhelming excitement at getting to share one of my favorite films with one of my favorite people, her with extreme trepidation for the upcoming first time experience.

 

 

 

 

Needless to say, Marion absolutely loved Nightmare on Elm Street – especially Heather Langenkamp’s number one badass Final Girl, Nancy, and her determination to live and beat big bad Freddy Krueger. A character who, when questioned why she is perusing a book on booby traps, obliquely quips “I’m into survival”. 

 

 

 

And with that one line, Marion was sold.

 

 

She asked me if kick ass women besting the villain was a theme in horror, and I said yes. So, we could watch these films as a kind of training course in how to survive, she posited. And I said absolutely. The more movies we watched, the better chance we had at becoming the Final Girl.

 

 

 

And that’s how the two of us decided to spend our senior year of college watching every horror movie in the horror section of our local video store, Gold Star Video. We ended up watching over 200 films that year.

 

 

Not just watching, mind you, but keeping them all tracked and logged in our Horror Movie Notebook. We covered the notebook with our favorite horror movie images and filled it up with page after page of obsessive horror nerd rantings, creating our own rating system and noting down our favorite lines and moments in each movie.

 

 

 

 

And now, thanks to the Indie Popcorn Network, Marion and I will be co-hosting a weekly podcast called Horror Movie Survival Guide – where we revisit our Horror Movie Notebook and re-watch the films from our senior year of college, covering a different film each episode.

 

 

 

I am so excited to dip back into the notebook, and talk about the films I love so dearly, and specifically what lessons each film teaches on survival.

 

 

 

 

You can listen to the first episode, “I’m Into Survival”, discussing Wes Craven’s 1984 masterpiece, Nightmare on Elm Street, at the link below. 

 

 

 

You can also follow Horror Movie Survival Guide on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where we will be posting new episodes each week.

 

 

Give it a listen and send in your opinions – always happy to hear from fellow horror hounds! 

 

Listen here: 

 

 

http://horrormoviesurvivalguide.buzzsprout.com/104713/532361-nightmare-on-elm-street-i-m-into-survival

 

 

Summer of Love

 

 

So very excited to announce that I have been asked to program a summer series at the amazing Somerville Theater in Massachusetts – entirely on 35mm! 

 

You can read about what I chose to program and why below:

 

“2017 heralds the 50th anniversary of 1967’s famed “Summer of Love”, where every hippie in America hightailed it to dear old San Fran to turn on, tune in and drop out. To stand up to the generation before them and say: “No. We don’t like your way. We are going to try something different.” 

 

This counterculture lived in incredible, bold new ways in 1967 – communally, out front and with love for free, and with sincere hope for true equality.

 

They listened to incredible music – Sgt, Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Their Satanic Majesty’s Request were two of the dozens of mind blowing releases of that year.

 

They ingested incredible drugs – like Acapulco Gold and Owlsey’s outta site LSD.

 

But most importantly, the hippies were genuinely trying to do a truly incredible thing – to get the world to simply stop fighting and love one another.

 

Let’s say that again. Simply stop fighting and love one another.

 

In 1967 it was a radical idea to strive for, and sadly, now, in 2017 – 50 years later – it still is.

 

When Ian Judge very kindly asked me to curate some films this summer, he generously gave me absolute carte blanche on what I could program.

 

And I chose to program four films that will let you time travel back to 1967, and take a snapshot of the world of film that year.

 

We start with Roman Polanski in a carefree mood, having fun and slaying undead in THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS.

 

Next is one of my very favorite films, with all of the sex and drugs and heartlessness of show business on glorious, lurid display – VALLEY OF THE DOLLS.

 

Los Angeles counterculture gets exploited, and the grown ups get put in their place in RIOT ON SUNSET STRIP

 

And lastly, Godard puts his crazy, out of control stamp on the era in the under seen WEEKEND

 

I hope when you come to these films, you’ll put away your cell phone and mentally transport yourself back 50 years.

 

The 35mm projector will spin to life just as it did then, and when the images start dancing on the screen, pretend it really is 1967.

 

Let the films show you the people, the colors, the sound and the psychedelic sights of 1967. Let yourself be carried away by the counter culture, and let them whisper their battle cry in your ear:

 

Simply stop fighting and love one another.

 

Peace and love, Julia Marchese”

 

 

If you live in the Somerville area and would like to attend, you can buy tickets at the links below:

 

Fearless Vampire Killers

 

Valley of the Dolls

 

Riot on Sunset Strip

 

Weekend 

 

Thanks again to Ian Judge and all of the other cool cats at the Somerville for giving me this bitchin’ opportunity! Long live 35mm! 

Living the Dream

I had a moment of pure joy today.  I was sitting in my awesome living room in the rad Hollywood apartment I share with my amazing boyfriend, watching Glee on Netflix (I heart you Cory Monteith RIP), and addressing countless envelopes to send out the soundtrack to Out of Print for my Kickstarter backers. I looked up and thought – I am exactly where I want to be right now. I smiled and took a celebratory sip of my Mello Yello.

