The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson, an Administrative Assistant at the Packard Campus.
More National Film Registry treats this week.
Thursday, February 19 (7:30 p.m.)
The Big Lebowski (Gramercy, 1998, R-rated *)
From the unconventional visionaries Joel and Ethan Coen came this 1998 tale of kidnapping, mistaken identity and bowling. The Coens explore themes of alienation, inequality and class structure via a group of hard-luck, off-beat characters suddenly drawn into each other’s orbits. Jeff Bridges, in a career-defining role, stars as “The Dude,” an LA-based slacker who shares a last name with a rich man whose arm-candy wife is indebted to shady figures. Joining Bridges are John Goodman, Tara Reid, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Steve Buscemi and, in a now-legendary cameo, John Turturro. Lebowski is stuffed with vignettes–each staged through the Coens’ trademark absurdist, innovative visual style–that are alternately funny and disturbing.
* No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Friday, February 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Rio Bravo (Warner Bros., 1959)
As legend goes, this Western, directed by Howard Hawks, was produced in part as a response to Fred Zinnemann’s High Noon. The film trades in the wide-open spaces of High Noon for the confines of a small jail where a sheriff and his deputies are waiting for the transfer of a prisoner and the anticipated attempt by his equally unlawful brother to help the prisoner escape. John Wayne stars as Sheriff John T. Chance and is aided in his efforts to keep the law by Walter Brennan, Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson. Angie Dickinson is the love interest and Western regulars Claude Akins, Ward Bond and Pedro Gonzalez are also featured. A smart Western where gunplay is matched by wordplay, Rio Bravo is a terrific ensemble piece and director Hawks’ last great film. It was named to the Registry in 2014.
Saturday, February 21 (2 p.m.)
Back to the Future (Universal, 1985)
Writer/director Robert Zemeckis explored the possibilities of special effects in the 1985 box-office smash Back to the Future. With his writing partner Bob Gale, Zemeckis tells the tale of accidental time-traveler Marty McFly. Stranded in the year 1955, Marty (Michael J. Fox)–with the help of Dr. Emmett Brown (played masterfully over-the-top by Christopher Lloyd)–must not only find a way home, but also teach his father how to become a man, repair the space/time continuum and save his family from being erased from existence. In addition to all of this, he must fight off the advances of his then-teenage mother. This sci-fi comedy adventure was selected for preservation in the 2007 Registry. Luxo Jr. and Tin Toy, two animated shorts from Pixar that are also on the Registry, will be shown before the feature.
Saturday, February 21 (7:30 p.m.)
The Dragon Painter (Robertson-Cole Distributing, 1919)
In The Dragon Painter, Hollywood’s first Asian star, Japanese-born Sessue Hayakawa, is teamed with his wife Tsuru Aoki in the story of an obsessed, untutored painter who loses his artistic powers after he finds and marries the supposed “dragon princess.” His passion and earlier pursuit of her had consumed him with the urge to create. This lyrical drama was added to the National Film Registry in December 2014. Andrew Simpson will provide live musical accompaniment for the program, which will also include the Registry comedy short One Week, starring Buster Keaton.
For more information on our programs, please visit the web site at www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.