Sunday, July 8, 2012

Phil attends the MIDNITES FOR MANIACS "BFF's" Triple Feature at the Castro Theatre-July 6, 2012

Greetings and salutations from San Francisco! I'm back up here at the historic Castro Theatre to attend the latest Midnites for Maniacs show! Hosted by Jesse Hawthorne Ficks, tonight's theme was "BFF's" and he screened three of the greatest BFF films ever made, complete with vintage trailers! So let's get reacquainted with some old friends, shall we?

Theatrical Movie Poster (1995)
The first film of the night was the 90's classic CLUELESS. Written and directed by Amy Heckerling (writer/director of FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH), the film stars Alicia Silverstone as Cher, a spoiled, rich 16-year-old Beverly Hills girl who's life revolves around shopping, hanging out with her best friends Dee (Stacey Dash) and Tai (Brittany Murphy), playing matchmaker with her teachers, and looking for the right boyfriend. Also appearing in the film are Paul Rudd as Cher's step brother Josh, Donald Faison (from the TV show Scrubs) as Dee's boyfriend Murrey, Breckin Meyer as skateboard slacker Travis, Elisa Donovan as Cher's classroom and fashion rival Amber, and the great Dan Hedaya as Cher's lawyer father Mel Horowitz.

It's incredible that Heckerling was able to make another film that defined that particular generation growing up in the mid-90's. Just as she did with FAST TIMES, she created a film that captured kids style, lingo, attitude, and popular music of from that time. The film also launched the career of Brittany Murphy, who unfortunately passed away on December 20, 2009 at the young age of 32. The film spawned books as well as a short-lived television series. This 17th anniversary film print came courtesy from Paramount Pictures. The film was originally released on July 19, 1995. Before the feature, Ficks screened some classic 90's trailers: BRING IT ON, CAN'T HARDLY WAIT, and ROMY AND MICHELLE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION.

Click here to watch the film's original trailer.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2004)
The second film shown was the awesome MEAN GIRLS. Written by Tina Fey and based on the non-fiction book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman, the film stars Lindsay Lohan as 16 year old Cady Heron, who's spent most of her life home schooled with her zoologist parents in Africa. When her family moves back to the states, she enters public high school for the first time and encounters The Plastics, the A-list girl clique lead by the evil Regina George (Rachel McAdams), along with her "army of skanks," Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried), and Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert). Also appearing in the film are SNL alumnis Tina Fey, Tim Meadows, Amy Poehler, and Ana Gasteyer, as well as Lizzy Caplan (Julie from TV show New Girl), and Neil Flynn (Janitor from TV show Scrubs).

Hard to believe that almost a decade after CLUELESS, the next generation had a film to call their own. And just like the previous film, it contained the new fashion styles, hip new language, the new high school hierarchy and social structure, and a cool soundtrack! Both McAdams and Seyfried blew up from this film, and now have very successful acting careers. However for Lohan, this was the Alpha and Omega of her career. After the film's success, her problems began: drinking, reported drug abuse, DUI arrests, and gaining the reputation of being one of the most unreliable actresses in Hollywood. But I still hope she makes a comeback soon! She's really a talented actress and deserves a second chance! The 35mm print courtesy of Paramount as well as. It was originally released on April 30, 2004. Before the feature, Ficks showed some trailers from upcoming M4M events: ROLLER BOOGIE, CAR WASH, LABYRINTH and CAR WASH.

Click here to watch the film's original trailer.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1994)
The third and final film of the night was one of my favorite films when it first came out back in 1994. HEAVENLY CREATURES was directed by Peter Jackson and starred then newcomers Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey. Based on the real life and notorious Parker-Hulme murder, the film takes place in the 1950's and is about two girls, Juliet (Winslet) and Pauline (Lynskey) who become the best of friends as well as lovers. This causes their parents to have great concern, especially Pauline's mom. In order to stay together, the girls come up with a plan that will remove her mom from the equation once and for all.

This was Jackson's masterpiece and was instantly hailed with critical acclaim from critics and movie goers. The film's script was written by Jackson's wife Fran Walsh, who originally pitched the idea of making the film to him. The film would win an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Now two things pop inside my head while I am writing this review. One: Jackson made this film right after he made DEAD ALIVE, and it was his first "serious" film. His directing style from that film carried over to HEAVENLY CREATURES, with zoom ins and outs, quick cuts, off centered camera angles and interesting creatures inhabiting the girls' make believe world. Second: the film came out the same year as CLUELESS. It is very interesting to compare the two because one was a typical big budgeted Hollywood movie and the other was a small independent film made in New Zealand. Also at the time of it's release, it was the best avant garde queer film ever made since Todd Haynes' 1991 award winning film POISON. Very experimental, very imaginative, and just an amazing film. The 35mm Widescreen print courtesy of Swank. The film was originally released in New Zealand on November 16, 1994. It was picked up by Mirmax Films and released here in the states on January 8, 1995. The trailers screened before the film are overlooked classics: BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS and MULHOLLAND DR

Click here to watch the film's original trailer.

And that is it for this edition of Midnites for Maniacs! The next M4M show will actually be a video double-bill of RAD (1986) and YOUNG WARRIORS (1983) at the Cinecave, the new underground micro-cinema in Lost Weekend Video on July 20th at 7:30pm. Then on August 3rd, the show returns to the Castro Theatre in time to celebrate its 90th anniversary with "DISCO 4-EVA" triple feature: ROLLER BOOGIE (1979), XANADU (1980), and the blaxploitation classic CAR WASH (1976)! So make sure you mark these on your calender and come out here to the city for some movie magic and fun! To learn more about Midnites for Maniacs, visit their website at To view upcoming shows at the Castro Theatre, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

1 comment:

  1. I love Clueless and Heavenly Creatures. Not too fond of Mean Girls, but it sounded like so much fun.