 

I have had a few film festival rejections the last few weeks –  and they are no fun for anyone. And although I’ve had some bad days, I feel like a positive change is coming just around the corner.  I feel like I am standing on the edge of a giant cliff, about to finally take the next step off into the unknown. Once Out of Print premieres and begins to gather up steam, my life is going to go in a crazy new direction – one that I am so excited to discover, no matter what happens with the film.  The waiting to hear back from festivals has been killing me, but Ive taken this pent up energy and using it to write treatments as many ideas as I can  – so that if, and when, I am asked “what I have coming up next” I will have lots of answers – A novel, a couple of screen plays, documentaries, a TV show, 35mm storage solutions, etc – so I feel like this stagnant period has actually been productive.

 

I am so interested to see if my film speaks to audiences and inspires them to seek our their local cinemas . THAT is the goal of my film. To show people how important community is when it comes to cinema.  And to make every person who supported me along the way – all of my Kickstarter backers, my cast and crew, my friends and family, the folks helping me make my 35mm print, everyone – proud. When I first started working on this film, the thought of having to make all of these people proud terrified me. How could I possibility make a film worthy of everyone? But now I see that all anyone wants is for me to make the best film I can possibly make – nothing more. And I think I can say in all honesty that I made that film.

 

After waiting so restlessly for  “my future to begin” for so many months, today really opened my eyes to the fact that by focusing on the future, I am missing out on just how groovy my present is. Living with the man I adore in a sweet Hollywood pad with all of the VHS and vinyl a girl could ask for, sending out CD’s of the soundtrack (composed by my amazing older brother) for the feature length documentary that I raised over $80,000 to make and which will make its world premiere in the next six months. Yessir. I’d say no matter what the future may bring, I’m a lucky girl – right now.

Waiting…

Out of Print has been submitted to a total of 8 festivals – so far. Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, Hot Docs, Atlanta, Omaha, Seattle and the American Doc Film Festival. Sundance would be the first festival chronologically, in January. I should hear within the next two weeks whether or not my film is accepted to Sundance or not, and the waiting is absolutely killing me.

 

 

My future as a filmmaker hangs in the balance and I will know soon enough a hint as to how my next year will be. Most film festivals want your film to world premiere at their festival and frown upon showings beforehand. (Which is why there hasn’t been a screening of the film as of yet. I hope to do one next year at the New Bev…) I would be more than thrilled to premiere Out of Print at any of the festivals listed above, but since Sundance is the first fest of the year, let’s talk about that. 

 

 

Sundance is THE film festival. If your film gets accepted (and the odds are rough. almost 1,700 feature-length documentary films were submitted to Sundance in 2013, only 40 are selected to screen.) you will definitely gain attention. So I know that my life will be significantly different if I am rejected or accepted to Sundance. And I will (or will not) be getting a phone call in the next 10 days or so that will set my life down one path or another – can you imagine waiting for that phone call since August??

 

 

I do have high hopes for the film. I think I did the best job I possibly could and I think the results are a film that is funny, sad, educational, goofy and sincere. A film that smacks of my personality. A film that fights with all of its core for revival cinema and 35mm.

 

 

Of the few friends and family that have seen it, all of the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive and every single one has said that it makes them want to go to the New Beverly Cinema – AND to their other local revival houses, so I feel like I have done my job. 

 

And – this will sound corny as all get out – but I genuinely want the movie to succeed so that, if nothing else, it will make people interested in their local cinemas again –  THAT is the ultimate goal. 

 

I am also super excited to announce that I am in talks right now with some incredibly lovely fellows over at Kodak, Fotokem and Digineg about making a 35mm print of Out of Print!! I figured a film that argues so hard for 35mm film exhibition can’t be shown on digital, right?? I am so fricking excited about this and will keep everyone updated – but can you imagine premiering Out of Print on 35mm?? Eek!!

 

 

Thanks for all of your continued support and loyalty – so very appreciated. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me. Viva la 35mm!!

 

 

Creating a Cult Hit…

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Every film lover has a handful of super obscure films that they love. Films we foist on our friends at movie nights,  films that – when we meet another person who knows it – feel like friends. Films that should have a cult following, but somehow slipped through the cracks.

 

Tim-Robbins-John-Cusack-Tapeheads

 

One of those films for me is TAPEHEADS, released in 1988, starring real life pals John Cusack and Tim Robbins. My family has seen this film a thousand times (and still sometimes randomly yell “Swanky Modes!” at each other). The story of two loser friends who start a music video company, the film is produced by Michael Nesmith and co-stars (big breath) Sam Moore (from Sam & Dave), Junior Walker, Susan Tyrrell, Bobcat Goldthwait, Devo, Fishbone, Jello Biafra, Mary Crosby, Don Cornelius, Jessica Walter, Doug McClure, Connie Stevens, King Cotton, Doug E. Fresh, Weird Al Yankovic and Ted Nugent. (whew!) And did I mention it’s kind of a musical?! 

 

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Last but certainly not least, this film also co-stars New Beverly friend and regular, Clu Gulager! When I first saw Clu at the Bev, I thought “Hey! It’s Norman Mart from Tapeheads!!” Clu is super awesome in this movie, and there is a scene where he – no lie – rides Susan Tyrrell in a tutu. Now how can you say no to that?!

 

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I have owned a copy on VHS since it came out, and I have shown that tape to dozens of friends over the years – and now I get the rare opportunity to show it on the big screen – to you – at midnight, this coming Saturday, August 10th.

