I envy people who've never seen MODERN TIMES, TO BE OR NOT TO BE ('42) and THE BAD NEWS BEARS. Why? Because one day, they'll get to see these classics for the first time.
This is the basic idea behind Edgar Wright's screening series THE WRIGHT STUFF III, which begins on December 9th at The New Beverly. Whereas Wright's last two mini-fests have celebrated films he loves, this time he'll be kicking back and watching eighteen wonderful movies he's never seen. And as with the last two series, he'll have a bunch of special guests on hand to help him introduce these films.
Tickets are on sale now at the New Beverly's website, and every night is a must. It'll all get off to a rousing start on Friday the 9th with the rock-and-roll pairing of Frank Tashlin's THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT and Allan Arkush's rarely screened (and unavailable on DVD/Blu) GET CRAZY (capped off by the monthly midnight of Wright's sensational SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD). And it'll draw to a dour close with the noir-ish double of Robert Culp's HICKEY & BOGGS and Ivan Passer's amazing CUTTER'S WAY (which, like Wright, I read about in the second volume of Danny Peary's essential CULT MOVIES). And then Wright will screen W.D. Richter's THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE 8TH DIMENSION at midnight, so you won't go home all depressed.
In between, it'll be an eclectic mix of classic clowns, elegiac/revisionist westerns, Dr. Seuss, Kurosawa, Cagney and other unseen-by-Wright delights. I'm especially thrilled he's paired Lubitsch's TO BE OR NOT TO BE with Michael Ritchie's masterpiece THE BAD NEWS BEARS - if only because they're both top ten comedies for me. And you will absolutely want to be at the Bev on Wednesday, December 14th when the great Peter Bogdanovich joins Wright to discuss John Ford's THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (which will be followed by Sam Peckinpah's RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY).
For the whole lineup, head over to Wright's website (where he'll also post updates on which guests will be dropping by). And since we are all incredibly fortunate to get to see these movies via beautiful film prints, I implore you to sign Julia Marchese's petition to save 35mm exhibition. If the studios have their way, repertory houses will be stuck screening crappy digital transfers in lieu of prints. I wrote about this last week, and the estimable Lars Nilsen has also chimed in. I'm not sure we can change the studios' minds, but at least we can make our voices heard.