Jackalope Brewing Presents National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
When: 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2
Where: The Belcourt
Merry Christmas! Shitter was full! If the holiday season makes you want to lock yourself in the attic (even if accidentally) while the rest of the family does last-minute shopping, hightail it to The Belcourt for a screening of the modern holiday classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
In addition to enjoying the antics of the Griswold clan, you’ll be the first to try local brewery Jackalope’s newest beer, Snowman Stout. The Jackalope gals, Bailey and Robin, will debut the new concoction, which is brewed with whole coffee beans and organic cocoa nibs. Sounds almost as delicious as cat food-infused Jell-O. Fifteen bucks gets you admission to the film and unlimited pours.
Reviled by critics and beloved by many cult movie fans, Sam Peckinpah’s 1978 ode to vehicular destruction, Convoy, is the perfect way to unwind after a day of stuffing yourself to the gills. Based on C.W. McCall’s massive 1975 hit song, the movie was an obvious cash-in on the CB radio and trucker craze of the mid-1970s, even if it rolled into the chicken coop just a little behind schedule.
By this point in his career, Peckinpah was well into his epic journey of self-destruction, and the results are reflected on the screen. After throwing most of the script away, Peckinpah instructed his actors to ad lib scenes, and then disappeared into his trailer to ingest more booze and drugs, leaving a good portion of the direction to second-unit director James Coburn.
But despite the big sloppy mess that the movie became, or perhaps because of it, Convoy works beautifully as a portrait of the big, sloppy cultural mess that was the 1970s. Combine that with the on-screen charisma of Kris Kristofferson and Ali MacGraw, great character actors like Ernest Borgnine, Burt Young and Madge Sinclair, and throw in massive amounts of car crashes and things blowing up real good from back in the pre-CGI days where movie crews really did have to destroy property, and you’ve got a mix that will inspire many a “Hell YEAH!” in the right audience.
The 20 for this parade of polyester-era mayhem is the Cult Fiction Underground in the basement of Logue’s Black Raven Emporium, Friday night only, 8 and 10 p.m. So slap your ears on and look out for Smokey. And on the flip side, be sure to catch Saturday’s Cult Fiction Underground salute to William Shatner, A Taste of Shat. 10-4, good buddy?
A friend who works at movie theaters over the holidays once told me he felt he was performing a needed public service. If a lot of families couldn't get a few hours' respite from each other's company, he said, somebody would wind up with a basting brush in his back.
With that in mind, here's a recap of some of your viewing options this Thanksgiving weekend (which for us boil down to this and everything else):
Above: the impressive trailer for The Motel Life, the indie drama by directors Alan and Gabe Polsky, starring Stephen Dorff and Emile Hirsch as brothers forced into desperate flight. It costars Dakota Fanning and Kris Kristofferson and opens Friday at The Belcourt.
• Now playing is Oldboy, Spike Lee's take on the devious Park Chan-wook thriller, with Josh Brolin as the man hardened by 20 years of mysterious confinement into a revenge-seeking missile. In this week's Scene, David Fear calls it "one helluva ballsy, batshit studio movie, directed with panache and flawless technique." More here.
• Also opening is Kasi Lemmons' reworking of Langston Hughes' musical Black Nativity. The Scene's Ron Wynn describes it as "affecting and superbly sung, if dramatically erratic," but praises the cast led by Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett. More here.
• "If you want your kids to learn what people went through during WWII, and why it's not so bad to read a damn book once in a while — hey, there was a time when people had to steal books, you Vine-posting bitches! — The Book Thief is here to help," writes the Scene's Craig D. Lindsey of the movie version of Marcus Zusak's acclaimed YA novel. More here.
• In addition, new openings include Stephen Frears' Philomena, with Judi Dench and Steve Coogan trawling for Oscars in the story of a woman seeking the long-lost child she was forced to give up in a convent (trailer below); Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela in the biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (trailer below); the seemingly one-sided grudge match of Jason Statham vs. James Franco in the Sylvester Stallone-scripted Homefront; and the Disney animated blockbuster Frozen.