 

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I really want to pack this screening, and get the word out about this criminally underrated film. I am hoping to show TAPEHEADS once a month at midnight for the rest of the year and try to build up an audience for it. I would love it to be like a Rocky Horror or a Scott Pilgrim! Director Bill Fishman and special guests will introduce the screening this Saturday!

 

So please, as a fellow movie lover, spread the word & help this film junkie’s dream of creating a deserving cult hit come true!

 

 

 

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100 more things I like

And to balance the negative!!

(My first Things I Like list)

 

 

1. Buxom Russ Meyer babes

 

2. 1960’s hair and makeup

 

3. Time travel

 

4. Jacqueline Susann novels

 

5. Mods

 

6. Jack Kerouac

 

7. Neal Cassady

 

8. Farm Basket

 

9. Luv-It Frozen Custard

 

10. Unexpected treats in the mail

 

11. Wabi-sabi

 

12. Sleazy 1970’s New York

 

13. French New Wave films

 

14. Jean-Pierre Leaud

 

15. Dirty, Sooty, Diseased Jack-the-Ripper time period London

 

16.  Prairie dogs

 

17. Hedgehogs

 

18. Hypothetical questions

 

19. Used bookstores

 

20. Playing a brand new vinyl record for the first time

 

21. Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

22. Animated mice

 

23. Making my loved ones laugh

 

24. Feeling my dry, clean hair against my bare back

 

25. Watergate salad

 

26. Wearing ribbons in my hair

 

27. Psychedelia

 

28. Creme Brûlée

 

29. French dips

 

30. Girls with luscious asses

 

31. Cheshire cat moons

 

32. Reading books out loud with my boyfriend

 

33. My boyfriend

 

34. Freaks and Geeks

 

35. Shakespeare

 

36. Saying (and reading) Dostoevsky

 

37. Heart shaped sunglasses

 

38. Exploring LA

 

39. Turkey dinners with all of the fixins

 

40. Gravy

 

41. Imagining Dale Cooper and Audrey Horne being in love

 

42. Simon Pegg’s face

 

43. Kettle korn

 

44. All you can eat Korean BBQ

 

45. The smell of old books

 

46. Donuts

 

47. Parisian pastries

 

48. Men who have good taste in shoes

 

49. Imagining the pitch meetings for terrible films

 

50. Little boy haircuts

 

51. Arby’s

 

52. 1970’s mirror art

 

53. Engrish

 

54. Hot anime babes

 

55. Wearing cat ears

 

56. My thin wrists

 

57. Crispy pepperoni on pizzas

 

58. My handwriting

 

59. Dance dance revolution

 

60. My pink sparkly Dungeons & Dragons dice

 

61. Bustles

 

62. Caramel apple empanadas from Taco Bell

 

63. Owls

 

64. Cross stitch

 

65. People I love becoming parents

 

66. Christmas cookies

 

67. Cookie butter

 

68. Piglets

 

69. Rare filet mignon

 

70. Winona Ryder

 

71. Boys who wear glasses

 

72. Funky bass

 

73. Boys in short shorts

 

74. Everything is Terrible

 

75. Birthday cake ice cream

 

76. Movies where evil wins in the end

 

77. Homemade guac & chips

 

78. Dreaming of finding a house for sale whose decor hasn’t been changed since the 1970’s

 

79. Beard papa

 

80. Magic hour

 

81. Carey Mulligan
 
82. Pizookies

 

83. Boys in tight pants

 

84. Boys who read philosophy for fun

 

85. Clever graffiti 

 

86. 60’s dresses with lots of petticoats

 

87. Making Christmas dinner for my family

 

88. The soundtrack to The Chipmunk Adventure

 

89. Jim Sturgess

 

90. Little asian girls

 

91. Groovy 70’s wallpaper 

 

92. Aaron Johnson

 

93. Busty 60s sex kittens with massive hair

 

94. Scoops ice cream

 

95. Vintage lunchboxes

 

96. Solar powered Japanese head nodders

 

97. Anastasia Krupnik

 

98. Divine

 

99. 1970’s gigantic headphones

 

100. Making Lists! 

100 more things I don’t like

I have been writing this blog for over 3 years now, and WordPress has a nifty little feature that allows you to see how people get to your blog. Most come from Twitter, but sometime people just Google random things that get them to me – John Waters, Cameron Crowe, New Beverly, Etc… and every single day, since I posted it, the highest rated post on my blog has been “100 Things I Don’t Like.” Yes, folks, every damn day, people are apparently searching Google for “Things I Don’t Like.” How the hell would Google know what you don’t like? Why the hell would anyone search for that? It boggles the mind. BUT, I thought I’d give in and write another list, just to keep those confused-Googlers happy. I will follow up with “100 More Things I Do Like” – but enjoy these for now, in no particular order, of course…

 

 

