I’m not going to lie to you folks, the pickings this week are as slim as they’ve ever been since On the Marquee started. But I’m not going to let that stop me, not on this holiest of weeks, the glorious holiday wherein we celebrate how a simple crop-dusting plane helmed by a Quaid brother toppled an entire alien empire. Did Will Smith give up when a giant space alien covered in goo and tentacles came charging at him from its spacecraft? No, he punched it. He punched it right in its stupid alien face. So that’s what I’m going to do for you guys, metaphorically transform my words into Will Smith’s fist and “welcome to Earth” the hell out of this column.
Monday July 1 through Wednesday, July 3: Django Unchained
10pm @ AMC Mayfair 18 ($3!)
As part of their awesome Summer Movie Nights program, the next three evenings will feature a fantastically discounted opportunity to check out Quentin Tarantino’s Academy Award-winning epic tale of one man’s journey back to his wife come hell or high water (or castration, or Leonardo DiCaprio lecture on skull morphology as it relates to the races, or…). I’ve already spoken a bit about how much I love this particular movie before, so I won’t bore you with the details again, suffice to say that three dollars is a bargain to see a Tarantino on the big screen, as they really are distilled cinematic expressions of pure joy. Plus the proceeds from your ticket go to a lot of great causes (Autism Society, Will Rogers Institute, etc.) so there’s really no reason not to go!
Wednesday, July 3: The Lone Ranger
Opens wide @ all local theater chains
Staying in the western milieu, we have the mega-budget summer tentpole Lone Ranger remake coming out this week starring The Social Network’s Armie Hammer as our titular hero and Johnny Depp as his stalwart co-conspirator Tonto. Gore Verbinski’s worth was proven by the execrable fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, so even if Lone Ranger proves to be messy and overlong (with a runtime of over two and a half hours, it’s hard to imagine it won’t be) we’ll be assured of crisply executed action with a liberal sprinkling of Johnny Depp mugging. I for one am intrigued and excited to check it out.
Thursday, July 4: THE TOM FUCHS CINEMATIC CELEBRATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
Invented as of this article (Prices may vary)
Due to the lack of local screenings happening this week (something about a giant music festival called Summertown or something), I’m taking it upon myself to offer you some freedom-flavored alternate options while we wait for the movie events to come back with a vengeance in the coming weeks. So here, in no particular order, are five films very much so worth tracking down and watching this Fourth of July weekend:
1) Independence Day
You didn’t think I could be limited to just referencing this big slice of American cheese just in the preface to this week’s column, did you? Some of the most watchable nonsense of my childhood, filled to the brim with Goldblumy goodness.
2) Air Force One
American cheese from a slightly more upscale grocer here, but who didn’t wish we had a president like Harrison Ford when this first came out? He’s no Seagalian killing machine in this movie, just a man who’s doing what he believes to be right who just so happens to be the leader of the free world. Plus: Oldman!
3) Yankee Doodle Dandy
A quintessential American success story filled with James Cagney’s inimitable singing and dancing (like Mr. Rogers downed a gallon of Five Hour Energy) and some of the best patriotic songs ever crafted this side of Toby Keith’s boot.
4) Team America: World Police
As your night of patriotic film-binging winds to a close you’ll need something like this masterwork from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, a movie that completely obliterates the notion of American exceptionalism while simultaneously exemplifying it. Fact: You have not fully celebrated the fourth until you’ve sung this film’s theme song aloud.
5) Land of the Dead
And I end with this pick if for no other reason than the pure perfection of the fireworks motif used throughout the film. (It starts as a counter-measure used to distract the zombies from what’s really going on, and then….watch the movie!) It isn’t a celebration of American values, but what’s more American than a citizen getting to voice his dissatisfaction with the state of affairs through this medium we love so dearly? Only one thing: Will Smith knocking an alien unconscious with a single punch in the middle of the desert and subsequently dragging him to Area 51.
That wraps up this unique edition of On the Marquee. We’ll be back next week with a much more robust docket of films for your pleasure. Until then, happy movie going!