December 15, 2008

Listen Up: Here Come the Talkies

First up, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, February 5, 2009

Anyone who knows me, or who's read this blog with any regularity, is aware of my uncontrollably violent urges to strike down anyone who utters a word during a movie in the theater. Talking should be an offense punishable by at least one year ban from the theater, if not something much, much worse.

But what if the person talking is the film's director?

We'll have our chance to find out on February 5, 2009, when The Talkies debuts in the Twin Cities with a screening of Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Heights Theater, where director John Cameron Mitchell will provide a commentary track that you literally will not (and cannot) hear anywhere else. Here's how it works:

At 7:00 PM, a 35 MM print of Hedwig and the Angry Inch will be shown.

At 9:00 PM, a 35 MM print of Hedwig and the Angry Inch will be shown while John Cameron Mitchell, live in the theater, provides a running commentary.

Who came up with this brilliant idea? Tim Massett, a newcomer to Minnesota who is today no doubt regretting his decision to come here (the high temperature today is 6 degrees below zero) from Jacksonville, FL, where he successfully launched The Talkies with appearances by Herschell Gordon Lewis, John Waters, and George Romero. It's "cinema shouting back". It's film shown in the theater, where it's meant to be seen. It's terrific.

And it's the only time I would ever tolerate talking during a movie.

Tragically, I already know that I have a prior engagement that night, which means that YOU (if you're in Minnesota or anywhere near it) have to go and report back here.

Tickets are on sale now at You can buy a ticket for the first show only or the second show only, but if you have any sense at all you'll go for the "Communist Special": the whole evening for only $25. Definitely worth the price for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and to make the deal even more sweet, it's at the beautiful Heights Theater. Tim even tells me that every effort is going to be made to dust off the legendary Wurlitzer organ and play the soundtrack to the film as folks find their seats!

How could you pass this up?


In the spirit of promoting local cinematic events, I would be remiss to also not mention Barry Kryshka's currently running series at the Parkway Theater. In fact I should have done so last week - sorry, Barry! Ready for Our Close-Up: 50 Years of L.A. Noir is a great collection of five films showcasing the dark underbelly of the City of Angels: Sunset Boulevard, Mildred Pierce, Chinatown, L.A. Confidential, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

I was at the well-attended screening of Sunset Boulevard last week (in the middle of a blizzard, no less) and I have to say, seeing these old classics on the big screen is absolutely exhilarating. Barry screened some screwball comedies last April and it was an unforgettable experience to watch His Girl Friday in a theater full of laughing movie-lovers.

As always, tickets are only $5 - and you can even bring in your food and drinks from Pepito's. Don't miss this chance to see these classics in the theater!


  1. Ha, fascinating! Any time someone brings up the subject of people talking in a movie theater my mind flashes to the occurrence of two guys sitting next to me in the packed theater during The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers's opening weekend. I made it about an hour in, suffering through the incessant one-way talk of one telling the other what the first film had in it, until I finally exploded and told them to "Go watch the first [Illinois Governor Expletive Deleted]-ing film!!!".

    This sounds great, though, Daniel, thanks for sharing!

  2. I missed a big noir mashup last summer at the tiny government supported theatre where they have those sorts of retrospectives.

    Let's just say I had more important things to do...

    I have seen LA CONFIDENTIAL five times in the cinema. But it would be amazing to revisit it again theatrically.

    I also have a fondness for CHINATOWN (FAYE!!!!) and MILDRED PIERCE (although Crawford was a piece of work - good looking woman with a certain amount of talent - thoroughly loathsome human being).

    I've never seen KISS KISS BANG BANG, though.

    I adore noir. I'd like to see more of it (besides the stuff I've experienced and own) and immerse myself in it entirely. Kind of roll around in it and savour it.

    So to speak....

    You're lucky, Danny. Sounds like the Twin Cities is overflowing with these kinds of events.

    We don't get them much up here. AT ALL.

  3. I hope people show up for the debut of this program. Tim has dangled some other carrots like Wes Anderson and Tarantino, so it will be important for this first one to be a success.

    Alexander, you deserve a Medal of Honor for your work in rooting out the evil voices of the theater.

    Wow, Miranda, LA Confidential five times in the theater?! That beats me - with any movie. I think, at least not counting retrospectives like this.

    I've actually never seen Kiss Bang, either, but I've heard people rave about it. And Chinatown would be great to see in the theater.

  4. Sounds like a great opportunity. I love John Cameron Mitchell, and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" is one of my favorites!

  5. I love Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It is smarmy and smart-ass and funny all at the same time.

  6. Isn't "smarmy" just a great word to describe so many things? I don't use it nearly enough.

    Matthew I had to embarrassingly admit to Tim that I would be missing my first ever viewing of Hedwig. It's too bad I'll miss seeing it with Mitchell's insights/explanations as well.


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