1. When my hair gets tangled in my necklace

2. People who give me crumpled up money at the box office

3. That all trailers look & sound exactly the same now

4. Blisters on the back of my heels from new shoes

5. Waiters who say “My name is X, and I’ll be taking care of you today”

6. When I toss and turn and can’t sleep, even though I’m exhausted

7. People who don’t tell me when I have a boogie in my nose

8. People who stress me out because they’re so stressed out

9.  When my fingernail breaks so far up it bleeds

10. The smell of eggs

11. People who don’t floss and I can see the plaque build-up on their teeth

12. Super hero movies

13. The faces/noises guys make at the gym

14. Morning breath

15. People (men especially) who don’t keep their nose hair in check

16. Over attentive sales people – especially the ones who follow me around

17. Men in those awful rugged, athletic hiking sandals

18.  Thinking about having to be on a diet and exercise for the rest of my life

19. Spam (Both kinds)

20. The recycling man who collects the wine bottles from the restaurant across the street from  my house at 5:00am

21. The never ending construction in Los Angeles

22. Trolls (all kinds)

23. Cute boys who wear baggy pants so I can’t check out their butts

24. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation

25. My biological clock

26. Being choked by my seatbelt

27. Couples that argue in public

28. Mindless action films

29. Corporate/strip mall/cookie cutter America

30. Being hungry late at night when its too late to eat

31. People who make promises they don’t keep

32. Toothpaste crust

33. People who talk so quietly you can never hear what they say

34. Girls who pee on public toilet seats

35. Jorts

36. Lumpy pudding

37. Dirty feet

38. War/medical gore

39. Doctor/lawyer/police procedurals

40. Hearing someone hawk a loogie

41. Sweating under my bangs

42. Talking/listening to people talk about going to the bathroom

43. Days when you wake up and just want the day to be over

44. The corners of my house that I can never seem to get clean

45. The feeling I get after working out – like my teeth have fuzz on them

46. The term “eating clean”

47. Walking through a cobweb

48. Stretch marks

49. When I bite into something I’ve microwaved and it’s cold in the middle

50. The word “dude”

51. Alcohol

52. Coffee

53. Being scanned at the airport

54. Nubby carpet

55. When I am excited to eat and very hungry and the food is subpar

56. Oil spill sunglasses

57. The feeling on my hands after I reach into a bag of raisins

58. People who talk on their phone when they come up to the box office

59. Being pigeon holed

60. Baggy slacks with pleats in the front

61. Grown-ups who still act like they’re in junior high

62. The music from Seinfeld

63. Beavis and Butthead impressions

64. Books that disappoint

65. Ayn Rand

66. How expensive make-up is

67. Dirty carpet

68. Unexplainable pain

69. Christopher Guest films

70. New horror films

71. Christopher Walken

72. Bruce Willis

73. Clutter

74. When my water tastes weird

75. Toe cleavage 

76. The sound of a dry razor going over a man’s stubbly face

77. People who ask for a “dark chocolate Mounds”

78. Irvine

79. Realizing that I missed the age bracket to be the star of a teen movie

80. Worrying about the future

81. The fashion industry

82. Being forced to listen to Christmas carols two months before Christmas

83. People with dead shark eyes

84. comb-overs

85. 90’s action stars

86. All the dwarf songs in the Hobbit

87. Motorcycles with engines so loud they hurt my ears

88. Feeling fat

89. Awards shows

90. Futuristic neon hideous tennis shoes

91. Public showers

92. Losing touch with friends

93. Small talk 

94. Bald men with fat rolls on the backs of their necks

95. David Cronenberg

96. Jennifer Love Hewitt

97. Disappointing  the people I love

98. People who are too cool to dance

99. Feeling left out

100. People who google “things I don’t like” 

An Ode to My Gym

O Gym! 

 

How you intrigue me with your vast wasteland of weirdos and muscleheads. How varied are they? Let me count the ways!

 

To the gym rats who filmed each other working out.

 

To the sad math teacher who seemed about one week away from suicide. 

 

To the old Chinese man who rocked a mean blues harmonica in the pool area. 

 

To the old Korean women who never swim, but only bounce and who frequently hawk horrible loogies in the shower. 

 

To the man making business deals while spinning. 

 

To the macho dude who got into a shouting match in the middle of the room. 

 

To the personal trainer who was eating a chocolate chip cookie when he checked me in. 

 

To the incredible woman with a true poodle mullet, 7th grade nurse slacks and a denim Looney Tunes embroidered button down – who I just found out was ALSO the crazy swimming lady with full on mask, snorkel and flippers.

 

To the man who asked me while I was swimming if I took any kind of special medicine to get my skin this perfect pink-white color. 

 

To the older woman with huge fake breasts who had had so much plastic surgery she looks like Janice from the muppets. 

 

To the men who insist on making awful, contorted faces and groaning in a repulsive way while they lift weights. 

 

To the personal trainer who looks like a taller, dopier Jake Gyllenhaal. 

 

I salute you all. 

Girlhood Crush – Film Series

 

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So I know some of you thought I was just idly rambling on about boys that i like to look at, but in actuality I had a bigger plan!! (evil laughter) July 15 & 16 will mark the first double feature at the New Beverly Cinema for the Girlhood Crush series! Since I began my blog with Ethan Hawke, my first double is Dead Poet’s Society paired with Reality Bites.

 

 

 

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Ladies, this is my challenge to you. Prove that there are female film fans in LA. I work at the New Bev 5 days a week and every single night, without fail, there are probably 75% men in attendance. Now i’m no feminist, and I love the women that do come, but I can’t help but think “Where are the other Julia’s?” I KNOW I’m not the only major film geek girl in LA, so prove me wrong. Let’s rally together for our love of gorgeous boys and revival cinema and watch some amazing movies together!!

