October 20, 2009

Don't Miss "Minnesota In & On Film": A Simple Plan, 10/22/09

You won't find it in any theater listing or community event calendar, but continuing this Thursday at Macalester College is an outstanding biweekly film series, "Minnesota In & On Film". Among the many notable Macalester alumni is Colin Covert '74, film critic for the Star Tribune and a great all-around guy. Colin is introducing each of the films and leading post-screening discussions with special guests and Macalester faculty.

The series is sponsored by the Alumni Office and is meant for "alumni, staff, faculty and parents", but since I fit none of those descriptions and I've still rolled up at two of the three films, I think we can assume the public are also welcome. So far I've enjoyed The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (starring Robert Duvall as Jesse James) and the Oscar-winning documentary American Dream, both of which I was seeing for the first time and both of which have helped in some way inform my understanding of this quirky state.

But since I first saw the series schedule I've had Thursday, 10/22, circled in red ink for Sam Raimi's A Simple Plan, one of my all-time favorite movies and, according to Colin, the "greatest movie ever filmed in Minnesota". Nearly two years ago I highlighted A Simple Plan as an Underrated Movie of the Month, and now, a decade after its release, I can see it again on the big screen.

I cannot recommend this movie highly enough. It's in every good way a Coen brothers movie, though technically it was adapted from the novel and directed by their pal Sam Raimi (the trio co-wrote The Hudsucker Proxy). I had fun at Drag Me to Hell earlier this year, but for my money Raimi is wasting his time with the Spider-Man franchise and not seeking enough opportunities for thrillers like A Simple Plan. I guess you can decide for yourself on Thursday.

Screenings for the series take place at 7:00 PM in the John B. Davis Lecture Hall inside the Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center, but if you're like me you'll get confused by all of those names and end up in the middle of campus asking some disaffected student for directions. Just head to the big building near the corner of Snelling and Grand; the lecture hall/theater is downstairs to the right. Admission for the whole series was $25, but you can also do as I've done (I think) and pay $5 at the door for each screening.

And if you for whatever reason can't make it this Thursday (a family emergency being your only legitimate excuse), you can mark your calendar for the last film in the series on Nov. 12 - none other than Purple Rain.
(watch in High Quality)


  1. "A Simple Plan" is one of my favorite thrillers -- and criminally underrated, in my mind.

    Speaking of Minnesota movies, have you seen the Coen brothers' "A Serious Man"?

    It's a fascinating portrait of Midwestern suburban life, but painful to watch.

    Here's my review: http://sloblogs.thetribunenews.com/shelikestowatch/2009/11/05/catastrophe-strikes-in-a-serious-man/

  2. Yes, Sarah, those who haven't seen A Simple Plan are missing one of the best movies of the decade, and maybe one of the best of the last quarter century, if I may be so bold.

    And yes, I have seen A Serious Man, which is ironic to mention here because A Simple Plan is so Coen-esque.

    Anyway, I'll check out your review - thanks!


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