Movie Blog: This Week’s Best Bets

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(credit: Warner Bros.)

(credit: Warner Bros.)

Eric Henderson Eric Henderson
Eric Henderson joined the WCCO.COM web team in June 2006 and currently...
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If you haven’t caught The Dance of Reality, the latest from cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky, our movie blogger Jonathon Sharp has a few dozen reasons why you should add it to your to-see list all mapped out here. And if you are one of the two or three teen girls who did not catch The Fault of Our Stars on opening night, all reports from the box office suggest you probably need to redress that situation as soon as you can. And bring plenty of tissue. (Everyone else can safely ignore the directive.) While the 30th anniversary of Gremlins‘ release had me thinking about the 10 best blockbusters ever, there are plenty of movie options this week for those who like to veer away from the mainstream. Here are this week’s best bets:

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Monday, June 9 & Tuesday, June 10: Burt’s Buzz (Trylon Microcinema)

You’re no doubt familiar with the Burt’s Bees line of products. You live in Minnesota, your lips get chapped, you are sick of the taste of Carmex. It’s the preferred brands for those who like to be somewhat conscious of what they’re consuming. But what you may not know is that the main guy behind the brand is not actually seeing mega-profits from his creation, nor is he interested in living like a celebrity. Instead, he maintains his cultivated outsider lifestyle, equal parts Zen master and crusty hobo crank. And, no, he is most decidedly not interested in becoming the Ronald McDonald of lip balms.

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Wednesday, June 11: Breadcrumb Trail (Trylon Microcinema)

This month’s Sound Unseen screening at the Trylon covers the life and times and works of uber-alt band Slint, whose 1991 album Spiderland should’ve heralded the arrival of the next big thing … if only the band hadn’t broken up between its production and its release. Directed by the venerable Lester Bangs, the documentary Breadcrumb Trail looks at the making and unmaking of Slint.

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Thursday, June 5: Destry Rides Again (Heights Theater)

When you think 1939, you probably think Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Wuthering Heights, Goodbye Mr. Chips, and maybe perhaps Jesse James, The Women and Ninotchka. Less widely recognized as one of that year’s great films, Destry Rides Again was Universal’s biggest hit that year. Starring Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart (in his first gunslinger epic), the movie boasts a winning comedic touch and some fire and brimstone from Dietrich’s corner. Not only does she tear the house down in a catfight with Una Merkel, but she also gets to sing a few saloon ditties that ought to have fans of Blazing Saddles enthralled.

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Friday, June 13 & Saturday, June 14: Mystery Science Theatre 3000: The Movie (Uptown Theater)

In a not too distant future, next Friday and Saturday A.D., MSTies everywhere (well, by “everywhere,” I mean in the Twin Cities area generally) will get to argue over whether they’re bigger fans of “a guy named Joel” or “a temp by the name of Mike.” That’s because Uptown Theatre’s midnight screening this weekend will be none other than the infamous Mystery Science Theatre 3000: The Movie, which some have argued cut the show’s momentum dead, while others regard it as one of the biggest, splashiest episodes the show ever produced. I’m not exactly in either camp — I think it’s a solid episode that, unfortunately, centers around a movie that’s nowhere near as bad as the ones that inspired the series’ best episodes, and the format doesn’t exactly seem to work as well when you’re actually in a movie theater — but criticizing MST3K feels, to me, tantamount to Nietzsche criticizing Wagner. The weak passages do not matter, and compared to Best Brains’ output, nothing else counts.

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Sunday, June 15: The Shining (Theatres at Mall of America)

The second theatrical adaptation of a Stephen King novel is also arguably one of the only ones that has totally and completely eclipsed the stature of its source novel (excepting only Carrie and maybe The Shawshank Redemption). Certainly no scene in the book — an effective if sometimes unfocused tome about a haunted hotel and its effects on the family of the winter caretaker who gets a mean case of cabin fever — is as memorable and instantly iconic as Jack Nicholson’s growl, “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” King himself was no great fan of Stanley Kubrick’s take, but that’s probably because he made it completely his own. The book is about things that go bump in the night. Look beyond the blood pouring from out of those elevator doors, and you’ll see that the movie is about the wrath of a man coming to terms with his own miserable failures as a husband, father and self-made man. Kudos to the Mall of America’s people for counterprogramming this entry on Father’s Day, especially given how many people ruin Mother’s Day with screenings of Mommie Dearest.

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