 

 

 

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I am hoping to do a Girlhood Crush double feature every month at the Bev, two movies starring one beautiful boy, and I would love for this to catch on and be an event that movie chicks dig. But it will only catch on if you show up! So, as a fellow girl and film lover, be a pal and let people know about this bitchin’ Hawke double coming up this month, and come on down!!

 

 

 

Tickets available at the door – $8 for two movies!! Monday and Tuesday, July 15 & 16. Dead Poet’s Society plays at 7:30 and Reality Bites plays at 10pm. 

Girlhood Crush – Christian Bale

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I don’t have a clue what happened on the set of American Psycho, but whatever it was, it changed Christian Bale’s life forever. Up until that film, Christian had mostly been playing the lovable-crafty-slightly-abrasive-gorgeous-dream-boy, then he beefed up and veneered out to play Patrick Bateman, and I feel like he kind of stayed that way forever. (The same way Jennifer Connelly sadly lost all of her luscious curves to play a heroin addict in Requiem for a Dream, and then stayed scary skinny afterwards.) In recent years, Bale has kind of gone into Nicolas Cage territory – swinging wildly from blockbuster action films (Terminator Salvation) to indies where he gets sharply emaciated (The Machinist, Rescue Dawn, The Fighter) and, of course, his ridiculously voiced Batman. He’s yelled at lighting guys, he’s shaved his head bald – he’s kind of all over the map. So I can’t say much for him as he is now (except I saw him at Disneyland once and he is TALL.) But, once upon a time….

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A couple of years ago for my birthday, I threw myself a “Dress as a Spielberg Character” party. We had several Elliots from ET, Elsa from Last Crusade, even a Smee and Peter Pan. I dressed as Christian Bale’s character in Empire of the Sun, in a little British school boy outfit – and everyone asked me if I was supposed to be the guitarist from AC/DC. NO ONE at that party had ever seen Empire of the Sun – a Spielberg movie!! As you can probably guess, I saw it upon its release in the theater. And while WWII internment camp movies probably aren’t normal fare for 8 year olds, I adored it. And thought Christian Bale was precious – and an incredible actor. He blew me away again in Henry V

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So, of course, when in 1992 I heard he was headlining a musical about cute NYC turn of the century paper boys called Newsies I was all in. At the time, Christian was adorable, the movie was decent, and that was that. I recently learned that Christian did not sign on to a musical, but that they changed their minds once he was already cast, and he bravely decided to learn to sing and dance and stay on the film. When watching Newsies as an adult, this is very obvious. He is kind of an awful singer and dancer, but he’s so beautiful and he’s trying so hard that it’s kind of endearing. 

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I guess Bale really loves to dance, though, because his next film was the 1993 film Swing Kids. LADIES. Can we talk about this movie. Seriously talk. Because I cannot even tell you how INTO this movie I was.  I was heavily into swing the moment I saw Swing Kids – which was about six months to a year before it became cool in popular culture. I bought and wore a vintage 40’s dress to my freshman year winter formal (see photo below, i’m bottom left) and was HEARTILY made fun of. (“Why are you wearing those weird clothes? Why is your hair like that?) (Even though I knew deep down I looked bitchin’). And all of those fucking posers were the ones who got super into swing when it got fashionable. Ahh, high school…but I digress…

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Swing Kids is a movie wherein good-hearted best friends Christian Bale and Robert Sean Leonard (don’t worry, we’ll get to him soon…) decide that the only way they can really rebel against that pesky nazi party is to swing dance. This is seriously the plot of this movie. Swing dancing vs. nazis. (But who didn’t tear up at the end….swing heil! swing heil!) For ME this was a movie featuring two of my very favorite boys being so incredibly adorable I could bearly stand it, AND dancing like fucking badasses. (and some nazi stuff….) I listened to the soundtrack obsessively, I was INTO it. AND it fully cemented my Leonard/Bale crushes. One of my favorite things about the film is that even though he is supposed to be German, Bale has the exact same New Yawk accent he has in Newsies. The fact that Branagh is doing a hard German accent, and Leonard and Whaley have a flat Americans just makes it even weirder…

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Then we had his super cute portrayal of Laurie in Little Women, followed by his incredibly fucking hot performance in Velvet Goldmine. Can I pause just a minute and say that Velvet Goldmine might be one of the best Hollywood films for hot boy-on-boy action – Ewan McGregor, Christian Bale AND Jonathan Rhys-Myers? YES PLEASE. We had one more dreamboat role for Bale in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and then BAM! Patrick Bateman for life. So weird. 

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BUT! At least he is a man who had grown up strong and takes the roles he really wants, so kudos to him for that. 

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Mr. Bale, I salute you. 

Girlhood Crush – Elijah Wood

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Let’s go waaaaaaaaay back. Back to one of my very first boy crushes. I was 10 in 1989 and I loved watching music videos. I was also in my one phase of my entire life when I actually listened to current pop music. (I have listened to mainly 50’s and 60’s stuff before and since) I loved Paula Abdul, and I loved watching her music videos. The David Fincher directed Forever Your Girl video was one of my favorites – because there was a little boy in it playing a sad business man who had the most spectacular eyes and was the most beautiful little boy I had ever seen in my life. His name was Elijah Wood.