• Still playing (and well worth seeing): Blue Is the Warmest Color and All Is Lost at The Belcourt; 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, About Time, Captain Phillips and Dallas Buyers Club in wide release. Find theater and showtime information here.
Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!
“D” as in Demy — Jacques Demy, subject of The Belcourt’s wondrous current retrospective, guaranteed to flush any toxins from your system that you incur clawing a flat-screen TV out of somebody’s hands at Best Buy. The retrospective comes to a head over the next four days, starting with Thanksgiving Day's delightful double feature of the 1964 Catherine Deneuve musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg — a candidate for my favorite movie of all time — and its eye-popping 1967 follow-up The Young Girls of Rochefort (below).
Friday's all-Demy-all-day lineup includes second looks at his 1961 debut Lola, his feverish 1963 gambling melodrama Bay of Angels with Jeanne Moreau, and his only American film, 1969's Model Shop (one of the discoveries of the series, judging by the comments I've heard in the lobby).
On Saturday, come at 12:50 p.m. so you can hear Vanderbilt film scholar Jennifer Fay discuss The Young Girls of Rochefort — starring Gene Kelly and the heart-fluttering pairing of real-life sisters Deneuve and Françoise Dorleac — then stay for Demy's exquisite Deneuve-led fairy tale Donkey Skin, his candy-colored satire A Slightly Pregnant Man with Marcello Mastroianni awaiting a blessed event, and his 1982 late-career masterpiece Une Chambre en Ville (A Room in Town). (That last film knocked people out at its first showing last Sunday night — it's far darker than anything else I've seen in the series, closer to opera in its intensity and lurid material than to a movie musical.)
The retro closes Sunday night with the pairing of Umbrellas and Rochefort — two of the most romantic movies ever made, and not to be missed on the big screen.
The biggest recent dramatic situation to hold Nashville’s theater community in its thrall happened about a month ago — not on a stage but in real life, when popular and talented actor/director David Compton suffered a scary heart seizure. With the help of excellent care, a new coronary gizmo and his fighting spirit, Compton has rebounded — he opens in Tennessee Rep’s production of A Christmas Story this week — but there are medical bills to be paid, and the ComptonPALOOZA benefit bash 7 p.m. Sunday is all about helping out a friend.
The price of admission includes a performance of Nashville Children’s Theatre’s Schoolhouse Rock Live! with special opening guests Bruce Arntson and Jenny Littleton singing selections from The Doyle and Debbie Show. The $20 ticket also includes The Chaffin’s Barn/Wienerfest/Yazoo VIP All-Access AfterBASH, featuring savory and sweet culinary lagniappes and beer. For tickets, click here or purchase at the door on the evening of the event.
Note: Despite the locale — NCT’s Hill Theatre, 25 Middleton St. — ComptonPALOOZA! is not considered altogether suitable for children.
Southern Foodways Alliance has announced that a celebration of Egerton's life has been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at the downtown Nashville Public Library, 615 Church St. Those attending are asked to bring a printed remembrance of him. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that mourners contribute to any of a list of Egerton's favorite charities.
In addition, starting Monday, the long-running John Seigenthaler series A Word on Words will run a week of classic Egerton episodes on NPT2. More from Nashville Public Television:
To celebrate the life of John Egerton, who died unexpectedly last week, we will dedicate an entire week of A Word on Words on NPT2 to Mr. Egerton’s appearances. The shows will air at 3:30 p.m. on NPT2 from Monday, December 2 through Friday, December 6. In these episodes, Mr. Egerton and host John Seigenthaler discusses Egerton’s books Where We Stand: Voices of Southern Dissent, Nashville: An American Self-Portrait and more.
NPT2 is available over-the-air on 8.2, on Comcast Channel 241 and Charter Cable channel 191.
