Unfortunately, they couldn’t snag Quvenzhane for a Q&A after the film.
It’s halfway through the semester, and you know what that means: your shared Wesbox contains another meticulously folded black-and-white calendar containing terse blurbs for approximately 19 critically acclaimed films that you haven’t seen and maybe five that you have. As usual, the lineup was cruelly crafted behind closed doors by an evil-minded, thin-lipped committee of cackling—wait, no, that’s Spring Fling. (Kidding, Will.) If you’re too lazy to trek to Usdan in the rain, here’s a preview.
The no-brainer sell-out feature this time around is Beasts of the Southern Wild, the massively acclaimed semi-apocalyptic New Orleans fantasy by Wesleyan alum Benh Zeitlin ’04 that’s captured the imagination of everyone from Roger Ebert to Barack Obama. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and played at the Goldsmith over Reunion & Commencement, but that was before the hype really hit overdrive. With serious Oscar buzz mounting, you’ll want to get to the Goldsmith early on Friday, November 19. (Wes hasn’t managed to get Zeitlin back to Middletown yet, but you can read a recent Argus interview with the homegrown director here.)
As for other highlights, I am giddily psyched to see a ginormous Stay Puft marshmallow man hobble across the Goldsmith screen on December 5, when the Film Series presents Ghostbusters. That may be even more fun on the big screen than Jurassic Park, though I doubt it’ll inspire any costumes as sweet as this. In other Bill Murray Appreciation News, Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson’s latest impossibly quirky charmer, is set for this Wednesday. When are you guys going to get your shit together and choose What About Bob?
The calendar’s other popular crowd-pleasers include summer blockbuster The Dark Knight Returns, Hunter S. Thompson adaptation Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (bow to Flea’s acting career!), ACB request Magic Mike, and—just in time to add some cheer to Finals Week—Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life. On the musical tip, November 16 offers LCD Soundsystem farewell document Shut Up and Play the Hits, which I really hope spurs as much funkified dancing in the Goldsmith as Stop Making Sense did last September. Then there’s next week’s Halloween week triple feature, which includes Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead, The Invisible Man (the awesome vintage effects-filled 1933 original), and Carpenter’s The Thing, which I’m pumped to finally catch for the first time. Good going, team Film Board.
The biggest surprise on the calendar is The Matrix, set for December 1. Typically the Film Series operates on a strict four-year cycle—if you’re on campus for four years, you’ll never see the same movie twice. I thought I was crazy to remember seeing The Matrix on a Saturday night freshman year and sticking around for a discussion with Religion professor Jeremy Zwelling, whose remarks were super insightful but a bit too sobering for all the people pregaming in the audience. To my knowledge, the four-year rule is still in place. So why the exception this time?
And if the exception has anything to do with Keanu Reeves, I hope it applies to other Keanu Reeves films. Because probably nothing short of a grandparent’s funeral could have made me miss Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in 2010. (Disclosure: a grandparent’s funeral made me miss Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in 2010.)
Here’s the full calendar. As always, Wednesdays and Fridays cost $5; Thursdays and Fridays are free.
Wednesday, October 24: Moonrise Kingdom
October 25: Possession
October 26: The Evil Dead
October 27: The Invisible Man
Wednesday, October 31: The Thing
November 1: Contagion
November 2: Magic Mike
November 3: Woman in the Dunes
Wednesday, November 7: Operation Condor
November 8: The Dust Bowl
November 9: Beasts of the Southern Wild
November 10: Diary of a Country Priest
Wednesday, November 14: The Iron Giant
November 15: Female Trouble
November 16: Shut Up and Play The Hits
November 17: A Day at the Races
Wednesday, November 28: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
November 29: The Mirror
November 30: American Psycho
December 1: The Matrix
Wednesday, December 5: Ghostbusters
December 6: Alice
December 7: The Dark Knight Rises
December 8: It’s A Wonderful Life
Edit: A member of the Film Board offers this explanation for the Matrix/four-year exception:
Professor Scott Higgins is receiving a print of the film from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to screen in his course The Language of Hollywood (FILM 307) during the unit on modern visual effects. However, in order to get this special deal, he is required to screen the film for the larger Wesleyan public as well. So we were forced to break our 4-year rule because this technicality and are showing the Matrix again. God help us all.