 

 

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MTV and VH1 only had a handful of videos in rotation at one time in those days, so I would usually spend my afternoons after school waiting during an entire rotation to see the video twice, if possible. I eagerly watched everything I could get my hands on that he was in. I would watch whole films just to get a glimpse. Avalon, Paradise, Radio Flyer, Forever Young, The Good Son – these were all consumed voraciously. And THEN The Adventures of Huck Finn came out and I was hooked. I saw it several times in the theater. Being obsessed with this film lead to my Mark Twain obsession, and I read all of the Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn I could get my hands on (including the super obscure Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective.) I told you, somehow, my boy obsessions almost always seemed to lead to literature in some way. It also started my movie poster collection. I asked the local movie theater near my house in Las Vegas what they were going to do with the Huck Finn poster after the movie stopped playing there – throw it out, they said. I said I wanted it and from then on they would give/sell me any movie posters I wanted. I had the Huck Finn poster up in my room for years.

 

 

 

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I stayed loyal during the teenage “lean years” of The Ice Storm and The Faculty. I loved watching him grow up. (I’m two years old than he). And then, of course, came Lord of the Rings. I couldn’t have been happier when I heard Elijah had been chosen to play Frodo – and that Peter Jackson was directing!! One of my favorite directors AND one of my favorite actors?! I was doomed to be obsessed. I attended every midnight screening of the films, and have done middle earth madness too (watching all three directors cuts back to back – a 12 hour endeavor). I was elated that Elijah was finally getting the top billing and acting kudos he deserved. He seemed to take in all in stride, and I loved that even more.

 

 

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Since Lord of the Rings,  he has made so many interesting and cool choices with his career – everything from Sin City to Everything is Illuminated to Maniac and Wilfred. And, I learned, he has started own production company as well.

 

 

 

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I met Elijah this past December at Butt-Numb-A-Thon at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas. I knew he would be there and I was asbolsutely ecstatic – and terrified. He follows me on twitter, so I knew he at least knew who I was, but when you dream about meeting someone for 25 years, theres a little bit of pressure there. Mingling in the theater before the first film, I told my friend Moises how excited/nervous I was to meet Elijah. He laughed and said he would introduce us, they were friendly. I said okay, but urged him to wait until a couple of movies had played and I had calmed down a bit. He said he would. Just then my order of nachos arrived and I sat down happily to munch. Suddenly, there was a tap on my shoulder. You see where this is headed. I turned around with a giant mouthful of nachos and found myself gazing into those giant blue eyes I knew so well. I made a small yelping sound, turned bright red and clumsily stood up. I proceeded to babble in an octave two higher than my own about how big of a fan I was and how excited I was to meet him. It was pretty embarassing. He took it very well and was very sweet and gave me a big hug and said he was looking forward to Out of Print. It was pretty much everything I dreamed it would be.

 

 

 

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Then, about two weeks ago, Elijah messaged me and asked if he could do a private screening at the New Beverly. I assured him I would do everything in my power to make that happen. And so, this past weekend, we had a small cast & crew screening of a great indie film that he did called Grand Piano – and I brought something with me to show him. In 1990, when I was at the height of my obsession with him, I had written him a letter. A typical fan letter to be sure, praising his acting abilities and his good looks. And he sent me back a signed headshot. Which I have kept all of these years. I told him about this, and showed him the picture. And he laughed. He thought it was hilarious. I showed the director of Grand Piano, Eugenio Mira, the picture and told him that I had been in love with him since I was 10. Eugenio said, “I’m a straight man, but I’m in love with him too.” At which point Elijah came into the room and Eugenio and I both giggled nervously and assured him we were most certainly not just talking about how in love with him we are. Elijah handled my nervous adoration in a great way (i’m sure he’s used to it) and was incredibly sweet and friendly. We talked about horror movies, and I got three incredible hugs.

 

 

 

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I cannot tell you what a relief it is to me that he is a genuinely nice person. One of the downfalls of girlhood crushes is being in love with a fantasy – not the person themselves. And meeting this person who has been built up so much in your mind can be scary – what if they crush everything I have thought about them my whole life? Rest assurred, he is nice, smart and funny. And incredibly fucking good looking.

 

 

 

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So this might be super awkward if he ends up reading this (Hi, Elijah!) since I would genuinely like for him to program at the New Beverly and work with him in the future, but I couldn’t write about my girlhood crushes and not write about the one I have had the longest.  I have been in love with this man for most of my life, and I imagine I will continue to be for the rest of it. I have confidence that he will continue to make great choices in his career, and I look forward to seeing him continue to grow up.

 

 

 

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Mr. Wood, I salute you.

 

 

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Girlhood Crush – Ethan Hawke

Alright, Ladies. I’m going to take you back. Back to a time – somewhere between 1988-1995, when you were reaching that tender age in which a teenage girl begins to yearn for an adorable, sensitive boy to hold and kiss. But this particular type of boy couldn’t be found at school or at youth meetings, he could only be found in between the pages of such mockingly named periodicals as Bop, Big Bopper and Tiger Beat.

 

 

Yes, I’m talking about your pin-up boy crush.

 

 

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We’ve all had them. I, at one time or another had five or more boys at once pinned to my bedroom wall. Cute boys. Boys with crooked smiles. Boys with heart melting blue eyes. Boys with dangerously cute floppy hair.

