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Now Playing at the Packard Campus Theater (March 10-12, 2016)

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The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson, an Administrative Assistant at the Packard Campus.

March Billie Jean
The Legend of Billie Jean (Tri-Star, 1985)

Thursday, March 10 (7:30pm)
The Legend of Billie Jean (Tri-Star Pictures, 1985)
This teen flick-cum-parable is probably best remembered for spawning Pat Benatar’s hit theme song Invincible, kicking off Christian Slater’s celluloid career, and introducing the world to the voice of Lisa Simpson. However, The Legend of Billie Jean is actually an overlooked ’80s gem whose working-class, trailer-dwelling, proto-feminist protagonist is a lot more heroic than actress Helen Slater’s previous star turn in Supergirl. The best thing about this film is the sympathetic but rarely condescending eye it casts on the poor, picked-on, but proud, folks who live on the wrong side of the tracks in Corpus Christi, TX. Though unrelated, Helen Slater and Christian Slater slide with equal ease into the roles of siblings Binx and Billie Jean Davy:  he the impetuous little scrapper and she the goodhearted older sis. The supporting cast is even better, from Keith Gordon as rich proto-alternateen Lloyd to underrated comic actress Martha Gehman as Ophelia, the “Billie Jean Gang’s” no-nonsense getaway driver. The most distinctive role, however, belongs to future Simpsons performer Yeardley Smith, whose foul-mouthed adolescent character, Putter, gets the best laughs. 96 minutes.

Parents (Vestron Pictures, 1989 – R-rated *)
Set in 1958, a 10-year old boy begins to suspect that under their normal and proper veneer, his parents (Randy Quaid and Mary Beth Hurt) hold a horrible and bloody secret. Might it have something to do with the Agent Orange-like defoliants Dad creates at Toxico? Or perhaps it’s in the unusual dinners that Mom prepares. Actor Bob Balaban takes the director’s reins here to create one of the blackest horror comedies of all time. The film proceeds like a dream, or rather a suburban nightmare, from which you cannot awake. Eight year old Bryan Madorsky, in his only film role, is the one stable element in this otherwise insane world. He basically becomes a child version of characters director Balaban is often found playing:  the quiet innocent, just surviving through life. The cast also features Sandy Dennis, Deborah Rush and Graham Jarvis. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian. 81 minutes.

Friday, March 11 (7:30 p.m.)
Streets of Fire (Universal, 1984)
When rock diva Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) is abducted by Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe), the leader of The Bombers, her manager (Rick Moranis) offers her ex-boyfriend Tom Cody (Michael Pare) $10,000 to find and rescue the singer. Cody teams up with McCoy (Amy Madigan), a tough female ex-soldier, and together they attack Shaddock’s stronghold, freeing Ellen from the bikers and destroying their lair. Tom and Ellen now find themselves on the run from Shaddock and the Bombers. This stylish, futuristic fable is set to an exciting rock music beat featuring music by Ry Cooder, Jimmy Iovine, The Blasters, Jim Steinman, Stevie Nicks, and The Fixx. While Streets of Fire was not successful on its initial release, a cult has grown up around this rock and roll fable. This film plays best on the big screen and this a rare opportunity to see it as it was meant to be seen, from one of the few extant 35mm prints made during its 1984 release. 93 minutes.

The Warriors (Paramount, 1979 – R-rated *)
In The Warriors, based on Sol Yurick’s 1965 novel, a charismatic leader summons the street gangs of New York City in a bid to join forces and take over the city. When he is killed, the gang The Warriors are falsely blamed and now must fight their way home while every other gang is hunting them down. Director Walter Hill’s hip, super-stylized action film unfurls in a dystopian near-future, when various gangs control New York City. Each gang is responsible for one geographic area and sports a unique moniker (“The Warriors,” “The Baseball Furies,” “The Rogues”), with a costume underscoring its “theme.” Hill sets up the landscape as a massive, violent playground–replete with bridges, vacant subway tunnels, parks, abandoned buildings and the like, all ripe for exploration and adventure. Throughout, Hill keeps the onscreen violence absurd, exaggerated and unrealistic, downplaying death to an extreme degree. James Remar, Michael Beck and Deborah Van Valkenburgh lead the ensemble cast.  *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian. 92 minutes.

March Love Among the Ruins
Love Among the Ruins (Meyerhar Prod., 2015)

Saturday, March 12 (7:30 p.m.)
Love Among the Ruins (Meyerhar Prod., 2015)
Love Among the Ruins is a faux documentary about the miraculous discovery and restoration of a long-lost Italian silent film. More than a parody, the film celebrates the joy of discovering lost art, a rich tradition of filmmaking in Italy, and how a young filmmaker can recreate the artistry of silent film. Michel Hazanavicius, director of the Academy Award Winning film The Artist wrote: “I think it’s a wonderfully crafted movie, funny and very sweet at the same time.” Producers Richard Meyer and Susan Harmon will introduce the film and stay for a Q&A after the screening. 68 min.

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