Special Screenings

Movie of the Week: The Wizard of Oz

 

 

A family classic it may be, but there is a very good reason why this thing has a rep as the gayest movie ever made. Seriously, it makes Torch Song Trilogy look butch. It took America decades to realize what a screaming queen of a movie this is, although perhaps the film's makers were trying to tell us something with their original tagline, "Gaiety! Glory! Glamour!"? They pretty much pegged it, didn't they? And of course the film is a classic among druggies, who watch it endlessly trying to get it to synch up with Dark Side of the Moon and chuckle knowingly as Dorothy and the gang get zonked-out on poppies. The more you look at this thing, the more you wonder how it ever got a rep as a kid's picture.

Yet that's just what it is, and one of the greats at that. There are arguably more first-rate songs in this one picture than in the entire Disney oeuvre, and the cast is sheer perfection. We all grew up seeing this thing ritually presented every year on TV, but this screening offers the rare opportunity to catch it on the big screen . . . and if ever a movie was meant to be seen big, this is it. Maybe this time you'll finally be able to see if those persistent rumors about the munchkin who hung himself on the set are true. Bay Theatre, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988. Dec. 17, 3 p.m.; Dec. 18, 6 p.m.; Dec. 19, 8 p.m.; Dec. 22, 6 p.m. $6-$8.

Babes in Toyland. Laurel and Hardy star in this classic comic fantasy. The seemingly cursed shoot proved nearly fatal to almost everyone involved, with injuries and ailments ranging from torn ligaments to acute appendicitis afflicting various members of the cast and crew. In the role of Ol' King Cole, Kewpie Morgan ruptured muscles in his stomach after laughing continuously for two days. You presumably won't laugh yourself into a truss watching this film, but you'll still have a swell time. Short subjects, cartoons and other goodies are also on the bill. Long Beach School for Adults Auditorium, 3701 E. Willow St. Long Beach, (562) 997-8000, ext. 7198. Dec. 16, 7 p.m. $1 materials fee.

Jaws. Steven Spielberg's 1976 breakout picture stars a fake-looking, fiberglass shark that was nonetheless scary enough that some of us will never go swimming anywhere ever no matter what. Edwards South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (800) 326-3264. Wed., 9 p.m., $6; Edwards Rancho Santa Margarita, 30632 Santa Margarita Pkwy., Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 888-3358. Dec. 22, 9 p.m. $6.

The Manchurian Candidate. John Frankenheimer's tale of an American G.I. programmed to assassinate the president had the grave misfortune to be released shortly before JFK was shot in 1962, and the film's star, Frank Sinatra, did everything in his power to keep the film suppressed for decades. It was finally released from capitivity in the early '90s, and has been enthralling audiences ever since. Local film authority Dr. Arthur Taussig will host the screening and discussion afterwards. Orange Coast College, Fine Arts Building, Room116, 2701 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa, (714) 432-5599. Dec. 16, 6:30 p.m. $5-6.

McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Warren Beatty stars in Robert Altman's dark and amazingly atmospheric western drama about a lug who moves to the frigid Pacific Northwest intending to set up a whorehouse, but finds himself developing feelings for an enterprising madam (Julie Christie). Bay Theatre, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988. Dec. 15, 6 p.m. $6-$8.

Psycho. Anthony Perkins as hapless serial killer Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's classic shocker. Edwards Rancho Santa Margarita, 30632 Santa Margarita Pkwy., Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 888-3358. Dec. 15, 9 p.m. $6.

You Better Watch Out. When John Waters cites Lewis Jackson's 1980 shocker (a.k.a. Christmas Evil, a.k.a. Terror in Toyland) as his favorite holiday movie, it's not hard to see why. The film—concerning a boy who is traumatized by a glimpse of mommy kissing Santa Claus, grows up unhealthily obsessed with Christmas and is eventually driven to murder by the holiday hypocrisy of those around him—is like one of Waters' own films played straight. It's sort of a Christmastime Taxi Driver, as we follow this poor Santa wannabe's descent into violent madness. The film screens this week as part of the Orange County Museum of Art's John Waters' Flicks Picks series (co-sponsored by the Newport Beach Film Festival). Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 759-1122; www.ocma.net. Dec. 15, 7 p.m. Free.

Mail your press releases (and a videotape, if available) to Special Screenings, OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701-7417. Or send e-mail to gregstacy@earthlink.net. All materials must be received at least two weeks before the screening.

 
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