Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Jason goes to Midnites for Maniacs--the Sadie Hawkin's tribute.

Last Friday night at the Castro, our cinema-church celebrated female empowerment with a trio of films. So let's jump right in.

ROMY AND MICHELLE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION (1997): This is actually the one film of the night I was looking forward to/dreading the most. Looking forward to it because it was the one I hadn't seen before. Dreading it because I remember why I avoided it 15 years ago. I had--and still have--little interest in watching the dumb adventures of dumb L.A. bleach blonds, and that's all it was marketed as. So I could blame the marketing for the fact that I had never seen it, but in truth if I want to call myself a true cinephile I should be willing to avoid the marketing and take a chance at an odd looking movie. Because the thing is, ROMY AND MICHELLE is secretly a modern pop fantasy surrealist masterpiece. Yes, they're ditzy blonds, and that's still the part of the movie I don't care much for. And it took a while for me to get into it, but the dream sequence (oh yeah, sorry, I'm going to get spoiler-y now--it's a 15 year old movie so if you haven't seen it yet it's your fault) was just awesome. They played with the convention, tipping off that it's a dream sequence (a dream sequence while driving in a car, no less) but then dragging it on to a ridiculous length (like 70 years later!) And then the dance sequence! Okay, my new goal in life is to convince two lovely ladies to recreate the dance scene from ROMY AND MICHELLE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION with me (level of difficulty, I have to dance Mira Sorvino's part.) Oh, not to mention how good Janeane Garofalo is at playing a bitter, angry bitch--but has a redemptive moment when she realizes there was someone whom she made miserable in high school! Dammit, this movie was actually good!

PRETTY IN PINK (1986): This was only my second time seeing PRETTY IN PINK. I can practically hear you all gasping! If you think that's shocking, brace yourself--I wasn't that impressed with it the first time I saw it, and I'm still not impressed. And I can't really identify why. The acting is great and the characters memorable--Molly Ringwald, Harry Dean Stanton, young Jon Cryer going nuts as Duckie, Annie Potts, James Spader, Andrew McCarthy. They all do great work here. Even Andrew Dice Clay's cameo as a bouncer is pretty amusing. And the story--high school angst and romance wrapped around a form of class warfare...well, it should be more interesting. But that's just it, as far as I can tell every element works in this movie, I'm just not interested in it. That's just the way it is. I'm sorry, I know Midnites for Maniacs is a judgement-free zone, but this blog isn't.

CARRIE (1976): And finally, this classic. Brian De Palma being sleazy, funny, and scary, in this first ever adaptation of a Stephen King novel to film. I fuckin' love this movie, probably my second favorite De Palma film (behind PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE.)  It was an awesome treat to see it on the big screen, in 35 mm. And, like PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, I always manage to notice something new in it. This time our host Jesse Hawthorne Ficks alerted us to keep an eye out for Hitchcock references. I had noticed previously that the school was Bates High School (a reference to the main character in PSYCHO), but I somehow had never made the connection that they were called the Stingers (their mascot being a bee.) I guess the last time I saw CARRIE was so long ago that I didn't realize that "stinger" is a term for the piercing notes in a film score, most easily exemplified by the theme to PSYCHO (which is referenced heavily in CARRIE's soundtrack.) Well played, De Palma, well played!

Total Running Time: 286 minutes
My Total Minutes: 324,086

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