The recent art-house hit Capote has brought new interest to Harper Lee, the enigmatic supporting player in Truman Capote's life. Lee is one of the strangest cases in American literature—a one-hit wonder who didn't fail to recapture the blockbuster success of her debut novel because she never even tried. After Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, she spent a few years working on a second book but ultimately shelved it. She's given very few interviews and has apparently enjoyed decades of retirement living with her older sister in Monroeville, Alabama.
It's possible that, despite its greatness, Lee's tale of tensions racial and otherwise in the deep South would have been mostly forgotten by now if not for the Oscar-winning, 1962 film version. Lee herself agreed that screenwriter Horton Foote superbly translated her source material, writing, "If the integrity of a film adaptation can be measured by the degree to which the novelist's intent is preserved, Mr. Foote's screenplay should be studied as a classic." Reading the book now, you can only imagine Gregory Peck as the wise Atticus Finch and Robert Duvall as the reclusive Boo Radley. Life Lee, Mary Badham, who brought the book's young protaganist Scout to such memorable life in the film, pretty much retired after this, her one big hit. This is a fairly rare chance to catch this true classic on the big screen. Bay Theatre, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988. Sun., 6 p.m.; Mon., 8 p.m. $6-$8.
9/11 Summer Nights. An evening of 9/11 films and discussion examining the many peculiarities surrounding the tragedy. Courtyard of private residence, 1208 Huntington St., Huntington Beach, (714) 553-1030; firstname.lastname@example.org. Fri., 8 p.m. Free.
American Blend. Varun Khanna's 2005 drama concerns an Indian cook and American dancer whose happy family is turned upside-down by a dark secret. Anupam Kher and Dee Wallace Stone star. It's the latest film in the Orange County Museum of Art's Cinema Orange series. Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 759-1122. Thurs., June 22, 8:30 p.m. Free.
The Big Buy: Tom DeLay's Stolen Congress. If you still somehow haven't grasped that Tom DeLay is a sphincter that walks like a man, this movie ought to make it abundantly clear. RSVP requested. Monarch Hills HOA Clubhouse, 58 Corniche Dr., Monarch Beach; bravenewtheaters.com/screenings. Tues., 6:30 p.m. Home Top of Termino, 3955 E. Third St., Long Beach; bravenewtheaters.com/screenings. Tues., 7:30 p.m.
Dogtown and Z-Boys. Stacy Peralta directs this documentary look at the early, scruffy days of skateboarding, when shirtless, stringy-haired wastrels on wheels first annoyed pedestrians and shopkeepers on the streets of Venice. Narrated by . . . Sean Penn?! Pierside Surf City 6, 300 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, (714) 969-3151. Wed., 7 p.m. $5.
Elf. Will Ferrell stars in Jon Favreau's 2003 Christmas comedy about a human raised by one of Santa's elves who ventures to New York and tries to spread a little holiday cheer. (That's Favreau as the doctor who performs a blood test on Ferrell, and he's also the voice of the narwal.) Sure, it's kinda weird to be screening this movie now (it doesn't even have the whole "Christmas in July" thing going for it yet), but your kids will probably still get a kick out of it. This is an outdoor, beachside screening, so dress warm and bring chairs. Newport Dunes Resort, 1131 Back Bay Dr., Newport Dunes, (949) 729-DUNE. Sat., dusk. Free; parking, $10.
It Happened One Night. Claudette Colbert is a madcap runaway heiress, and Clark Gable is the jug-eared reporter hot on her trail in this peppy romantic comedy. "A laughing hit that will mean important coin" was Variety's eccentrically phrased prediction (this was back in the days of such headlines as, "Hicks Nix Sticks Pics," let us remember), and the film was indeed wildly successful in its day, spawning a host of imitators. 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. Fri., 7 p.m. $1 materials fee.
Lethal Weapon. Mel Gibson, back when he was sporting an impressive mullet and was just acting crazy, co-stars with Danny Glover in Richard Donner's 1987 cop picture, a somewhat more dramatic effort than the more comedic and action-oriented sequels. Edwards Rancho Santa Margarita, 30632 Santa Margarita Pkwy., Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 888-3340. Tues., 9 p.m. $6; Edwards South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 540-1970. Wed., 9 p.m. $6.
Letting Go. The Balboa Performing Arts Theater launches its free Family Movie Nite series with this documentary look at world surfing champion Kelly Slater, shown on a large screen to be set up at one end of Peninsula Park. The event also features food booths, signings by Quiksilver athletes, and a drawing for two trips to Hawaii and other prizes. BYO chairs. Peninsula Park, next to Balboa Pier, east end of Balboa Beach, near B Street, Newport Beach, (949) 673-0895. Thurs., June 29, 6:30 p.m. Free.
The Sword in the Stone.The Disney studio makes hash of T.H. White's The Once and Future King, which itself made hash of the King Arthur legend. At least this cartoon is some pretty tasty hash, with none of White's pesky pro-feudalism rantings or that bizarre adventure inthe castle made of butter. Seriously, what thehell, T.H.? This is an outdoor, beachside screening, so do be sure to dress warm and bring some comfortable chairs. You know how we worry. Newport Dunes Resort, 1131 Back Bay Dr., Newport Dunes, (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 email@example.com. 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.