Read also the Southern Foodways Alliance remembrance here.
[Note: As part of her ongoing project 30x30x30, poet Stephanie Pruitt is writing a poem each day for 30 days on site in response to a different work in the Frist Center's current exhibit 30 Americans, which spotlights art by 30 leading artists, all African American. To catch up with the series to date, click here.]
In relation to: Iona Rozeal Brown, "Untitled" (after Kikugawa Eizan's "Furya nana komachi")
[See several days of Pruitt's poems here, including her Day 25 response to Jean-Michel Basquiat and her Day 26 response to Nick Cave.]
LE JOUR SE LEVE directed by MARCEL CARNE (1939)
Running time: 93 minutes
In French with subtitles
Know how Dr. Strangelove has one of them trailing additional titles (... or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb), like When the Pawn ... ? This movie has one in my brain: Le Jour Se Leve, or How I Get to Pretend Like I'm Dating Jean Gabin. One of the perks of speaking French is that I can stare at him without having to read the sous-titres. AND I can take lyrical amusement in the title, which translates to the film's American title — Daybreak — but literally means "the day, it rises." Awesome.
Le Jour Se Leve is part character study, part one-man show, but is known for defining the French genre of poetic realism. So-called poetic realist films (including another Jean Gabin gem, Grand Illusion) just remind me of early American noir. But I could be missing the point and oversimplifying the era, soooo I don't put too fine a point on this genre BUT delight in its aesthetic elegance and composition.
The movie is about Francois (Jean Gabin) committing a murder and hiding out, and we get the story of his life via flashbacks. It wouldn't be a Janus film without some sexy drama attached to it, and this film has plenty! Upon its release it was suppressed by the Vichy government because of its "demoralizing" nature, and then, when it was to be remade in Hollywood in the late 1940's, RKO endeavored to buy up and destroy every existing copy of it they could find. But they didn't get 'em all! And also, now, Internet.
Jean Gabin was reportedly Sergio Leone's favorite actor, which makes sense, because he'd be a killer strong, silent type in a spaghetti Western. He's more of my imaginary not-alive-anymore movie boyfriend. Still, my heart is with Oskar Werner. And wouldn't you know which Janus classic is up next on the docket ...
Nashville filmmaker Shawn Foster wants to recreate the days when rock-star jai-alai athletes sold out frontons (arenas) and lived like kings in South Florida's coke-soaked underworld. Toward that end, Foster — a veteran music-video maker who's worked with everyone from the Deftones to the Drive-By Truckers, while directing episodes of HBO's popular Zane's Sex Chronicles — is mounting an Indiegogo campaign to raise $50,000 toward his planned feature Urquidi, which he describes as "Rocky meets Boogie Nights" (!). So far he's raised $1,440 with 18 days to go, and the campaign ends Dec. 14.
Read more about it. And if you like what you see, scoop up some cash in your basket-shaped xistera and toss it Foster's way.
Kilmer assumes the persona of the beloved humorist in Citizen Twain, which comes to the Ryman Feb. 7. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m.
Check out Stephen Trageser's story on Holbrook's performance at the Schermerhorn, which includes some commentary on Kilmer's Twain piece, here. And check out a Twain-worthy remark about the whole affair from the Scene's D. Patrick Rodgers here.
We can only imagine what would happen if Holbrook and Kilmer took the stage at once. If ever the Twains shall meet. Bada bing!
Of course, Kilmer is no stranger to Nashville. A couple of years ago, he came to town to star in Harmony Korine's "Lotus Community Workshop," a 26-minute film that was part of an omnibus from the folks at Vice, The Fourth Dimension. (Directors Alexey Fedorchenko and Jan Kwiecinski also contributed shorts.)
Check out "Lotus Community Workshop" after the jump. Kilmer turns in a pretty hysterical performance. Definitely worth watching. The full Citizen Twain press release follows.
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