Programmer's Picks: October in NYC - Rooftop Cinema Club

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Programmer’s Picks: October in NYC

Howdy, Big Apple! Billy Ray here, the programmer for Rooftop Cinema Club, and the gent who chose all those delightful films you’ll be visiting our rooftop to see very soon. New York is such a cinematic city and I’ve tried, with my October schedule, to capture some of the magic of that city in unexpected ways. I’m playing to your city pride and your nostalgia here and hoping that each and every one of you finds a new and old film to love. These are what I am calling PROGRAMMER’S PICKS, and you can take them or leave them. Just know a lot of love and energy went into choosing these films, and it’s my hope that there’s something for everyone on our schedule. Maybe one of THESE five films is YOUR favorite!

Punch-Drunk Love (2003)

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, and Philip Seymour Hoffman

I don’t know that a film has ever grown on me more than PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE. I remember seeing it back in 2003 and not being that impressed. I saw it again a few years later and thought to myself – “Hm. That’s not bad.” I saw it again a few years after that and I started recommending it to everyone I knew. Now, it’s one of my favorite romantic comedies ever made, and possibly my favorite Paul Thomas Anderson picture. It’s a sweet and quirky and intense little movie about very particular people finding their place in a world that can be unforgiving and cold. It’s a film about finding what you love and never letting it go. It’s a story about one man’s obsession with pudding and the lengths he’ll go to put a foul-mouthed salesman in his place. Adam Sandler has never been better – seriously – EVER. And Philip Seymour Hoffman is having more fun than should be allowed by law. It’s the odd man out in Paul Thomas Anderson’s oeuvre, but a film well worth discovering…and loving.

Favorite Quote: Oh…I’m sorry…was that like a secret pudding?” – Lena 

Catch Punch Drunk Love on October 2nd!

Waiting for Guffman (1996)

Director: Christopher Guest

Cast: Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, and Parker Posey

Calling all theatre nerds! If you’ve ever had a song to sing, or a monologue to recite, or a burning desire to tell a story – WAITING FOR GUFFMAN is the film for you. It’s about a group of underdogs who come together to create art, despite their shortcomings and (sometimes) lack of talent. Christopher Guest directs and stars as Corky St. Clair, the flamboyant theatre man brought to Blaine, Missouri, to produce a production for their upcoming sesquicentennial celebration. Sure – “Red, White, and Blaine!” might not be Andrew Lloyd Webber, but its cast and crew are just as committed, and their excitement is sent into overdrive when they realize an acclaimed New York theatre critic is going to be in attendance. This flawless mockumentary takes the humor and heartbreak of small town folks with big city dreams and packages it for a mainstream audience. It’s uproariously funny, impossibly endearing, and a film that generations of theatre and movie fans will have a blast discovering.

Favorite Quote: Here’s the Remains of the Day lunchbox. Kids don’t like eating at school, but if they have a Remains of the Day lunchbox, they’re a lot happier.” – Corky St. Clair

Catch Waiting for Guffman on October 4th!

The Karate Kid (1984)

Director: John G. Avildsen

Cast: Ralph Macchio, Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, Elisabeth Shue, and Martin Kove

I don’t know if THE KARATE KID needs any extra love, but it has a soft spot in my heart. I’ve probably seen this film more than any other – couldn’t count the number of times if I tried. It’s that perfect nostalgic marriage of time and place, and music and fashion. It’s of its time, yet entirely timeless – a film about doing the right thing, finding one’s place in the world, and never judging a book by its cover. You can probably name at least one scene you love from this film, and maybe even recite a few lines. But, if you haven’t seen THE KARATE KID in a while, you might be surprised to discover how well it holds up. It’s good, y’all. Hasn’t lost a step. And I’m not just saying that because I once dressed as a shower curtain for Halloween (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen this film, or if you join us on the rooftop for it). Find someone you know who hasn’t seen it, surprise them, and them sit back and relax as you introduce someone to one of the greatest inspirational stories the screen has ever captured.

Favorite Quote: “Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything.” – Mr. Miyagi

Catch The Karate Kid on October 10th!

Days of Thunder (1990)

Director: Tony Scott

Cast: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Randy Quaid, Michael Rooker, and Robert Duvall

Who are we kidding – this is TOP GUN but with race cars. Same director. Same lead actor. Same basic premise. And you know what else? WHO CARES?! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and DAYS OF THUNDER is just as entertaining and just as memorable as its predecessor, possibly better when you consider the introduction of a strong, confident female character played by Nicole Kidman and the scene-stealing Robert Duvall. The film is shot with a slickness and a polish that would become a calling card for director Tony Scott, and DAYS OF THUNDER was really the first film of his to employ it with such abandon. This is the kind of film that once dominated the summer box office, relying on movie stars and flash to sell a film rather than properties and sequels. I’d be curious to know who can watch this film and TOP GUN and not end up thinking DAYS OF THUNDER is the superior film. Don’t get me wrong – we love TOP GUN here – but there’s also room for some healthy competition.

Favorite Quote: “Claire – I’m more afraid of being nothing than I am of being hurt.” – Cole Trickle

Catch Days of Thunder on October 13th!

A League of Their Own (1992)

Director: Penny Marshall

Cast: Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, and Tom Hanks

Favorite. Baseball. Movie. Ever? There is certainly an argument to be made. Penny Marshall’s hilarious and heartwarming ode to feminism, baseball, and Tom Hanks’ five o’clock shadow, A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN is as close to a perfect film as you get. Filled with memorable performances, crisp and clear writing, and a story that isn’t nearly as known as it should be – this is the film that deserves a new round of attention from audiences and critics alike. You get Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell as the Laurel and Hardy of the baseball diamond; you get Geena Davis and Lori Petty in full-blown sibling rivalry mode, and you get Tom Hanks screaming that classic line that simply goes without saying. It’s hard to believe a film this powerful can also be so damned entertaining, but A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN proves you don’t have to be vapid to be fun. After seeing this film – whether you’re a man or woman, old or young, a sports fan or not – Who doesn’t wanna be a Rockford Peach?

Favorite Quote: “There’s no crying in BASEBALL!” – Jimmy Dugan

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