Tired of fireworks and the ever-looming promise of spending a lifetime using three fingers to order five beers they bring? Do you moan at the thought of having your Doodle yanked by another look at that musical paean to proto-fascist tunesmith, George M. Cohan? Then here are a couple of movie-related events to help fill your holiday weekend and even contribute to a worthy cause.
5500 Grossmont Center Drive, La Mesa
The wizards at Reading Cinemas have listened. All Yellow Brick Roads lead to Grossmont Cinema’s “Reel Kids Summer Movie Series.” Let the joyous news be spread: the 10 a.m. screenings of The Wizard of Oz on July 2 and 3 will both be held in the big house. For that matter, every film in the series will get the 60-foot screen treatment! (Less for Oz since it was originally shot in “Academy ratio” of 1.33:1, but darn big nonetheless!)
As indicated in my original announcement piece, there’s a good chance your children have never left the house to visit the Emerald City. (I’m betting the majority of adults have only seen the film on TV.) Load up the family van. Admission is only a buck-a-head.
We all own the video — hopefully the sparkling Blu-ray — but nothing compares to seeing it on a big screen and with an audience. The remastered print is nothing short of spectacular, so sharp that even the most jaded viewer will be able to spot the hanging victim as clear as they can the hair standing on Toto’s tail when Miss Gulch comes to claim him.
Admittedly, I need another screening of The Wizard of Oz like I need a head in my hole. But the Lickona kids have never seen it writ large, and since the folks at Reading were nice enough to answer my plea, I will be there to act as host for the Thursday morning screening. There might even be a few prizes to hand out, kids, so be sure and brush up on your Meinhardt Raabe trivia.
4665 Clairemont Drive, Clairemont
For those living near Clairemont, “Reel Kids” is also being held at the Reading Town Square. For titles and more information visit Reading Cinemas.
Moving to another part of the forest, one never thought the day would dawn that held a greater promise of finally experiencing Jerry Lewis’s famously unseen Holocaust romp, The Day the Clown Cried, than another MDA Telethon hosted by the Master. Not only did the organization call “cut” on Monsieur Jerry’s set by relieving the host of his command, the MDA recently put an end to its annual Labor Day fundraiser. That’s what they get for dumping on an internationally famous writer, director, producer, star, singer, pantomime artist, stand-up comic, and all-around genius pussycat mush.
Instead of a holiday Telethon, allow me to direct your attention to an extra-special-special marathon that will take place this July 4 weekend. In hopes of raising funds for an outdoor marquee, the Media Arts Center’s Digital Gym has partnered with Turner Classic Movies and the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival to hold a Noir-A-Thon fundraiser.
2921 El Cajon Boulevard, North Park
Beginning at 3:30 a.m. on Friday, July 3, and lasting for 24 hours, the Digital Gym will simulcast TCM’s Summer of Darkness. Wait! 3:30 a.m.?! Even Charles McGraw was in bed at that hour, and preferably with Marie Windsor! Check your local cable listings for the exact lineup. Supporters are asked to make their pledges via the crowdfunding website IndieGoGo. TCM will match any funds raised up to $5000. OH, YEAH! TIMPANI!
Always one to state the obvious, it’s my fervent wish that the Digital Gym would hold a fundraiser to purchase a digital projector. Their stellar programming of late cries out for state-of-the-art exhibition. While a marquee facing El Cajon Boulevard would do wonders to raise awareness, they need to concentrate more on what’s on the screen. I’ve mentioned this to head honcho Ethan van Thillo so many times he has the words tattooed on his eardrum. I sense things are about to change. When last we spoke, the ever-cryptic Ethan answered my standard projection question with a, “Check back in August.” Keep everything crossed!
For more information and to pledge your support, visit Digital Gym.