The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Thursday, February 21 (7:30 p.m.)
Music and Lyrics (Warner Bros., 2007)
Hugh Grant stars in this romantic comedy as Alex Fletcher, a washed-up eighties pop star who was part of the fictional band PoP! (inspired by Wham! and Duran Duran). He gets a chance to make a comeback when a reigning pop diva (Haley Bennett) asks him to write a song for her. Stuck on the song’s lyrics, he finds assistance from Sophie (Drew Barrymore), a house plant technician he has just met, and the two find they are in sync in more ways than just music. The film features Grant performing “PoP! Goes My Heart” in a hilarious parody of 1980s-MTV style videos. Film critics remarked on the “surprisingly easy chemistry between Grant and Barrymore” (Jack Matthews, New York Daily News) and “undeniable adorability factor of each of the performers” (Stephen Hunter, Washington Post). More recently, Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday called Music and Lyrics a “scandalously overlooked rom-com” in her write-up for the year 2007 in the Post’s article “The best year in movie history was” (Dec. 30, 2018). Rated PG-13. 35mm archival film print, 96 min.
Friday, February 22 (7:30 p.m.)
Love Me Tonight (Paramount, 1932)
According to director Rouben Mamoulian, Paramount executive Adolph Zukor hurried Love Me Tonight into production to keep two of his more expensive contract players, Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, from sitting idle. If Mamoulian rushed, it doesn’t show in what many film historians consider one of the best and most original of 1930s musicals. By pre-recording the entire score, Mamoulian, who was influenced by the work of Ernst Lubitsch and Rene Clair, combined sound and image with more fluidity than most early musicals achieved. Songs by Rodgers and Hart– including Isn’t It Romantic and Mimi–and an effervescent script filled with risqué innuendo are brought to life by Chevalier’s saucy charm and MacDonald’s angelic voice and beauty. Added to the National Film Registry in 1990, the film features an outstanding supporting cast including Myrna Loy, Charles Ruggles, Charles Butterworth and C. Aubrey Smith. 35mm archival film print. 95 min.
Saturday, February 23 (2 p.m.)
Akeelah and the Bee (Lionsgate, 2006)
In this family-friendly inspirational underdog story, eleven-year-old Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer) is determined to spell her way out of South Los Angeles and make it to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. With a supportive tutor coaching her, Akeelah may even show her pessimistic mother (Angela Bassett) she has what it takes to win. Written and directed by Doug Atchison the cast also features Laurence Fishburne and Curtis Armstrong. The National Board of Review elected Akeelah and the Bee one of the top ten independent films produced in 2006. Among the many awards and nominations the film received were five NAACP Image Awards nominations, winning Outstanding Writing for a Feature Film and Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for Keke Palmer. Rated PG. 35mm archival film print, 112 min.
Saturday, February 23 (7:30 p.m.)
Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. (Miramax, 1992 – rated R*)
Chantel (Ariyan Johnson) is an outspoken high school student who wants to get out of Brooklyn and into medical school; she is determined to be seen as more than just another girl on the train that takes her to Manhattan. Writer, director, and producer Leslie Harris shot her debut film on 16mm film in 17 days with a shoestring budget of $130,000. The film was made with grants from the American Film Institute, National Endowment for the Arts, the Brooklyn Arts Council, and the Jerome Foundation, and went on to win the Special Jury Prize at Sundance. Harris described her independent feature as “a film Hollywood dared not to do” and as a coming-of-age film from a young black woman’s point of view. The film also stars Kevin Thigpen and Ebony Jerido. * No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian. 35mm archival film print. 92 min.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.