A bit of this, and a bit of that … with older movies gaining steam this week.
Local cinemas continue to use specialty attractions to punctuate the year’s up-and-down collection of summer releases from Hollywood.
A number of memorable pictures arrived 25 years ago. The Alamo Drafthouse, 120 W. Loop 289, will showcase one at 3 p.m. Sunday, that being “The Piano,” for which writer-director Jane Campion was honored for her script.
Set in the mid-19th Century on a rain-soaked New Zealand frontier, the film would see Holly Hunter win her only Oscar, to date, as a mute musician sold into marriage and desperate to regain her beloved piano. Anna Paquin, 11, made her screen debut as Hunter’s character’s daughter, and became the second youngest actor to win an Academy Award in a competitive category.
Tatum O’Neal remains history’s youngest Oscar winner, also as best supporting actress. O’Neal was 10 when confidently stealing scenes in the hilarious “Paper Moon” 20 years earlier.
So many 1993 releases remain memorable; yet it was a given that awards for best director and best film would be claimed by Steven Spielberg and “Schindler’s List.” Tom Hanks won over a quartet of formidable actors for “Philadelphia.” And in addition to Oscars won by Campion, Hunter and Paquin, “The Piano” was nominated for Best Film and for its cinematography, costumes, direction and editing. Eight nominations, three wins in all.
To her credit, Hunter performed her piano pieces in the film, and she taught Paquin sign language between scenes. Not bad, considering Hunter was not the filmmaker’s first choice and had to fight for the role. Surprisingly, Hunter was among those Paquin defeated; Hunter was Oscar-nominated for supporting work in “The Firm” that same year.
Seats are available for today’s 3 p.m. screening, which the Alamo transformed into an “afternoon tea.” The $18 tickets include three teas, described as: Berry Hibiscus, “a refreshing and rich mouthful of hibiscus, elderberry, red currant and cranberry;” Ginger Peach Oolong, “soft and sweet peach and spicy ginger with deeply rich Oolong tea;” and Saigon Rose, “calming and warming lemongrass with elegant rose buds to soften edges.”
A trio of treats served at this afternoon’s tea are smoked salmon toast with prosciutto (although a vegetarian replacement is available); pimento cheese on English cucumber; and key lime pie with cornflake crust.
Another example of Lubbock’s Alamo, and those in its kitchen, breathing new life into classics with an original approach.
Nevertheless, many will opt to laugh out loud at the same time across town at Cinemark’s Movies 16, 5721 58th St.
Directed by Penny Marshall, 1988 comedy classic “Big” has 30th anniversary screenings planned at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday and Wednesday.
Hanks did not immediately develop a trusted style. While he was funny in 1984’s “Splash,” Hanks was perfectly suited to the role of lonely, overgrown child Josh Baskin in “Big,” and he earned his very first Academy Award nomination.
Five years later, his incredible performance in “Philadelphia” made him an Oscar winner; he won again the next year for “Forrest Gump.”
An undeniable aura of innocence was present in Marshall’s “Big,” in which 12-year-old Josh (played by David Moscow) at times raps “shimmy shimmy cocoa pop” with best friend Billy. The pre-teen’s wish to become “big” is magically granted, and a frightened Josh awakens one morning in the body of 30-year-old Hanks. Luckily, older Josh encounters toy company czar Robert Loggia, who is moved by his innocence and honesty and gives him a dream job, testing toys. Elizabeth Perkins is underrated as a hopeful, yet very confused, romantic interest. Also solid: Loggia, John Heard, and Jared Rushton as Billy.
The ticket price at 2 p.m. is $6.77 for the general public age 12 and older, and $6.22 for children age 11 and younger and seniors age 62 and older. The 7 p.m. ticket price is $8.93 for the general public age 12 and older, and $6.22 for children age 11 and younger and seniors age 62 and older. Prices include tax.
Call 796-2804 for more information.
Fathom presently brings film classics once a month in Lubbock, although a national Fathom rep informed me to expect even more films added this year. Already, we know “Big” will be followed by cult classic “The Big Lebowski” on Aug. 5 and 8, and then musical “South Pacific” on Aug. 26 and 29, “Rebel Without a Cause” on Sept. 23 and 26, and Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” on Oct. 14 and 17.
At present, Fathom’s year winds down with the original “Die Hard” on Nov. 11 and 14; and holiday favorite “White Christmas” on Dec. 9 and 12, with all digital screenings at Movies 16.
Debate me if you wish. Movies, especially great ones, are better on a big screen.