 

 

I actually spent my summer between 6th and 7th grade writing letters frantically with up to 10 pen pals a day – from all over the country and from all over the world – girls found in the back of said magazines who would trade you pictures of your crush if you sent back pictures of hers (especially awesome if they lived in another country and you got French or Japanese versions of newspaper clippings.) Say you weren’t totally into Jonathan Brandis (I wasn’t – something too goody-goody about him) but you LOVED Edward Furlong (I did – that hair…ooh…that hair…) you two could switch and BINGO! You got rid of the ones you didn’t want for ones that you did! More posters to love and kiss!!

 

 

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The thing that’s funny to me looking back now, is that none of my feelings for any of these boys were ever sexual. I dreamed of kissing them, snuggling with them and maybe living together, but nothing beyond that. They remained perfect boyfriend fantasies – always saying and doing the right things. I would spend hours with my friends at weekend sleep-overs lying in bed, lights out, describing our ideal chaste lives with our beaus. Mainly this would consist of describing our first date, leading up to the life changing good-night kiss, and then fast forwarding to our incredibly hip wedding, the details of which a teenage girl can get lost in for hours.

 

 

I decided today I should take a walk through memory lane and re-visit all of those old crushes who adorned my walls and book covers. Find the particular snapshots of my loves that I gazed at longingly every night, falling asleep beside and waking up to every morning. The ones that burrowed their way into my soul – even now. The ones that I loved so much it almost hurt.

 

 

We’re going to start with one that, thankfully, has been making a comeback as of late…Ladies…remember Mr. Ethan Hawke?

 

 

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Dead Poet’s Society loomed large during my junior high years. A movie made especially for the pre-pubescent girl – brimming with gorgeous boys in uniforms being passionate about life, love and poetry!! (SWOON!) I was a fan of both Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard in this film (we’ll get to Mr. Leonard in another post), but today lets focus on Mr. Hawke. His character, Todd, is unbearably shy. and yearning to belong – to break out – to sound his barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world!! I was INTO this character. And, by proxy, I got into some poetry, so this was a win win situation. And as you will see in these posts, my boy crushes very often turned into literary explorations. Yes, I will write it here for the world to see – if you asked me about all of the books I have ever read in my lifetime you would probably find that 75% or more were read for a reason trailing back to a cute boy. And I LOVE to read.

 

 

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I was also known for pillaging the video store after I found a new crush. Eager to get more face time with my darling, I would watch any movie I found with them in it. Which lead to me watching some pretty varied and weird things as a pre-teen. Watching Dead Poet’s Society lead me to watch Dad, White Fang (leading to a brief Jack London phase), A Midnight Clear and even Alive. Can I confess something that’s super creepy looking back on it? I was INTO Alive. Way too into it. I saw the movie 11 times in the theater. My 14th birthday party was me dragging all of my friends to the theater to see it. I read the books – it was, like, a whole thing. Only I could go to a movie about plane-crashed-cannibal-rugby-players FOR THE CUTE BOYS. Sigh. Okay, onward.

 

 

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Let’s take a long stroll down Mystery Date lane. Ladies. LADIES. This is primo stuff. First rate shy-smiles, hair tosses and sweet kisses. Heady. I cannot count the number of times I watched this movie. I knew every glance, every awkward giggle, every twisted smile by heart. I just re-watched this movie today and can I tell you, it doesn’t disappoint. He is still as incredibly beautiful as I remember, and everything came flooding back. So much so that I immediately had to leap upon this laptop and type away my overflowing thoughts and feelings. Wowsers.

 

 

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Ethan also wins special points for sending me an autograph in reply to my girlish letter! (many didn’t – we will get to the Corey Haim autograph debacle in another post)I actually kept up a correspondence with Ethan Hawke’s grandmother for a while, as I found out she was answering his fan letters for him at the time. She kept me posted on all his movie adventures for a year or two!! (When you’re a teenage girl, knowing even Ethan Hawke’s grandmother is a dream come true, and worth major bragging points in middle school.)

 

 

I followed onwards with Reality Bites and Before Sunrise, but the height of my Ethan Hawke fanaticism had waned. I still make it a point to watch his new films when they appeal to me, but at the time my crushes ran hot and cold and fast. You snoozed, and I was on to other boys and other posters. Still! I am glad he is back in business with TWO movies in the theaters currently! (Before Midnight and The Purge)

 

 

Mr. Hawke, I salute you.

Kerouac, Man.

Kerouac - On the Road book cover[4]

 

I have been a major Jack Kerouac fan since I was about 15. I found On the Road and became fascinated with his world of jazz, poetry, and intellectualism. I would carry my battered copy around with me throughout high school, highlighting my favorite words and phrases. My friends and I started dressing in black and going to weekly poetry readings at the Enigma coffee-house. (My grandmother was very opposed to this – every week she would accuse me of going to hang out with dope fiends in an opium den. Really. In 1995.)

 

 

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My high school Kerouac coup de grace (besides having his “burn. burn. burn” speech as my senior quote) was convincing ten or so of my friends to dress up as beatniks with me for Halloween. We went trick or treating, wearing our dark shades and black turtlenecks, calling out “Trick Or Treat, Daddy-O” as doors were opened. I then would start shouting passages from On The Road to them while  bebop jazz blared from my boombox. Needless to say, most people were flummoxed. Las Vegas is many things, but a literary hub is not one of them.

