The Case for Cinematic Civil Disobedience


… And Film Night In Dolores Park, Oh My!

Greetings and salutations* from the private screening room of the Subterranean Beatnik Library auteur scoundrel Vincent Gallo once desecrated after focus-testing a four-hour director’s cut of his biker-gets-a-blowjob epic Brown Bunny (2003) on an unwilling gang of bipolar Hell’s
Angels …

Legend has it, Gallo didn’t leave the theater smiling that day and odds are neither will Captain Hook as, in an attempt to emulate one of my more psychotic cinematic heroes, Howard Hughes, I capriciously barricaded myself last Tuesday into the soothing, celluloid-steeped confines with a stack of original prints of my eleven favorite films.

Why? In light of this summer’s Sequel-O-Rama, I call it making a case for Cinematic Civil Disobedience. Library security, they call it breaking and entering so let’s keep it short, shall we? After 24 hours of negotiations with Wavy Gravy through a set of Twizzler-chained theater doors, I get the feeling the library’s beatnik purveyors are starting to lose more than a few degrees of their legendary cool …

Mea Culpa One-Eyed Willie
And let’s face it Bay Area film geeks, I’m putting the system on trial* with my one-man Civil Disobedience act this week largely because I whiffed mightily on my “One Hook UpPirates of the Caribbean Part III review. For those of you who took my advice and voluntarily exposed your souls to the scourge of the Summer Sequels, my condolences … is it just me or have you too been visited by Three Ghosts of Pirates Past?

Perhaps it was the laced Milk Duds I bought in the Haight, but a fortnight ago, three spirits from cinema’s swashbuckling past, Errol Flynn, Douglas Fairbanks and Sloth from The Goonies visited my sleeping quarters and ordered me to stay away from the Mega-MoviePlex the rest of the summer lest my first-born be damned with the potent, oft-times deadly strain of Child Actor Disease.

As I woke from my vision in a cold sweat my mind raced, good lord if the rest of Focus Group America had reacted as violently to the notion of Pirates III as Gallo’s bipolar Hell’s Angels and my Three Swashbuckling Ghosts, we wouldn’t have had to endure this Hollywood conveyor belt of Summer Sequel Steamers that’s currently shoveling endless shite into the stalls of our local MoviePlex. But they didn’t … Why not?

Pearls of Wisdom From the William Morris Agency
As a William Morris agent told me during a pitch meeting gone south:

MRF… we don’t want original, original scares us; it scares America. What we want, what America wants are proven commodities so they don’t have to think, like ... Dancing with the Stars, Skating with the Stars, Singing with the Stars …  or Acting/Directing/Designing/Cooking for the Stars ... Think: train-wreck reality television, and movies that follow the trends …  Now get the hell out of my office, start flipping channels and come back with some fresh ideas!” 

The Hollywood moral to this story is expect more sequels cinephiles, expect more remakes and prepare for even more movies about penguins to waddle from our filmic rear until the asses stop running the show, which may be never …

courtesy of Warner Brothers

Film Night In Dolores Park
I know what you’re saying “would you please for the love of god, stop the god damn hammering* and cut the shit Phil?* What’s good at the theater this week?”

If you’re thinking about slapping down hard-earned cash for a ticket to Oceans 13, Hostel 2 or Fantastic 4: Part 2, you’re asking for trouble so … how’s about you join me under the star-encrusted/fog-infested skies of Dolores Park this Thursday night? I promise it won’t be creepy but … we will be sharing a blanket with Alfred Hitchcock or Vincent Price, is that cool?

Every self-appointed S.F. film snot should know about this groovy outdoor series going on in San Francisco’s Dolores Park every second Thursday of the month. As far as I know it’s the only public screening where the audience decides which movie is shown. And this Thursday it’s a cage-match face-off between Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder and Vincent Price’s House of Wax.  Who is going to win? How the hell should I know … show up and rock the vote.

courtesy of Warner Brothers

And so it is, and so it was on this fair Tuesday in June 2007. This is Captain Hook signing off. Until we meet again, be bad and get into trouble baby*.

Happenings Round Town:
•    Friday (6/15) to (6/18) – Grindhouse (2007) Dir: Tarantino, Rodriguez - Red Vic
•    Saturday (6/16) – Bloomsday Celebration (1904) Author: Joyce – Celebrate Ulysses, James Joyce’s Modernist Masterpiece as it turns 103 at the Mechanic’s Institute.

Dolores Park Film Series, Thursday (6/17) 9 pm
Hitchcock vs. Vincent Price In a Death Match Face Off. Who will win? You be the judge!
•    Dial M For Murder (1954) Dir. Hitchcock
•    House of Wax (1953) Dir. De Toth

Volume 17 Footnotes*
•    “Greetings and salutations.” – Heathers (1991): Christian Slater to Winona Ryder.
•       “We’re putting the system on trial!” - And Justice for All (1979): Al Pacino shines in a tour de force performance as a lawyer with a hot streak.
•       “Would you please for the love of god, stop the god damn hammering?” – Scrooged (1988): Bill Murray goes off on a Teamster in the remake of the Dicken’s classic.
•       “Cut the shit Phil….” – The Player (1992): Producer Tim Robbins’ secret stalker eulogizes the martyred screenwriter David Kahane in the Altman classic.
•    “Let’s get into trouble baby.” – Tapeheads (1988): Soul Train host Don Cornelius (as Hollywood Producer Mo Fuzz) to upstart filmmakers Tim Robbins and John Cusack.

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