summer film squealing

Y’all just excuse me a minute while I jump up and down and make little squeaky happy noises.
Because the Paramount Theatre summer film schedule is out, and despite a sad lack of Peckinpah movies, this is some of the best film programming they have done in years. I am very pleased at the number of movies they are showing that are currently not available on DVD (and are damn hard to find even on VHS). I am also pleased at the films they are showing that need a big theater screen or a large audience, in order to truly shine.

I was so perkily happy when I saw the schedule that I started typing in movie titles at random into the IM window I was using to chat with my boyfriend, whom I am sure wondered what in the hell was going on and who hasn’t seen (yet) all the movies I was going crazy about.
Normally I get a bit cranky about some of the double features the Paramount shows. They sound like good ideas in theory, but when you’re actually going to sit through them, you have to wonder. For example, last year they showed a double feature of Taxi Driver and Midnight Cowboy. No one should have to sit through those movies one right after the other. I am surprised I had the strength to drag myself out of the theater afterwards.
Admittedly there are a few weird double features this year—I wouldn’t pair Sabrina and Casablanca myself—but I am very pleased at matchups like It Happened One Night and Twentieth Century (made within a year of each other with some of the same supporting cast members, both contributing to the roots of the romantic comedy film, and just plain entertaining together), and Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, and The Bank Dick and I’m No Angel, both of which I have wanted to watch recently but they’re difficult-if-not-impossible to find on DVD.
My favorite double feature of the schedule, though, is two of my favorite movies, neither of which are currently available on DVD in this country: Bringing Up Baby and Holiday. I’m told that Bringing Up Baby is currently being restored and it’s taking awhile due to some flaws in the print, but I have no idea when Holiday will ever be released on DVD, and it’s a particular favorite of mine.
The Paramount is also showing The Hidden Fortress, which I have been bugging my boyfriend to see ever since we were both disappointed by Treasure of the Sierra Madre, because I think this movie is more like what we were expecting. We would have watched the DVD, but it will be a much more enjoyable experience to see it in a theater. And there’s a restored print of Grand Illusion, which I am looking forward to seeing (I’ve never seen the movie).
They’re also including the director’s cut of Cinema Paradiso, which I don’t think I want to see. I was happy enough with the original theatrical release and I have heard that the director’s cut is too long and dull. Sometimes directors should not be allowed to mess with a finished film.
The schedule does seem to focus on more light film fare this year. No Peckinpah, no Scorcese, no gritty 1960s or 1970s films. They are showing some of the darker films as late-night features, like Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, and El Mariachi. They’re also featuring a Sergio Leone retrospective.
As in past years, Austin Film Society is hosting films on Monday nights at the Paramount, films with a little more weight than the rest of the schedule, like Peeping Tom, Days of Heaven, Last Tango in Paris and The Third Man.
I am sorry to see they’re not showing any Mel Brooks movies this year, because normally a group of friends of mine liked to get together for the traditional Blazing Saddles/Young Frankenstein double-feature. They’re showing The Jerk, and some Pink Panther movies, and Vacation, but it’s not the same. And where are the Billy Wilder movies? Sabrina is the only one on the schedule.
And I wish someone in this town would please show The Wild Bunch in a theater sometime soon because it is driving me crazy that I had to watch it on my little bitty TV. Someone. Please.
Meanwhile, I am still jumping up and down and squeaking a bit. Because … ooh! Holiday! And Stage Door! Two movies in which my own VHS copies are so poor I cannot show them to other people, and can barely watch them myself, and now I have the chance to see them in a theater and perhaps inflict them upon others. That’s my idea of a good time.
And these are my idea of good summer movies. Forget all that shiny new blockbuster stuff with the explosions. Whee!

One thought on “summer film squealing”

  1. I like the idea of pairing movies that DON’T belong together intentionally. Maybe that’s just me. And I guess it’s not a very good business paradigm or maybe it is since you can get into both movies for free if you stay.
    It’s too easy to “give em what they want” and that’s usually what the summer series is. I’m not knocking it – it’s a great opportunity to see some of the “classics” on a truly large screen but I think I could slam together a sample summer schedule over a coffee and a piece of toast. I wish they’d get some truly unique things up there but I guess that’s what the Drafthouse is for. Just would be great to see something like Audition or Funny Games on that huge screen.
    There used to be an ad in the chronicle for some place across the street where you could get a meal there and you’d get 2 free tickets to the Paramount. My ex and I would go there – scarf down some food for like a $13-$15 bill – then go to the flick. Not a bad deal. Hope they do it again.

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