The Deer Hunter
You come out of Michael Cimino's classic 1978 war drama with a heavy heart, both because of the film's tragic story and because almost everybody connected to this bleak masterpiece has gone on to such dispiriting mediocrity. At this point, one has gotten so accustomed to seeing the pop-eyed intensity of Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken played for easy laughs that seeing them here, in their youthful primes, can come as a revelation. There they are, looking like their own grandsons—you could bounce a quarter off Walken's cheekbones—and there's absolutely nothing funny about them. The set was rife with a kind of method mania, as the stars struggled to outdo one another in grimly masochistic displays of thespian dedication: Walken augmented his naturally vampiric qualities by eating nothing but rice and bananas for a week before he shot his final scene, while De Niro and John Savage did a 30-foot fall 15 times as part of a stunt (Savage eventually broke both legs, and those are his actual, messed-up limbs we see in the film). Perhaps most chillingly, at DeNiro's suggestion, there was reportedly a live round in play during the famous Russian roulette scenes. All that crazy dedication paid off: going on 30 years later, you still spend the film on the edge of your seat, dreading that last bang. Bay Theatre, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988. Sun., 5 p.m.; Mon., 7 p.m.; Wed., 7 p.m. $5-$8.
* * *
Blue Crush. Wow, now girls can star in lame surf movies, too! You've come a long way, baby. This being September, here's hoping I have just blurbed my last surf movie for 2006. (Somehow, I doubt it.) Pierside Surfcity, 300 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, (714) 969-3151. Wed., 7 p.m. $5.
Cheaper by the Dozen 2. Steve Martin returns in this sequel to the hit family comedy . . . because the first Cheaper by the Dozenleft so many unanswered questions. This is an outdoor, evening screening, so be sure to dress warm and bring some chairs. Newport Dunes Resort, 1131 Back Bay Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 729-DUNE. Fri., dusk. Free; parking, $10.
The Killers.Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner star in Robert Siodmak's classic, 1946 film version of the Ernest Hemingwaystory. The film expands on the story quite a bit; the story followed two hoods who venture into a diner in order to find the man they've been hired to kill, and the film uses this as a framing device for a lengthy flashback story. Lancaster, then an unknown, was the studio's third choice for the film, but this role helped turn him into a star. A snippet of the film's score was used as theme song for Dragnet. Orange Coast College, Fine Arts Building, Room 119, 2701 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa, (714) 432-5599. Fri., 6:30 p.m. $5-$6.
9/11 Revisited: Keeping Up With Jones. See "9/11 at 5." The Newland Barn, 19820 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 553-1030; hb911truth.blogspot.com. Mon., 8 p.m. Free.Pinoy Visions on Demand. This weekend, a video kiosk at the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture in San Pedro will showcase the work of up-and-coming Filipino American filmmakers, including John Torres' Tawid/Gutom and Glenn Cruz's To Be Untouchable. Parental guidance is suggested. PAN Pavilion, Point Fermin Park, 807 W. Paseo del Mar, San Pedro, (213) 680-4462, ext. 25; www.vcoline.org.Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. $3.Reflections and Lessons from the South Central Farm. Two shorts screen at the Centro Cultural de Mexico regarding the decade-long struggle between farmers and city officials over a South-Central Los Angeles plot that ended with Mexicans (and Darryl Hannah!) being dragged out by police. Meet key activists behind the events. Centro Cultural de Mxico, 310 W. Fifth St., Santa Ana, (714) 953-9305.SoCal Independent Film Festival. Still in its infancy, this presentation of a mixed-lot of features, shorts and documentaries—generally good if rarely inspired—continues. Huntington Beach Library Theater, 7111 Talbert Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 329-8268; www.socalfilmfest.com. Thurs.-Sun., Sept. 7-10. Call or visit website for titles, times and prices.
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. There are some joyless people who insist SpongeBob is irritating and unfunny, appropriate only for toddlers and drug-addled college kids. Well, if you don't think SpongeBob is freakin' hilarious, if the musical question "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?" doesn't thrill you to the very marrow, then there's something deeply wrong with you. Besides, conservative dumbasses have repeatedly tried to suggest the show contains subversive gay propaganda, and anything that makes the (so-called) moral (so-called) majority get pissed-off is almost always reason for celebration. Newport Dunes Resort, 1131 Back Bay Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 729-DUNE. Fri., dusk. Free; parking, $10.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. All materials must be received at least two weeks before the screening.
Get the Film & TV Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.