Summertime movie blues

<i>Man Bites Dog</i>: “What’s wrong? Can’t watch French films with a gun in your mouth?”

Man Bites Dog: “What’s wrong? Can’t watch French films with a gun in your mouth?”

The temperature is finally reaching summer-swelter levels. Dennis Hopper, the last frayed link to James Dean (and the man who once told George Cukor, “We are going to bury you!”; take that, The Philadelphia Story!) is dead. Most movies this summer are rehashes of mid-1980s crap that I didn’t even care about in the mid-1980s.

Worst of all, focus groups have shown that nearly four out of five SN&R readers commonly mistake this column for a LASIK surgery advertisement. Needless to say, the summertime blues have hit a certain local film snob.

But in an attempt to prove the power of positive thinking (or disprove—save me a cover story, The New England Journal of Medicine), I’ve compiled a two-part list of reasons to feel good about movies:

Popcorn. This salty snack cemented its status as the de rigueur movie treat in the 1910s, but you know what shit was like at the turn of the century. They elected a 300-pound man with a walrus mustache to the presidency; the iconic film snack could have become candy apples, for all we know. I once saw a fat, bald man in a dirty T-shirt slurp pistachio nuts throughout a showing of Big Business at the pre-renovated Century Stadium. Haunting.

There Was a Father/The Only Son. Many of the sedately powerful, post-Tokyo Story films of Yasujiro Ozu have become available, but his prewar stuff is not as widely disseminated. That’s what makes the July 13 release of these 1936 dramas so special.

The Sacramento French Film Festival, starting Friday. I don’t see another The Beaches of Agnes in this year’s new-release lineup, but the excellent roster of Gallic classics includes Diva, Man Bites Dog, Roman Polanski’s The Tenant and a tribute to Jean Gabin.

Next week: Snow Buddies!

In two weeks: More positive thinking!