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Edgar Wright Programs the New Beverly Cinema (Again); Or Why Ignorance is Hip

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Edgar Wright, New Beverly Cinema film programmer

Edgar Wright has announced the films that will be shown as part of  The Wright Stuff III: Movies Edgar has Never Seen, at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles.

Here is the schedule:

Friday, Dec. 9: Rock & Roll All Nite
7:30 PM – The Girl Can’t Help It (suggested by Joe Dante and John Landis)
9:40 PM – Get Crazy (suggested by Quentin Tarantino)

Saturday, Dec. 10: Stone Face vs. Little Tramp vs. Uncle Claude
7:00 PM – Steamboat Bill, Jr. (suggested by Judd Apatow)
8:40 PM – Modern Times (suggested by Bill Hader)
10:40 PM – The Bank Dick (suggested by Judd Apatow)

Sunday, Dec. 11: Far Out & Far East
7:00 PM – The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (suggested by Harry Knowles)
9:00 PM – Kwaidan (suggested by Guillermo Del Toro and John Landis)

Monday, Dec. 12: The New Romantics
7:30 PM – The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (suggested by Edgar Wright)
9:30 PM – Chungking Express (suggested by Quentin Tarantino, Bill Hader, Greg Mottola, and Daniel Waters)

Tuesday, Dec. 13: Rise and Fall and Rise and…
7:30 PM – White Heat (suggested by Edgar Wright)
9:55 PM – Throne of Blood (suggested by John Landis)

Wednesday, Dec. 14: Farewell John, Hello Sam
7:30 PM – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (suggested by John Landis)
10:00 PM – Ride the High Country (suggested by Joe Dante)

Thursday, Dec. 15: Hangdog & Underdog
7:30 PM – To Be or Not to Be (suggested by John Landis and Joe Dante)
9:40 PM – The Bad News Bears (suggested by Bill Hader and Doug Benson)

Friday, Dec. 16: Noir is the New Black
7:30 PM – Hickey & Boggs (suggested by Quentin Tarantino and Daniel Waters)
9:50 PM – Cutter’s Way (suggested by Daniel Waters)

For what it’s worth, here are my comments.

1. If the fates were kinder, I’d be in the front row for every program, despite having seen most of the films. It’s a nice list.

2. On his blog, Wright said:

I hope in my time I have never chastised anyone for not seeing a movie. Neither am I a big fan of the phrase “I can’t believe you haven’t seen…” accompanied by an exaggerated expression of surprise… I basically believe that you can’t be late to a party if the party never stops.

I’m sure I’m not the only one whose first thoughts upon seeing the above program is exactly what Wright says he doesn’t take kindly to, that is, I thought, “I can’t believe Wright hasn’t seen…” Wright’s attitude  is not unique. In fact, nowadays it seems that most people, instead of being slightly embarrassed, consider it  to be more of a badge of honor to be able to say something like,  “I’ve never seen Citizen Kane or 2001,” but is it really what we want to hear coming out of the mouth of a film director who is now into his third round of programming for a major film revival theater? Personally, I’d rather see a program of films not seen by someone who has more film buff cred that Wright, for example, someone such as Martin Scorsese or even Tarantino himself, whose name is attached to the only two films on the list I have not seen, Get Crazy and Hickey & Boggs.

3. Does anyone else think that the way this program was put together was a bit unusual? First, Wright announced his intention of putting together a program of films he had not seen, then asked fans to suggest films without knowing what films he had not seen. In any case, the majority of films were suggested by fans. Yet, somewhat mysteriously, or perhaps not so mysteriously, the final program is made up exclusively of films suggested by Mr. insert-famous-person-here. Every film. No exceptions. Perhaps it’s simply that “suggested by fan x” will not sell as many tickets as “suggested by Mr. Famous Person?” (It should be pointed out that the “suggested by” tag does not appear on the New Beverly site’s official calendar.) But then why involve fans in the process at all?

UPDATE 1/16/12

With regard to my second point above, here’s another example of what I mean by ignorance being a kind of badge of honor nowadays:

The above excerpt is from the website Comics and…Other Imaginary Tales, part of its monthly review of comics featured in the Diamond Previews catalog of upcoming comics and related merchandise.

Note what Jim says: “I have no clue about who Chip Kidd is…”

Note what Gwen says: “I’ve never heard of him either *shrug*.”

Chip Kidd may not be known to these nitwits, but he is nevertheless a well known book designer and writer. His work includes books on Peanuts, Plastic Man, Captain Marvel, and Batman. (All books in my library, as they should be in theirs.) You would think that anyone who poses as a comics expert,  to the extent that they offer monthly opinions on what’s worth buying, would know who Kidd is, or at least google him. Perhaps you will say that I’m making much ado about nothing. Unfortunately, these comments are not only not unique faux pas for this site, they are representative of an attitude that extends far beyond Comics and…. This is an attitude which leads people to think, “If I don’t know who or what someone or something is, it’s not my fault. If I don’t know, it must not be important. If it was important, I would know.”

Nowadays, ignorance is not just bliss. It’s hip!

UPDATE: April 25, 2012

“Gwen” is still out there:

Gwen says, “I’m not even sure who Wally Wood is.”

I say, I’m trying really hard to believe that she’s not representative of  all people out there in internet land.

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Written by David Kilmer

November 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm

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