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June 7-13, 2006

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Cinema San Pedro

The Great Outdoors: Cinema San Pedro fans get comfortable before another Wednesday night screening.

Vote for Pedro

Cinema San Pedro film series opens for summer-long run in the twilight hours

By Richard von Busack


CAN'T GET behind a Superman who doesn't look old enough to shave or a Poseidon nonadventure that ends before the fat lady swims? Appalled at theaters full of multitasking nimrods murmuring into cell phones through mouths stuffed with $5 hot dogs? Have a new child and can't afford a movie tickets, and if you have to sit through Dougal again, you'll scream like a steam whistle? This year's Cinema San Pedro series, sponsored by Cinequest, provides a regularly scheduled summer-long series of free movies. Special events are coordinated with the screenings; the ultimate car-crasher The Blues Brothers (July 26) is tied in with live visits by some of the drivers in the San Jose Grand Prix. On any night, crowds can mingle in San Pedro Square, hit the restaurants (no outside food is allowed), beer it a little and enjoy those long, hydrocarbon-tinted summer sunsets that look so much better from the South Bay. While the hoity-toity in San Francisco are shivering in the 8pm summer fog, you'll be feasting your retinas for free.

The shows take place Wednesdays at dusk. The fun starts June 7 with Pee-wee's Big Adventure. Next up is Harold and Maude (June 14). Saturday Night Fever struts down the street on June 21. Best in Show (July 5) stars Fred Willard as a TV announcer too dim to host a dog show: commenting on a contestant yanked for viciousness, "He's being led away in disgrace, but he's still a champion." A Hard Day's Night (July 12) features the Beatles at their most appealing—and John Lennon coining the useful word "grotty." On Aug 2, The Poseidon Adventure (1972): Accept no substitutes! It's the long version, with the important plot points about Gene Hackman retrieving his faith in God and Stella Stevens winning the wet evening-gown competition. Don't forget the line of dialogue that won Leslie Nielsen financial security in his old age, even if it meant doing the naked butt-dance in the immortal Scary Movie 4. The ever-stalwart Nielsen on the bridge of the ship just as the Poseidon gets what's coming to it: "I don't believe it! An enormous wall of water, heading directly for the ship!" Best of all, no whey-colored CG. Stuntmen really knew how to break through the glass ceiling in those days.

The series mixes in turning-point films such as Double Indemnity (July 19) and North by Northwest (Aug. 23) with movies that got a second life on DVD, such as Office Space (Aug. 30), considered the definitive film about high-tech torture and thus our valley. Galaxy Quest (Aug. 9), recently plagiarized for some Got Milk? ads, is an engaging fantasy. Friendly but naive aliens believe that what they watched on TV was real and that the cast of a Star Trek-type show are actually interspace heroes. Unfortunately, these heroes are washed up and on the convention circuit: Alan Rickman, the team's Spock, is sick of putting on the rubber headpiece that makes his skull look like a Technicolor nautilus shell, the captain (Tim Allen) is useless and Sigourney Weaver as "communications officer" Tawny Madison has the genuine thousand-yard stare of the aging starlet. Tony Shalhoub, channeling George "Mr. Relaxation" Takei, steals the film. Galaxy Quest sums up the whole San Pedro Square movie experience because it makes you feel good about being a movie fan.


Movie TimesCinema San Pedro takes place Wednesdays, June 7-Sept. 6, at dusk in downtown San Jose. See www.cinequest.org for details. Screenings are free.


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