Jason Reitman at the New Beverly

Jason Reitman at the New Beverly (photo)

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More Spring Preview: [Theatrical Calendar]
[Anywhere But a Movie Theater]
[Repertory Calendar for the Coasts]

Forgive Jason Reitman if he can’t remember exactly how it came about that he would be guest programming the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. Even though he can easily recall first stepping inside the repertory shrine for a program of Alfred Hitchcock miscellany including WWII propaganda shorts and the “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” episode “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” when he was 16, these are busy times for the writer/director, who has either been shuttling around town collecting awards for “Up in the Air” or holed up adapting Joyce Maynard’s novel “Labor Day” in recent months. Still, he’s taking a break to show some of his favorite films this week at the theater, and introducing each double feature on first night they show. He also found the time to tell us about his choices, so even if you aren’t in L.A. this week, you can get a prime the pump for watching them at home.

02152010_BuellerElection.jpgJohn Hughes’ “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and Alexander Payne’s “Election” (February 19 & 20)

First, I think “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is kind of a perfect movie and in particular, “Election” is a film that deeply influenced me and I just thought it would be interesting to see Matthew Broderick as student versus Matthew Broderick as teacher, not to mention Matthew Broderick in control of the world versus Matthew Broderick [with] the world in control of him. I think they’re oddly perfect two sides of the same coin, in which in “Ferris Bueller” we see the world as hopeful as it gets – that last year of high school when there is opportunity in anything, and then “Election” is about the opposing moment when you realize this is it. “Ferris Bueller” is a movie about there being no ceiling and “Election” seems to be a movie about touching the ceiling for the first time. Or banging your head on it.

02152010_BoogieShampoo.jpgHal Ashby’s “Shampoo” and Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights” (February 21 & 22)

“Boogie Nights” is a film that I saw at the Beverly Center for the first time at their first test screening and I saw the long version and that was a movie where I saw it and thought, wow, everything’s about to change. And “Shampoo” is a film that had an extraordinary influence on me as well, just in how I tell stories. I think “Up in the Air” is me desperately trying to make my “Shampoo” and I just thought they oddly went together. I think of Wahlberg’s character and Beatty’s character as interesting parallels. Oddly, now that I’m looking at all of my double features, I have to do with comparing the main characters. That there’s interesting line between the stars. Looking at “Boogie Nights” and “Shampoo,” there’s this inexplicable connection between their main characters and their ability to woo women that in a strange way their knack for romance is also their albatross.

02152010_BreakingBottle.jpgPeter Yates’ “Breaking Away” and Wes Anderson’s “Bottle Rocket” (February 24 & 25)

In the case of “Bottle Rocket” and “Breaking Away,” they’re my two favorite movies about misunderstood youth. They’re both about groups of guys in their late teens, early twenties who have been kind of cast aside and are trying to figure it out. I think it’s the [double feature] that excites me the most. It’s funny, I find a lot of people haven’t seen “Breaking Away” or haven’t seen it in a long time and I saw it recently, maybe a year or two ago, and I was struck by how perfect it is. It’s a movie without a false note and the actors are perfect. All four of those guys are just impeccable in it and it takes a world that people [ordinarily] don’t have access to, Suburban town in Indiana and yet has all these accessible ideas. And it speaks to the idea of our hopes and dreams and perhaps the moment where we’re let down. I suppose that’s in all six films that I’m showing and I guess it’s an important idea to me because it runs throughout my films as well — that moment of awakening and whether you acknowledge it or not.

If you live in the L.A. area, tickets are still available for Jason Reitman’s guest programming stint at the New Beverly with double features of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Election” (Feb. 19-20), “Shampoo” and “Boogie Nights” (Feb. 21-22), and “Breaking Away” and “Bottle Rocket” (Feb. 24-25).

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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was narrated by Robert Evans and based on his memoir of the same name. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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