At The Aero
There is nothing quite like seeing a film at a movie theater. It doesn’t matter how far home entertainment has come or how far it will go. There never has been, nor will there ever be a presentational format for film that will rival the experience of going to a theater and watching a film with a bunch of strangers. That’s why it kind of sucks that the theatrical period of a film’s life is microcosmically short. Don’t get me wrong; it doesn’t suck for all films. There are tons of movies out there that aren’t worth their weight in canine feces and shouldn’t even be shown on an iPod. But depending on when you were born, you probably didn’t get the opportunity to see some classic films in theaters. Which is why it’s awesome when someone gets a print of a great movie and shows it in an actual theater. It allows us to get back the experience that Father Time cheated us out of. Los Angeles-based American Cinematheque regularly shows 35mm film prints at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, and as it just so happens the Aero will be showing a few of my favorite films from two of my favorite filmmakers.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Feb. 20): My favorite western of all time from the legendary Sergio Leone. I would definitely go a step further and say that this film is one of the greatest and most iconic films of all time. Anyone who argues against the sheer 100 percent perfection of this great masterwork is really only making a case for how big of a pile of human garbage they are. Everyone working in the film business today, whether they know it or not, has been influenced by this film. It is a classic if there ever was one and deserves to be shown in theaters until, either we nuke ourselves off the planet, we’re wiped out by aliens or Mother Nature kicks our asses for good.
Reservoir Dogs (Feb 23): This film is the feature-directing debut from Quentin Tarantino, a writer-director who could possibly be considered the most influenced by the works of Sergio Leone. Say what you want about Tarantino, but he created his own genre of films. The day your name comes to represent a whole style of filmmaking and storytelling is the day you can try to talk smack about Tarantino (at the risk of me speeding through a puddle and spraying you with dirty water before you can do it, of course). With this film, Tarantino introduced his signature fractured narrative storytelling technique and his ability to create memorable characters and amazing dialogue. This film definitely makes the list of films that should play in theaters for years to come.
Once Upon a Time in the West (Feb. 24): More Leone. You’re probably going to be noticing a pattern here. Once Upon a Time in the West is my second favorite western behind The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and features more incredibly brilliant work from master composer Ennio Morricone, who scored all of Leone’s pictures. Replacing Clint Eastwood as the quiet, brooding, ridiculously baadasss gunslinging protagonist is Charles Bronson, who brings his own brand of cool to the film. Despite being my second favorite, many consider this to be the greatest western of all time. It’s a tough choice, and if I weren’t so partial to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, I’d definitely agree.
Once Upon a Time in America (Feb. 25): Yes, another Sergio Leone film. His last, actually. For someone who is considered one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time, he actually didn’t make that many films. His first film Colossus of Rhodes and this one were the only movies out of his filmography that aren’t westerns. Robert De Niro (you know the guy, right?) stars as a Jewish gangster who rises up the ranks of organized crime in Prohibition-era New York City. The film is so epic and so beautifully made that to reduce it to being a regular movie and trying to critique it like you would, say, I don’t know, any other friggin’ film is a crime on par with treason. Not to mention it’s like four hours long and still keeps you engaged the whole way through. Unless, of course, you’re a short attention span loser who can’t appreciate real films. I’ve never had the opportunity to see this film in a theater before, and I’m very thankful that I’ll finally get that opportunity.
Aero Theatre is located at 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica. For more information, visit americancinematheque.com.