 

 

 

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After high school I fell out of the obsession, but happily recently found it again – thanks to Walter Salles’ film adaptation of On the Road. I was nervous going in, since the book is practically un-filmable and because the subject matter is so dear, but I was overwhelmingly surprised. It’s a tremendous film. I know it’s been snubbed quite a bit because of Kristen Stewart’s involvement, but she is great in the film, and fought very hard to be part of it. Sam Riley is fantastically gruff and salty as Sal Paradise, Garrett Hedlund does a passable Neal Cassady, and Tom Sturridge shines bright as Allen Ginsberg.  It’s beautifully shot, and obviously made with great care.  The film captures the feeling and the energy of the book very well – fleshing out the naughtiest bits such as their frequent drug use and promiscuous sex for a modern-day audience . These portions are in the book, alright, just glossed over as would have been necessary in 1957, the year the book was published.

 

 

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Unfortunately, it played in ONE theater in Los Angeles for two weeks. Seriously. I saw the film in its opening week, and dragged my boyfriend back to see it the second week, since I knew it wouldn’t last long. I don’t know what the studio did with their marketing campaign there, but it was really given a lousy showing. I’m sure it will be on VOD and Netflix and whatnot soon – please check it out, I’d love to know what you think.

 

 

As an adult, I’ve seen past the bongos and lingo to see what the Beats were really about – LIVING. Just experiencing everything as it comes and filtering it into language as best as possible. I can’t think of another literary movement so enthralled with just living living living – more, faster, crazier, louder. It’s really inspiring – DO MORE! BE MORE!

 

 

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The one who has really captured my attention this time around, though, has been Neal Cassady (Dean Moriarty in On the Road and Cody Pomeroy in several others), Kerouac’s buddy and accomplice. Besides inspiring Kerouac to actually go on the road and, in turn, write his novels, he also was a muse to Allen Ginsberg and Ken Kesey – who later admitted to basing Randle McMurphy from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on Cassady. He was the inspiration and spark  for two major cultural movements – both the Beats and the crazy Acid Head’s of the 60’s – Neal Cassady was the driver for Further, the bus that took Kesey & the Merry Pranksters across America to blow everyone’s mind.

 

 

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How could ONE man inspire so much? Everyone who met him declared him god-like, holy, a man with infinite energy and enthusiasm – a man who wanted to live more than anyone they had ever met. I’ve ready several biographies/autobiographies of Neal now, and of course each one reveals the negative side to his incandescence – the constant disappearing and drinking, sex and drugs, leaving behind wives and children without a second thought if it led to KICKS quicker and easier. I’m not condoning such behavior, of course, but it has got me wondering. If Neal inspired so much incredible art – and only lived to be 42, mind you,  I have to root for him for living his life the way he wanted to and not ever letting anything get in his way.

 

 

So here I sit, listening to bebop jazz (the closest thing you could get to rock n roll in 1950), and dreaming of Neal Cassady. Wanting to meet him and just spend time LIVING myself. Lighting out for the territories myself and see what mad people await me out there in the world – because the only people for me are the mad ones….

 

 

Neal Cassady & Jack Kerouac ..

A moving moment at the New Beverly

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As everyone knows, the New Beverly Cinema is my favorite place in the world, and getting to work there is so incredible. I get to program double features for my birthday (this year its The Chipmunk Adventure & The Secret Of Nimh), meet my heroes and get paid to watch movies. What more could a girl ask for?

 

 

This past week we showed a double feature of Rian Johnson’s Looper & Brick with Rian in attendance. I got to know Rian when he did his week of programming back in 2009. He’s a funny, sweet, intelligent and humble guy – not to mention incredibly talented. He did lots of unique and fun things during his week of programming – power point presentations, musical performances, dancing – and his choices of movies (all con men movies in honor of Brothers Bloom) were amazing – including F for Fake, The Lady Eve, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and The Man Who Would Be King. 

 

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So, in short, when Rian is around, fun ensues.

 

 

Both nights screenings of Looper & Brick were sold out, and Rian brought along special guests both nights – actors Nora Zehenter, Noah Segan and Matthew O’Leary the first night, and Michele Posch, costume designer on Brick as well as his cinematographer,Steve Yedlin the second night. Both nights he also brought along his cousin and composer of all of his films, Nathan Johnson.

 

After the Q&A on the second night, Rian announced they had planned a little something special – I didn’t even know what it was. 

 

 

 

Rian, Nathan, Michelle and Noah proceeded to re-enact the opening scene of Brick, along with live musical accompaniment. Noah donned Joseph Gordon Levitt’s coat from the film and knelt by Michelle, who put on Emilie de Ravin’s jacket from the film and lay facedown on the stage. Nathan brought out his metallophone – the instrument that makes the haunting noise in the score – and Rian played guitar. I knelt by Rian and held the microphone. 

 

 

 

I have to say, kneeling there, in my favorite place in the entire world, transfixed along with the sold out crowd, watching these amazing people and hearing this beautiful music is right up there in my top five New Beverly moments – and that’s saying a lot. 

 

 

 

Just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge this incredible memory, and say how grateful I am to have such a terrific job. 

 

 

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