So, I’m in this theater company, and after rehearsals someone inevitably asks: “What movie are we going to watch?” This question becomes a taxing debate and leads to an interminable weighing of options. Seriously, we once spent 15 minutes deciding whether to watch House of Wax (with the Hottie) or Gregg Araki’s Smiley Face (most of the group had already seen this). Some sort of improvised democratic process went into play, and, unfortunately for cinema, we went with the former.
And in these conversations, interjections of “You haven’t seen this or that?!” come into play so frequently that an idea was spawned: get together, sit down, and let me show you this goddamned movie already. Each person would have the chance to show two films they personally felt were important and absolutely had to be seen. We all have our own personal list of greats and classics we haven’t seen, a list we would surely trade for that ever-growing list of films we had the misfortune of seeing.
This new programming format comes with responsibility. Do you show that classic film that’s important to filmdom, or the film that made you step back and reevaluate everything? Seven Samurai or The Idiots? Which is which, really? I have been treated to a handful of films so far, including Showgirls and The American Astronaut. Seeings Showgirls without the static blur of free cable transmissions was its own reward. And the mania and love behind The American Astronaut connected me with that film in a very primitive way.
I plan on screening two documentaries, Hoop Dreams and King of Kong, two films about chasing dreams that really impacted me. We only have a four-hour window to show whatever we want, but I think I can be forgiven. But, can we be forgiven for having watched House of Wax over Smiley Face? Are we doing all of this to atone for that mistake?
No, I mean for fuck’s sake we watched Showgirls.